NeueHouse, a high-end workspace and cultural event center rivaling the likes of Soho House and Second Home, found instant success in 2015 after breathing new life into the former CBS Studios Building, a sleek modernist structure in the center of Hollywood designed by modernist architect William Lescaze. The company became bicoastal with the opening of its second location within a former auction house in Manhattan’s Flatiron District from the 1930s.
For their third location, NeueHouse returned to the West Coast with perhaps their most impressive adaptive reuse yet: the entire second floor of the Bradbury Building, Downtown Los Angeles’s first commercial structure. Designed by Sumner B. Hunt and constructed by George H. Wyman, the building’s unassuming facade belies the five-story atrium that reached global fame from its role in movies from Blade Runner to Double Indemnity.
A seat along NeueHouse Bradbury’s new interior balcony space affords an ideal view of that atrium, accessible from a marble flight of stairs with wooden banisters carved to resemble foliage. From this privileged position, one can also see the valiant efforts made by DesignAgency, the Los Angeles and Toronto-based studio responsible for leading the design of NeueHouse Bradbury, to incorporate the stylish company into the 127-year-old structure. “What [DesignAgency has] designed and realized for us at Bradbury is truly incredible,” said NeueHouse CEO Josh Wyatt, “and a wonderful testament to the art of repurposing a historic, architectural gem for the future needs of the creative class.”
A major challenge for the design team was improving the lighting conditions in the thick-walled building while maintaining several of its original design elements. That meant developing a floor plan that benefited the company—including spaces for work, meetings, events, and private studios—without disrupting the general layout from over a century ago. A cozy wellness room, for instance, is tucked into the corner to make use of an original fireplace at its center while the sprawling cafe and bar off the main set of stairs show off DesignAgency’s success in drawing natural light into the floor’s larger spaces.
“In response to [the building’s] rich visual history and its bold character,” said Anwar Mekhayech, Founding Partner at DesignAgency, “we decided to add a new layer that is modern and fresh, with soft and graceful flourishes. The result is a uniquely modern and elegant workspace with a soft palette and ethereal vibe that is ideally suited to the creative professional.” The firm took advantage of original details, including the 11-foot-high oak framed windows and exposed wood ceiling joists, and complimented them with Versailles parquet floors and pastel-colored furniture custom-fabricated by Irish manufacturer Orior.
When I sat down with Wyatt in that building’s outstanding atrium, he predicted that design-focused companies will be more inclined to rent space in NeueHouse Bradbury, while the Hollywood location will retain an entertainment crowd; global architectural and consulting practice Woods Bagot was among the first to snag a space in the Downtown location. As the company prepares for a new location in Venice—an achingly hip neighborhood on the opposite side of the city—NeueHouse earns its place in the burgeoning phenomenon of the upscale collaborative workspace.
Header image: A visit to NeueHouse Bradbury begins in its wrap-around second-floor balcony. (Nikolas Koenig)