Overview

Brand identity is no longer just conveyed through a company’s output. Experiential workspaces that project a company lifestyle are now in vogue, and just as likely to draw press coverage as a hot new product. The burgeoning tech scene in Downtown L.A. is just one of the area locales buying into the trend. From Culver City to Venice, young corporations and established firms are putting down colorful roots. These are the top 10 architects translating workplace ethos into progressive designs.
Architects
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Top Architects

10
Wolcott Architecture Interiors (WAI)

Architects:
A.J. Wilder, AIA, LEED AP

Awards:
Los Angeles Business Journal Silver Award

Address:
3859 Cardiff Ave Culver City CA

Contact:
(310) 204-2290 |
info@wolcottai.com

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About Wolcott Architecture Interiors (WAI)

Boutique firm Wolcott Architecture Interiors (WAI) has over 40 years of experience in commercial, entertainment, and retail design. The team of architects and project managers take a focused approach to designing experiential spaces that make an impact. WAI often collaborates with their own lighting and branding design studios to create cohesive, expressive environments. Los Angeles Business Journal gave WAI a Silver Award for Demand Media’s Santa Monica headquarters.

John Wolcott established his private firm in California in 1975. More than 40 years since its inception, WAI is now led by President A.J. Wilder, AIA, LEED AP. Throughout the two decades Wilder has spent with WAI, the company has brought on major corporate clients Hasbro, Red Bull, True Religion, and more.

Featured Projects

Skilled in restoration and redevelopment, WAI is leading the redesign of the historic Pettebone building in downtown L.A. that will become 45,000 square feet of creative office space. The building officially became an Historic Cultural Monument in 2016 and has a unique set of constraints for its modernization. Beverly Hills-based investment firm Kennedy Wilson wanted a workspace that honored traditional settings, while serving as a contemporary and inspiring space for employees working out of their global headquarters. WAI changed the black glass exterior to transparent floor-to-ceiling glass walls, and added backlit displays to the lobby to give passersby the impression of a retail storefront. On the first floor, the firm also relocated the front entryway to create a sight line to the interior courtyard, drawing visitors into the fold. A coffee bar wrapped in windows to the street solidifies the connection between employees and their surroundings. The firm received two awards for the design, a Los Angeles Business Council Architecture Award, and an IIDA Calibre Award.

9
LPA Inc

Architects:
Robert Kupper, AIA, LEED AP, and Wendy Rogers, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C

Awards:
AIA California Council Award of Honor

Address:
5161 California Ave Suite 100 Irvine CA 92617

Contact:
(949) 261-1001 |
lpa@lpainc.com

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About LPA Inc

One of the top architecture firms in the region, according to ENR California, LPA, Inc. pulled in over $33M of design revenue in 2016. Their team of 350-plus architects, engineers, and interior designers have earned over 100 design awards. Among their notable Southern California projects are Anaheim Plaza, a $50M terminal at John Wayne airport, and the AIA OC Cote Award-winning Los Angeles Valley College Monarch Center. LPA, Inc’s corporate architecture portfolio includes Irvine headquarters for L.A.-born video game giant Blizzard Entertainment, and multi-firm workspaces The Vine OC and The Press.

Leason Pomeroy established LPA, Inc. in Orange County in 1965. The firm took their first AIA design award in 1971 for 44 Plaza Square. The Irvine office opened in 1989, one year before current firm mentor Robert Kupper assumed his post as CEO. Currently, Wendy Rogers leads the firm. Originally focused entirely on architectural design, the firm added engineering in 2007. The firm’s designs for the Michelle Obama Branch Library earned a 2017 AIACC Award of Honor.

Featured Projects

Yard House corporate headquarters is a 25,000 square-foot facility in Irvine that borrows from the hospitality brand’s organic pub aesthetic. Where another firm may have relied on signage to bring in a company brand, LPA’s design infuses the space with the company’s ethos. Exposed, overhead ductwork mimics the keg and draft pipes of their restaurants. LPA also incorporated reclaimed wood finishes and planter boxes, fixtures at Yard House eateries. Volcom Costa Mesa headquarters is organized around an internal street that creates flow between individual workspaces and communal zones. Topsy turvy gallery walls and distorted mirrors bring out the funky side of the skate and surf apparel company. Polished concrete floors and matte black ceilings lend the corporate environment a gritty street vibe.

8
Eric Owen Moss Architects (EOMA)

Architects:
Eric Owen Moss, FAIA

Awards:
American Academy of Arts Award in Architecture, AIA Los Angeles Gold Medal, Los Angeles Architectural Award

Address:
8557 Higuera St Culver City CA 90232

Contact:
(310) 839-1199 |
mail@ericowenmoss.com

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About Eric Owen Moss Architects (EOMA)

Innovative and thought-provoking, Eric Owen Moss Architects has won over 100 design awards. The firm has designed over 50 unconventional buildings in the Los Angeles area, many of which have turned Culver City’s Hayden Tract into a focal point for experimental commercial architecture. Beginning work there in the 1980s, they continue to bring avant-garde concepts to life for companies such as Nike, Beats by Dr. Dre, and AOL. With work featured in GQ, The Economist, and LA Times, and a style evocative of science fiction, EOMA has made a name for itself beyond the world of architecture.

Los Angeles native Eric Owen Moss established his eponymous architecture firm in 1973. The American Academy of Arts and Letters awarded Moss the Academy Award in Architecture, and the AIA LA awarded him a Gold Medal.

Featured Projects

An enormous steel and concrete structure perches in Culver City, cubic wings extended out from its sides. EOMA’s Pterodactyl offices, designed for the marketing agency Omelet, sit atop an 800-car parking structure that serves as a podium for the intersecting rectangular building blocks of the main building. A second-floor bridge connects the nine adjoined boxes slotted at varying angles into the bowed structure. The building won a Next Award and a Merit Award from AIA LA, and an LABC Award of Excellence. Also in Hayden Tract, EOMA designed a similarly daring building, The Beehive, an 11,000 square-foot spiraling structure among contiguous warehouses. Exterior stairs connect interior spaces to a stepped, rooftop deck with space enough for company meetings. At the center, a pyramidal skylight draws the sun into a conference room and reception area. The Beehive design was a 2016 LA Architectural Award Winner, and its groundbreaking construction earned an NCSEA Excellence in Structural Engineering Award.

7
Rapt Studio

Architects:
David Galullo

Address:
8970 Washington Blvd Culver City CA 90232

Contact:
(310) 202-9600 |
info@raptstudio.com

Contact

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About Rapt Studio

With a client list that includes Apple, GE, The North Face, and Linkedin, global and energetic Rapt Studio is a multidisciplinary firm providing explosive design in architecture, graphics, and UX. Based in San Francisco with offices in L.A. and India, the firm built a portfolio in architectural and interior design before offering a more holistic set of branding services for commercial clients. The IIDA has recognized Rapt Studio-designed offices around the country.

Rapt Studio began as Pollack Architecture when Richard Pollack established his San Francisco firm in 1985. In 2011, when Pollack left the firm to be an independent consultant, the company regrouped and rebranded to become Rapt Studio. The name change is a reflection of the energy and purpose the firm had been building for years. Design Principal and CEO David Galullo leads a team of about 75 people in creating their bold, spirited designs.

Featured Projects

Fender’s new headquarters needed to celebrate the company’s rock n’ roll history, while creating a modern and productive environment for employees. Rapt Studio designed two complementary buildings to reflect Fender’s dual personalities. The design studio, known as “The Bungalow”, has a beta testing area, amplifiers, and myriad guitars for experimental jam sessions. The second and more traditional building houses Fender’s administrative and marketing staff. The palette of its varied floor finishes was inspired by the body of one of their famous electric guitars. Rapt Studio designed a newsroom and offices for the reporters of celebrity news outfit TMZ. Low profile cubicles in a honeycomb pattern create sight lines and conversation paths for when the newsroom doubles as a set for TMZ’s afternoon show and digital live streams. Graffiti pieces, blown-up close ups of Los Angeles maps, and even bomb replicas, all allude to TMZ’s assertive reporting tactics.

6
Shimoda Design Group

Architects:
Joey Shimoda, FAIA, FIIDA

Awards:
Contract Designer of the Year

Address:
837 Traction Ave Suite 101 Los Angeles CA 90013

Contact:
(213) 596-1771 |
info@shimodadesign.com

Contact

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About Shimoda Design Group

About ten designers work out of the downtown L.A. office of Shimoda Design Group to produce some of Los Angeles’ most forward-thinking office designs. Led by Contract’s 2013 Designer of the Year, Joey N. Shimoda, the company emulates an atelier work style under the motto “extra superfino,” to seize every opportunity to innovate. Since 2000, Shimoda Design Group has amassed a workspace portfolio that includes multiple SteelCase locations, and a building for National Monocular Company.

Shimoda interned for prolific Los Angeles architecture firm, Morphosis, before receiving his Architecture degree from California Polytechnic State University in 1988. While working with Thom Mayne’s firm, he collaborated on two Progressive Design Award-winning designs. Shimoda established Shimoda Design Group on Valentine’s Day in 2000, and their client list now includes Rolex, Viacom, Bloomberg, and Tishman Speyer.

Featured Projects

Toms Shoes founder, Blake Mycoskie, worked closely with Shimoda Design Group to create a remarkably expressive space for the social good-oriented fashion company. The Toms Headquarters in Santa Monica is a 70K square-foot warehouse and office space. The employee amenities are consistent with Toms brand statements, including a wellness center for free yoga and pilates classes, and pockets for socializing, like a coffee bar serving up Toms roast. Toms Headquarters definitively shrugs off a stuffy corporate aesthetic with a blue slide that winds down from a loft space to the main floor. Shimoda Design Group also designed headquarters for J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions. For the production house behind Lost, Alias, and Cloverfield, Shimoda reimagined an historic, 18K square-foot building in Santa Monica. Exposed brick, concrete, and steelwork, make the office feel stripped back and open, but the structure conceals the many rooms dedicated to the production process. The building is purposely mislabeled as “The National Typewriter Company” to appease Abrams’ penchant for misdirection and, of course, typewriters.

5
HOK Architects

Architects:
Anton Foss, AIA, and Ernest Cirangle FAIA, LEED AP BD+C

Awards:
AIA Los Angeles Design Awards Citation, Los Angeles Business Council Architectural Awards, IIDA Southern California Calibre Awards

Address:
530 Jefferson Boulevard Culver City CA 90232

Contact:
(310) 838-9555 |
hokcontact@hok.com

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About HOK Architects

Los Angeles Business Journal has consistently ranked HOK Architects among the top design firms in Los Angeles, and in 2016 the firm landed at #12 on the ENR California Top Design Firms 2016. The global company has designed award-winning Los Angeles offices for DirecTV, Pritzker Group, and Beachbody, contributing to annual revenue topping $400M, and the #1 spot on the ENR Top Green Design Firms list in the Commercial Office sector.

In 1955, George Hellmuth, Gyo Obata, and George Kassabaum formed a St. Louis architecture firm with 26 employees. Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum, Inc. or HOK, Inc, has since grown to a global team of 1,700 offering architecture design, engineering, and planning out of offices on three continents. Since 1983, the Los Angeles office has designed LEED Platinum Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC), and renovated the Anaheim Convention Center, two of the most recognizable Southern California projects.

Featured Projects

The HOK Architects-designed Avery Dennison headquarters is a modern upgrade for the 80-year-old labeling company. The 1980s Glendale building had a traditional layout, with offices on the perimeter and walled-off cubicles that stunted collaboration. The contemporary update traded the dated floor plan for an office-free open environment. On both floors of Avery Dennison’s 45,000 square-foot spread, the emphasis is on collective spaces, like an amphitheater and a cafe. Glass-walled conference rooms and informal lounges encourage synergy between team members. The Mindshare Office serves eight creative firms’ distinct needs. The companies share 41,500 square feet over two and a half floors of an office building in Playa Vista, arranged so that each firm has its own “neighborhood.” Staff from each shop come together in communal spaces, like outdoor balconies, production rooms, and meeting areas. The “industrial beach” styling visually binds personalized workspaces.

4
Rios Clementi Hale Studios

Architects:
Mark Rios, FAIA, FASLA, Frank Clementi, AIA, AIGA, and Bob Hale, FAIA

Awards:
AIA Los Angeles Design Merit Awards, AIA Los Angeles Next LA Honor Award, Association of Environmental Professionals Outstanding Award

Address:
3101 W Exposition Pl Los Angeles CA 90018

Contact:
(323) 785-1800 |
info@rchstudios.com

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About Rios Clementi Hale Studios

Rios Clementi Hale Studios synthesizes the energy of Los Angeles with an aptitude for boundary-pushing design to trounce challenges in residential, commercial, and civic architecture. Though the firm operates internationally, many of RCHS’ award-winning works abide in Southern California. AIA LA recognized the firm’s work on offices for Arista Records and Hughes Communications, and RCHS won an Architectural Foundation of Los Angeles Merit Award for the Chinatown headquarters they designed for the California Endowment. The New York Times, Los Angeles Times Magazine, and Architecture have all raved about RCHS’ unique and comprehensive designs.

Rios Clementi Hale Studios began in 1985, when Mark Rios founded Rios Associates in L.A. Julie Smith-Clementi, Frank Clement, and Bob Hale had all joined the firm by 2003, and the partners changed the name to reflect their interdisciplinary and collaborative process. The firm also operates a product design studio, notNeutral, which takes an architectural approach to furniture, objets d’arts, and everyday tools. A true Angeleno firm, they have worked on landmark projects such as Grand Park and the Century Plaza rehabilitation.

Featured Projects

Rios Clementi Hale Studios was the local Executive Architect for Activision Blizzard’s headquarters extension. Activision Blizzard had originally set up in just one side of a 38K square-foot building in Santa Monica, but as the video game company grew around the success of titles like Call of Duty and Destiny, it came time to expand. The designs called for a perimeter housing 73 offices and 151 workstations to surround new gaming zones, a break room, and a variety of meeting spaces, creating a centralizing collaborative core. NBC/Universal studios, the largest working production studio in the world, and popular Los Angeles visitor destination, will change and expand significantly over the next 25 years. The urban infill development plans will maximize available space and seamlessly integrate with existing transit. Among the expanded facilities in RCHS’ plans are new rehearsal halls, soundstages, film vaults, and production bungalows.

3
Studios Architecture

Architects:
Thomas Yee, AIA, LEED AP, and Melissa Duffy, AIA, LEED AP

Awards:
Gold Nugget Merit Award, Los Angeles Business Council Community Impact Award, Los Angeles Business Council Architectural Award

Address:
1100 Glendon Ave Suite 1753 Los Angeles CA 90024

Contact:
(310) 385-1550

Contact

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About Studios Architecture

Studios Architecture worked with big-name Los Angeles clients from the outset, designing for The Walt Disney Company, Dreamworks, Warner Bros., and CNN. More than 30 years later, the firm’s portfolio has expanded to designing workspaces for financial service companies and law firms. With contributions from over 300 staff members, Studios Architecture’s corporate campus designs have earned acclaim from Gold Nugget, multiple AIA regional chapters, the Chicago Athenaeum, and IIDA. Architectural Record, Variety.com, and more have explored the firm’s work in detail.

Chairman of the Board Thomas Yee joined Studios Architecture in 1985, the year the company opened for business. Now an international practice, Studios Architecture’s regional offices are led by 20 principals, though they emphasize lateral collaboration throughout the design process.

Featured Projects

Perennial fashion brand Guess?, Inc. tapped Studios Architecture to design a creative headquarters for three design teams. The 95,000 square-foot office was built out in a Guess?-owned building in L.A’s garment district. Visitors are greeted at a desk formed from a large-scale lacquer “G”. From an elevated conference rooms, executives can peer into the multi-use and office spaces. In addition, Studios made room for a 750-seat space for screenings and runway shows. The expansive design won an Interior Design Award from IIDA National. Studios Architecture worked with DLR Group to design a new five-story building for the Nickelodeon Animation Studios campus in Burbank. At 110,000 square feet, there is ample room to foster conversation and creativity between animators. Each floor has a working gallery wall where artists can hang and discuss works in progress. Free walls are also functional surfaces with floor-to-ceiling chalkboards and magnetic whiteboards for doodles and brainstorming. An 88-seat screening room and three voice-over rooms add production functionality. An arcade and a music room provide downtime distractions that could spark a new idea. The new designs also included an A/V-ready outdoor space for company gatherings and art showings. The project is certified LEED Gold.

2
HLW International

Architects:
Mark Zwagerman, AIA, and Sejal Sonani, AIA, LEED AP

Awards:
Los Angeles Business Council Design Award

Address:
1556 20th St Santa Monica CA 90404

Contact:
(310) 453-2800 |
info@hlw.com

Contact

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About HLW International

One of the ENR Top 500 Design Firms and Top 225 International Firms, HLW International’s client list speaks to the quality of their work. One of five offices worldwide, HLW’s Santa Monica location opened in 1995 and has driven their success in building design for local entertainment clients. ESPN, HBO, IMAX, and NBC are just a few of the creative giants who have retained HLW’s design services.

HLW International has its roots in New York City, when its earliest architecture subsidiary got started in 1885. At this stage, the firm was already working on iconic buildings like The New York Times building, which gave Times Square its moniker. Eighty years later, the firm was renamed Haines Lundberg Waehler (HLW) and expanded its offerings to include landscape architecture and lighting design.

Featured Projects

HLW International redesigned a 1959 brick building for Red Bull’s North American headquarters in Santa Monica. A functional 420-foot skate ramp undulates down the center of the office, paying homage to Red Bull’s extreme sports affiliations, and the surf and skate culture of the neighborhood. The ramp flows out of the building into an open-air courtyard, which is separated from the office by a glass bifold door. For Google’s Venice campus, HLW International designed offices that would fit in with the surrounding beach community. A “boardwalk” joins three buildings, creating a seaside aesthetic, plus areas for work and play gatherings. In addition to amenities like a juice bar and massage rooms, the designs include a panoramic Google maps screen, a rock climbing wall, and a technology-free midcentury modern meeting room. A sand pit along an exterior wall serves as a surfboard station to ensure employees enjoy the prime locale.

1
Gensler

Architects:
M. Arthur Gensler Jr., FAIA, FIIDA, RIBA, and Douglas C. Gensler, AIA, NCARB

Awards:
Center for Active Design Excellence Award, AIA Institute Honor Award for Architecture, AIA Associate Award

Address:
500 S Figueroa St Los Angeles CA 90071

Contact:
(213) 327-3600 |
info@gensler.com

Contact

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About Gensler

Internationally recognized companies Airbnb, Capital One, Hearst, and Goodyear are just a few of their prominent corporate campus clients. Interior Design’s #1 corporate office architect, Gensler’s work is frequently covered in national magazines, such as The Architect’s Newspaper and Fast Company. ENR, Building Design+Construction, and Architectural Record have all named Gensler the #1 architecture firm in annual rankings.

Art and Drue Gensler, with partner James Follett, founded the firm in San Francisco in 1965. In 1976, Gensler put down roots in Los Angeles and relocated to downtown L.A. in 2011. When the firm outgrew its jewel box space, they drew up plans to spread the 600 employees into an adjacent office tower and connect the structures with a pedestrian bridge. It’s the first vertical campus in the area.

Featured Projects

In 2013, video streaming giant, Hulu, moved into Gensler-designed headquarters in Santa Monica. Before designing the space, Gensler and Hulu partnered to implement research studies that would provide valuable data on how 500-plus employees would be utilizing the space. They determined that mental and physical breathing room were key to productivity in a modern workplace. The result is a 95K square-foot two-story campus that gives staff room to move freely, rather than being chained to a desk or cubicle. A large kitchen complete with a bar encourage recreation and socializing. An oversized staircase, nicknamed “The Well,” makes for another hangout, and also serves as stadium seating for company-wide meetings. The headquarters wouldn’t be complete without an arcade, and an alcove for watching big sports events. Celebrity photography shop, Smashbox Studios, worked with Gensler to design a new studio facility that would meet the needs of photographers and satisfy their celebrity subjects’ sensibilities. The expanded lobby is styled like a club, with a mezzanine and VIP section. A full-service coffee bar caters to early arrivals, while a hidden speakeasy is available for late-night shoots. Each studio has its own set of luxury amenities; some even have an outdoor terrace for breathers while the photographer goes through selects.

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