cultivate the idea
Great ideas, like beautiful flowers, require the safety of a germination process before sprouting and blooming. The design for the new Southern California office for Saatchi & Saatchi protects and celebrates ideas through their development in a metaphorical garden of diverse spaces connected via a meandering path.
Studio Name : Blitz
Melissa Hanley, AIA: Principal in Charge, Lead Designer Seth Hanley, AIA: LA Managing Partner, Technical Lead Kimberley O’Dowd: Project Manager
Justin Beadle: Project Architect John Hunter, AIA: Specifications Tamara Roth: Interior Designer Kate Chapman: Designer
Clint Coleman: Environmental Graphics Jenny Heers: Designer
: Los Angeles County
Date of Completion : 01-06-2020
Location : Los Angeles, CA
General Contractor: Clune Construction MEP Engineer: ARC Engineering Structural Engineer: Degenkolb Engineers Lighting Designer: HLB
Acoustical: Veneklasen Associates
Photography Credits : Bruce Damonte
Saatchi & Saatchi
SIZE 80,000 SF SCOPE
Architecture Interior Design Furniture Design
Environmental Graphics Lighting Design
Interior Landscape Design
As we dove into Saatchi & Saatchi’s world and learned about how their teams developed projects it became clear that the creatives needed a safe space to build and break and re-build ideas and concepts before formally pitching to their project leads. The “idea” became its own constituent in the project – something to be considered spatially and solved for specifically. Whenever a design decision needed to be made, we returned to the question: “what is in the best service to protect the idea?”.
Our primary Client shared a desire to create a new home for the agency that supported exploration and fostered curiosity. The meandering path provides views across open “fields” (neighborhoods) and links up a series of protective seed pods (project areas / rooms) for safe and hidden idea generation; and garden walls to define the crops and showcase / pin-up the harvest. Apertures and strategic wayfinding allow the project to unfold rather than revealing itself all at once.
The warehouse shell provided its own inspiration. Originally developed in 1966 and designed by LA- based designer Craig Ellwood, the building features steel trusses at an industrial-scale. As a single level, 80,000 SF space with meandering circulation we knew we needed to ground the design with bold architecture that would act as orienting reference points throughout the journey. The creation of curated pods – the buildings within the building – in a range of scales, locations and orientations establishes the path through the space. These spaces provide the settings for this community of creatives to meet, discuss, collaborate and advance the content that drives Saatchi and their clients’ business. The architectural language was divined as a ‘love letter to LA’ by the project architect. With a mix of clean modern boxes and a dose of mid-century modern the architecture is simultaneously current and timeless.
The project team consisted of mostly women (on both the client and architect side) and was particularly keyed into the emotional effect of the spaces we were creating. Ensuring that material, lighting and furnishing selections all reinforced the concept and provided an inherent sense of exhale and comfort was top of mind during design. The team also wanted to ensure that the sense of safety extended beyond idea creation and into the workforce. With a beautifully diverse population it was important that the project reflected Saatchi’s strong culture and values of inclusivity.
Saatchi’s prior office served them for over 30 years and we hope this project will have a similar lifespan. Built to withstand the test of time and promote a healthy work environment, Saatchi’s new LA office is an inspirational space that fosters the creativity and collaboration needed to produce world-class work. While no one really knows what a post-COVID office will entail, what we do know is human connection will still be central to Saatchi’s creative process and company culture. Their space has the flexibility to embrace the future needs of a modern workforce and remain supportive of its individuality, productivity and, most importantly, wellness.
Blitz is a full service architecture and interior design firm, specializing in commercial, retail, and hospitality design. With studios in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, and Saint Louis, their national practice is driven by the passionate pursuit of greater solutions.
Pushing past expectations, past traditions, past the status quo, to elevate people’s experiences, attitudes, and lives.