Home Work: Office Studios Designed Like Residences

By Jack Skelley

ske1Earlier this year Ehrlich Architects was awarded firm of the year by the American Institute of Architects. The recognition noted Ehrlich’s approach to “classic California Modernist style.”

Its designs often land on the pages of Architectural Digest and other shelter publications. So it is fitting that the firm’s latest design is not a residence but an office environment that looks and feels like home. Situated within a neighborhood-like setting, the modern, loft-style studios and workspaces—low-rise structures clad in seamed steel, glass and wood—offer an alternative to traditional work communities.

At elevon at Campus El Segundo, there are rooftop conference zones and mezzanines. You can bring your dogs, work in outdoor fireplace/TV rooms and brainstorm at the corner restaurant.

ske3 “These are both condominium offices and individual buildings, each with their own private outdoor areas, but also set within an overall neighborhood context,” says Partner Steven Ehrlich. “The comforts of home have come to the office—from private patios and balconies, to ‘garden rooms’ with roll-up garage-doors. This work community is connected by an expansive Common Green, with restaurants, al fresco gardens, fire pits and walking paths.”

For a further twist, the offices are not leased, but sold. The elevon opened in July and already 85 percent of its office space has been sold to a broad mix of firms. Among them are media and software companies migrating from Santa Monica, Venice and Playa Vista where Google, Facebook, YouTube and Yahoo have set-up shop. With Silicon Beach quickly filling up, and rents rising, companies are moving south, prompting the restoration of underused buildings or the new-construction of creative space such as elevon.

ske2One such company, Big Block Media Investments, LLC, the digital production studio, is leaving its approximately 8,200 square-foot Santa Monica space for an 11,400-square-foot studio at elevon.

“As Silicon Beach has moved south, we were looking at leasing in Playa Vista. But that area has attracted so much interest we could not find space to meet our needs,” says Big Block CEO and Founder Scott Benson. “We then considered the tax incentives of purchasing our own space—especially in El Segundo which has many advantages for businesses—and because we could capitalize on purchasing at current price points.”

ske4The new, larger studio—which Big Block will customize—offers more room for content production. Being close to LAX is also an advantage, allowing better coordination with celebrity talent flying to Los Angeles.

“We expect to produce 12 or more original feature films from the new space next year,” he said. “We will create a real showcase facility for all high-end creative teams.”

Photos by Jeff Granbery

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