NeueHouse’s New L.A. Outpost Aims to Be a ‘Cultural Speakeasy’
Located in the historic Bradbury Building, the coworking space combines original architectural details and plush furnishings to craft a thoughtful, all-encompassing getaway for the creative-minded. “What Downtown has been missing is a well-designed space to work and think,” CEO Josh Wyatt says.
“What wouldn’t attract me to the Bradbury?” asks Josh Wyatt, the CEO of NeueHouse, who recently inaugurated the coworking space’s latest outpost, its third, inside the famed building in Downtown Los Angeles. A landmarked historic site, the Bradbury was the city’s first commercial building when architect George Wyman finished it in 1893. It quickly gained renown for its striking architectural details (ornate ironwork, bird-cage elevators, and skylit atrium), which director Ridley Scott shrouded in a dark, gloomy haze in his sci-fi classic, Blade Runner (1982).
Nearly 30 years later, the arrival of the Bradbury’s latest tenant exemplifies Downtown L.A.’s swift development from a neglected locale to a hotspot. The powerhouse gallery Hauser & Wirth and the Institute of Contemporary Art have opened in the area in recent years, along with boutique hotels (the Hoxton, Freehand, Hotel Figueroa), drawing a young crowd. “What Downtown has been missing,” Wyatt argues, “is a well-designed space to work and think. There are plenty of spots to socialize and drink, but nothing that is focused on the creative experience.”
NeueHouse “blends the idea of hospitality, social club, and workspace all into one,” says Anwar Mekhayech, founding partner of DesignAgency, which spearheaded the interiors for the Bradbury outpost. The building’s historical provenance, and tricky donut-shaped floor plan, presented a multi-thronged design challenge. “We were tasked with adding a fresh, modern layer that doesn’t feel flashy or self-important,” he says. “We needed to make NeueHouse look like it belonged in the building.”
Around the building’s sun-drenched mezzanine, DesignAgency cleverly configured four multi-purpose lounge areas that segue into private offices sporting more than 20 original fireplaces. There are weathered and glazed brick treatments, copper task lighting, workstations with iPhone-charging surfaces, and abundant potted plants. (“We were playing with different room configurations like jigsaw puzzles,” says Mekhayech.)
Soft and graceful furnishings abound in the 25,000-square-foot venue, lending a comfortable contrast to original architectural millwork and exposed wood ceiling joists. They naturally integrate with Versailles parquet floors, breezy linen drapery, and custom curvilinear furniture fabricated by Irish manufacturer Orior. Original oak-framed windows, which measure 11 feet tall, further drench the interior in cheerful California sunlight, lending luster to earthy limestone and travertine finishes.
To complement the design, there will be art. NeueHouse Bradbury teased its art program during the recent Frieze Los Angeles (it was one of the fair’s sponsors). And its locations in Bradbury and Hollywood (opened in 2015) held exhibitions and events—a Barbara Kruger mural, a plant-based dinner by landscape artist Lily Kwong, and screenings of short films by directors Natalie Shirinian and Céline Sciamma. There was also a showcase of never-before-seen negatives by Stephen Vaughan, the late set photographer for Blade Runner.
Wyatt and Mekhayech are already busy writing NeueHouse’s next chapter, which includes equally ambitious locations in Venice Beach and Miami. In the meantime, the two are letting their accomplishments sink in. “Empowering the people who help make Los Angeles so great is something we want to continue doing,” Wyatt says. “It almost feels like we’re a cultural speakeasy.”