Second Home Teases L.A. With SelgasCano’s Serpentine Pavilion

In the spiritual homeland of Googie architecture, another futurist arrival is set to inspire a different breed of awe. To tease co-working space Second Home’s first Stateside outpost, designed by Madrid duo SelgasCano, the firm’s psychedelic Serpentine Pavilion lands in the La Brea Tar Pits.

SelgasCano's Serpentine Pavilion at the La Brea Tar Pits. Photography by Iwan Baan

“We have a responsibility to do something different,” Second Home co-founder Sam Aldenton says. He’s referring to the co-working venture he launched with his business partner Rohan Silva, which made waves when the first location in Spitalfields, East London, opened its doors in 2014. Mismatched chairs, zigzagging walkways, and sinuous desks haphazardly arranged within pod-like settings that could easily be mistaken for greenhouses—also designed by SelgasCano—are pretty out there even in the age of funky workplaces. Second Home, however, has no intention of blending in. Its founders instead opt for a paradigm-shifting approach that has landed three additional locations in London and Lisbon, with a Los Angeles outpost slated to open in September.

Why Los Angeles? The city has become a hotbed of activity in the creative and tech industries, perhaps the result of reasonable living costs and spacious real estate compared to New York City and San Francisco. Other co-working ventures are listening—Soho House and Spring Place will soon open outposts Downtown, and NeueHouse recently announced a move into the historic Bradbury Building next year. Second Home, on the other hand, is upping the ante with an unlikely site: East Hollywood’s former Anne Banning Community House. 

Second Home Hollywood
Second Home Hollywood

Second Home Hollywood will bring a sprawling 90,000 square feet of office space to the neighborhood. The campus’s design, again masterminded by SelgasCano, exists within the same language as the brand’s previous locations, yet slightly departs from it. “Part of our role is helping people concentrate on their work by creating great environments,” says Aldenton, “and helping them make really deep connections across communities.” That may explain why the campus’s 60 amoeba-like yellow work pods are clad in transparent acrylic—uninhibited views of lush greenery and fellow workers traversing the complex’s winding pathways will abound. “It’s the densest new planting in California,” he adds. “We’re buying 6,500 plants and having 400 full-size trees.” A series of common spaces, including a restaurant, outdoor terraces, and an auditorium, as well as a branch of Libreria, the company’s bookshop, will be publicly accessible, diverging from the members-only ethos of Second Home’s competitors.

SelgasCano's Serpentine Pavilion. Photography by Iwan Baan

Don’t call it Googie, but count on Second Home to become one of Los Angeles’s next great Futurist landmarks. In the meantime, however, the co-working venture is offering a first taste of what to expect when it opens in September. The brand has brought SelgasCano’s shimmering, psychedelic 2015 Serpentine Pavilion to the La Brea Tar Pits—the world’s only active urban Ice Age excavation site. Clad in a translucent fabric membrane, the 886-square-foot structure resembles a bioluminescent chrysalis. Secret corridors, planted throughout, impart one-of-a-kind architectural experiences through memorable shapes, colors, and materials. It’s the result of a partnership with the National History Museum of Los Angeles County, which has been seeking ways to draw attention to the La Brea Tar Pits in anticipation of a sweeping redesign next year. “The Pavilion is an opportunity to see one of the boldest and most innovative designs in contemporary architecture,” says Dr. Lori Bettison-Varga, NHMLAC president and director, who hints at an action-packed roster of cultural programming to be announced. 

“We’ve fallen in love with Los Angeles—the beauty and chaos, light and shadows, contradictions, subcultures, and people,” Aldenton says. “The Second Home Pavilion is a celebration of this: our love letter to LA.”

The Serpentine Pavilion by SelgasCano will be on display at the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles until Nov. 24.

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