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Rottet Studio Makes Design the Star at the Los Angeles Office of Paradigm

PROJECT NAME Paradigm
LOCATION Los Angeles
FIRM Rottet Studio
SQ. FT. 82,000 SQF

“Light and movement.” That’s what Sam Gores said he wanted to see upon entering his office in Los Angeles. And when the chairman and CEO of Paradigm Talent Agencyasks for something, that is precisely what he gets—particularly when the project is designed by Rottet Studio. Interior Design Hall of Fame member Lauren Rottet’s firm is itself a fixture in the entertainment business, with credits including offices for United Talent Agency and Viacom.

A custom reception desk in folded and welded mirror-polished stainless-steel stands on engineered European white-oak floor planks at Rottet Studio’s Los Angeles office for Paradigm Talent Agency. Photography by Eric Laignel.

 

A powerhouse with eight locations across the U.S. as well as in Toronto and London, Paradigm “understood that architecture does matter,” Rottet Studio founding principal Richard Riveire begins. “They really get that an agency can leapfrog over competitors by bringing everyone under one roof, giving them a great place to work, and making sure that conversations and impromptu meetings happen.” So, employees from the music, literary, film, and TV divisions, previously at three separate L.A. sites, are now together in Beverly Hills.

Milo Baughman–inspired chairs face a leather-covered sofa in the green room. Photography by Eric Laignel.

Notable for a landmark fountain, a monumental pyramid, standing in the front courtyard, the 1980s building had a storied past as the former home of the agency ICM Partners but had been vacant for seven years. Though Riveire and principal Harout Dedeyan term their intervention there “tenant improvement,” that’s just Rottet Studio’s typically understated manner. We call the project a complete gut job, with only the limestone and granite wall cladding and the skylight retained. The 82,000-square-foot U-shape interior was entirely rebuilt. Plus, the courtyard, which previously “leaked like a sieve,” Riveire says, was repaved and replanted around the pyramid.

Rising from reception’s sitting area, stairs offer additional seating on vinyl-covered cushions. Photography by Eric Laignel.

 

The greatest challenge was “to figure out new ways of working inside a 30-year-old building,” Riveire continues. “By jamming things together, we could create an exciting design that changes all the time.” The device that “moved the throttle setting toward more common spaces,” he explains, was the insertion of a central stair atrium—obviously the big move. “We had to whack out 1,000 square feet on two of the floors.” 

A Greg Bogin artwork was commissioned for a corridor. Photography by Eric Laignel.

No mere grand staircase, this. It’s not only the people connector between the three levels but also a multitasker. The lower, wider flight can serve as a vertical space for solo work, thanks to the  blocky cushions scattered across the steps, or as a venue for all-hands company meetings, when combined with the reception area and an adjacent conference room.

On three, the reception area features an armless chair by Karim Rashid. Photography by Eric Laignel.

 

Flights aren’t stacked but slightly rotated inside circular openings that differ in size—difficult to engineer, to say the least. “LED halos accentuate the perimeters,” Dedeyan says. The ensemble presents quite a climb, especially for those with vertigo. A mirrored ceiling produces a dizzying kaleidoscope effect, making the height appear as six stories, not three.

The courtyard’s new granite, concrete, and turf surfaces surround an existing Eric Orr pyramid fountain. Photography by Eric Laignel.

 

Sharing dramatic creds is the reception desk. Riveire, who’s highly knowledgeable about hospitality projects, too, compares it to “the front desk of a hotel.” He goes on to liken the long, purposely low form in mirror-polished stainless steel to “a squished pickle.” We see inspirations of sculptures by Anish Kapoor. Regardless, it’s an Instagram moment.

Erik Parker’s acrylic collage on canvas punctuates a corridor. Photography by Eric Laignel.

 

Speaking of art, there’s no shortage of spectacular pieces, some of them commissioned. Initiated by Gores, the program was assembled by a DJ-curator, DB Burkeman, in collaboration with a more conventional art consultant. Standouts include the atrium’s colorful text-based screen prints, kinetic black-and-white photographs of figures in the elevator lobbies, and a corridor’s collage inspired by comic books, hip-hop, and graffiti.

Nylon carpet in a private office. Photography by Eric Laignel.

Surprisingly, knowing Rottet Studio as we do, furnishings are generally not custom. Widely available residential pieces, they could be found in many a stylish living room. Flooring, consistent with that vibe, is white-oak planks in common spaces. “The wood is a contrast to all that stone on the walls,” Riveire explains.

The listening room is acoustically isolated. Photography by Eric Laignel.

Carpeted work spaces follow the customary setup. Glass-fronted private offices for agents face assistants at a benching system. Most offices have sit-stand desks. (Many in the stand position during our visit.) Sprinkled among the offices are casual lounges, up for grabs as needed. What’s unusual is the lack of hierarchy among divisions. No single one ranks above any other.

The stair atrium’s mirror-finished stretched mem­brane ceiling reflects a series of 21 screen prints by Eve Fowler. Photography by Eric Laignel.

 

Conference and meeting rooms and the “signing rooms” encircle the stair atrium. Really, though, everything is an ad hoc meeting space, including  elevator lobbies fitted out with chic and super-comfy seating. There are also pantries and coffee bars aplenty, the best, no doubt, being the ground level’s coffee lounge opening onto the courtyard. Pull up a stool to the marble counter, or plop down on a sofa or armchairs anchored by a houndstooth rug that blends with the same pattern rendered in floor tile.

Reception’s custom wool-silk rug. Photography by Eric Laignel.

The list of amenities goes on: a screening room with adjacent green room, another room filled with candy. According to Paradigm director of special services and guest relations Rozzana Ramos, clients come just to hang out. Linger long enough, and you might spot Antonio Banderas or Henry Golding reading a script or Chris Martin, Ed Sheeren, or Sia headed to the listening room where, Riveire says, they can “crank it up to 11.” 

Keep scrolling to view more images of the project >

LED halos ringing the stair atrium. Photography by Eric Laignel.
A corridor’s con­struction of album covers with wood and resin by David Ellis. Photography by Eric Laignel.
The lounge on two. Photography by Eric Laignel.
Patricia Urquiola chairs appear in a private office. Photography by Eric Laignel.
Damien Hirst’s deck for Supreme is mounted with other skateboards in an office area. Photography by Eric Laignel.
In the coffee lounge, a focal wall includes artwork by Raymond Pettibon and Ed Ruscha. Photography by Eric Laignel.
Laser-printed photographs by Kenton Parker energize an elevator lobby. Photography by Eric Laignel.
The lacquered logo wall on a granite base. Photography by Eric Laignel.

Project Team: Chris Jones; Theresa Lee; Pegah Koulaeian, Laurence Cartledge: Rottet Studio. Esquared Lighting: Lighting Consultant. Newson Brown Acoustics: Acoustical Consultant. Cybola Systems Corporation: Audio-Visual Consultant. Lendrum Fine Art: Art Consultant. Thornton Tomasetti: Structural Engineer. Arc Engineering: MEP. AMA Project Management: Project Manager. Clune Con­struc­tion Company: General Contractor.

Product Sources: From Front: AM Cabinets: Custom Desk (Recep­tion). Palecek: Coffee Table (Green Room). RH: Chairs, Sofa (Green Room), Sofa (Listening Room). CB2: Console (Green Room), Side Tables (Hall), Sofa, Coffee Table (Lounge), Table (Office), Dining Chairs (Coffee Lounge). Tai Ping Carpets: Custom Rug (Sitting Area). Davis Furniture: Sofas. Holly Hunt: Chairs. West Elm: Side Tables (Lounge, Coffee Lounge, Reception Area). Martin Brattrud: Cushions (Stairway). Blu Dot: Benches (Hall), Stools (Atrium), Credenza (Listening Room), Sofa (Reception Area). Summer Classics: Chairs (Court­Yard). Andreu World: Chairs (Office). Alur: Storefront Sys­tem. Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams: Coffee Table (Coffee Lounge). Gus Modern: Sofa. Shaw Hospitality: Rug. Andreu World: Barstools. Thomas O’Brien: Pendant Fixture. Zuo Modern: Chairs (Coffee Lounge), Chairs, Table (Listening Room). Tandus: Rug (Reception Area). Nienkamper: Chair. H.D. Buttercup: Armchairs. West Elm: White Side Table. Bernhardt Design: Bench. Throughout: Monarch Plank: Floor Planks. Bentley: Carpet. Barrisol: Stretched Ceiling Membrane. Benjamin Moore & Co.; Dunn-Edwards Corporation: Paint.

> See more from the May 2019 issue of Interior Design

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These Hotel Frescoes Are Worthy of the Sistine Chapel

If these hotel walls could talk, they’d paint you a picture.

Continue reading These Hotel Frescoes Are Worthy of the Sistine Chapel

Discover Napa’s Most Design-Forward, Cutting-Edge New Winery

As a music exec, Kashy Khaledi made a career out of bringing creative personalities together to bridge culture and corporate strategy for Universal Music Group, Google, and Mazda. In his first foray into the wine business, Khaledi has combined Californian midcentury aesthetics and style of winemaking with a modern, multimedia approach to create a Napa winery very much of the moment.

“Wine is alive and real. I would rather worry about Pierce’s Disease than piracy,” Khaledi says. “Also, there’s nothing more depressing than a creative executive over 40.”

 
Photo: Courtesy of Ashes & Diamonds

As you turn off Highway 29 just north of Napa city proper onto the Oak Knoll property, Ashes & Diamonds’ two modular white winery buildings—designed by L.A.-based architect Barbara Bestor, who has also designed Beats by Dre’s headquarters, Intelligentsia coffee’s West Coast flagship, and the Palm Springs Hotel—seem to simultaneously emulate the rolling hills of the valley and leap out from them on a complex that feels somewhere between a Silicon Valley corporate campus and LACMA.

Accessed by a sunshine-yellow door and triple floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors which open onto a grassy area crisscrossed by paths (nicknamed the Quad), the rectangular hospitality building is crowned by a custom perforated, corrugated zigzag canopy which creates dynamic shade and an interplay of light and shadow over the course of the day.

 
Photo: Courtesy of Ashes & Diamonds

Inside, a custom terrazzo bar and eclectic furnishings—a Jean Prouvé desk repurposed as a communal table, Knoll Saarinen lounge chairs in retro-color-pop yellow and purple, a vintage midcentury Cees Braakman sideboard, and scattered North African rugs—create a tasting room that feels like an elevated common room with a variety of places to sit and sip. The most striking features of the taller production building, just behind, are the circular windows set into the cobra-head-shaped first floor, which extends out over an enclosed VIP-tasting-cum-events room and a ground floor breezeway.

 
Photo: Emma K. Morris / Courtesy of Ashes & Diamonds

Bestor says she was briefed to create a serious production facility with capacity for 10,000 cases of wine per year, as well as hospitality spaces that felt like a comfortable living room recalling the midcentury-home-turned-museum Eames House in the Pacific Palisades.

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“While there are nods to Albert Frey in the portholes and Donald Wexler’s folded plate roofs of the midcentury Palm Springs postcard fantasy, we aimed for a lighter and more current take fitting to the industrial nature of wine production and more residential scale of the hospitality,” Bestor explains. Khaledi knew Bestor from his first job, at the Beastie Boys’ record label, and the fanzine Grand Royal, where she was resident architect, and he says he admires her work’s “unwavering spirit of possibility and streak of rebellion.”

 
Photo: Bénédicte Manière / Courtesy of Ashes & Diamonds

When an opportunity arose to buy the property in one of Napa’s most sought-after zip codes, Khaledi, whose father is the eponymous owner of the winery Darioush nearby, felt the aesthetics and mood of midcentury California were a perfect fit for the light-handed wines he loved from the era and wanted to remake.

“The midcentury era isn’t a gimmick for us. It was an era of lightness, optimism, and possibility,” he says. Ashes & Diamonds also pays lip service to Khaledi’s artistic influences. The name is taken from Khaledi’s favorite movie, a Polish film about life’s crossroads and the big decisions people make. The poem printed on each cork, by 19th century Polish poet Cyprian Norwid, is featured in the film in the form of graffiti.

 
Photo: Emma K. Morris / Courtesy of Ashes & Diamonds

Graphic designer Brian Roettinger, best known for art directing album covers such as Jay-Z’s  Magna Carta Holy Grail and Mark Ronson’s hit Uptown Special, was commissioned to create Ashes & Diamonds’ striking monochrome labels. Here, even viniculture has a collaborative, almost band mentality. Rather than hire one winemaker, Khaledi has signed two and gives them props for both their oenology cred and their taste in music. Steve Matthiasson—whose classic, restrained approach to winemaking won him Winemaker of the Year from Food & Wine and San Francisco Chronicle—enjoys skateboarding and punk rock by Minutemen and Dead Kennedys. When she’s not managing the vineyards or scrubbing tanks, Diana Snowden Seysses—alum of Robert Mondavi Winery, Ramey Wine Cellars, and Domaine Dujac in Burgundy—gets her groove on with A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul.

How does Khaledi feel about his latest creative project?

“Now more than ever, as we’re mentally mutilated by an overabundance of information and ‘breaking news,'” he says, “I find solace in the notion of disconnecting to go outside and meet people in analog.”

 
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