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Rapt Studio Transforms Mid-Century Marina Del Rey Complex into an Airy Tech Hub

PROJECT NAME MDR Truss
LOCATION Marina Del Rey
FIRM Rapt Studio
SQ. FT. 130,000 SQF

Leveling the single-story smattering of 1950s garages and factories was one option. Renovating, repurposing, and enlarging them was another. The former would provide a blank slate, the latter more of a challenge—but more character. Rapt Studio CEO and chief creative officer David Galullo, prolific designer of workplaces for such companies as Google, Twitter, and PayPal, opted to retain all but one of the six brick and concrete-block structures for the Marina Del Rey, California, campus now called MDR Truss. Today, it’s home to Zefr digital advertising, the Bouqs Co., an online farm-to-table flower delivery service, and real estate developer the Bradmore Group, the client that hired Rapt for the 130,000-square-foot project. So enamored with the result, president and CEO David Bohn decided to move the company into one of the buildings.

A site-specific installation by Settlers LA hangs in the Rapt Studio–designed headquarters of Zefr, a digital advertising company in Marina del Rey, California. Photography by Eric Laignel.

 

“David was looking to take advantage of what was here before,” begins Galullo, just off the plane from Milan, where Rapt showcased its debut Salone del Mobile installation Tell Me More. “He and his team understood that these little industrial buildings could actually add up to something pretty.” Rapt was tasked with creating the master plan for MDR Truss: Initial meetings with the client illustrated how the 3-acre site would be used, where cars could park, and how Rapt would work with the landscape architect to plant low-water and native species and create pedestrian pathways, among other essential changes. Bradmore was so impressed with the concept that the initial budget was increased. Ultimately, Rapt added a second floor to one building, de­cks to two of them, cleaned and re-painted all exterior masonry, and relocated entryways and exits and inserted roll-up glass garage doors for more light and better flow in nearly all the buildings. Additional outdoor spaces such as fire pits and a lawn for employee pets even “feel a bit resort,” Galullo notes.

Watch now: “Tell Me More,” Rapt Studio’s Installation at Salone del Mobile

The company occupies four buildings at MDF Truss, an office complex master-planned by Rapt. Photography by Eric Laignel.

Rapt was then hired again by Bradmore for its interiors and by Zefr for its offices, which occupy 40,000 square feet across four buildings. “We were morphing the exterior design based on what the interiors needed,” Galullo explains. Because all six buildings were leased prior to the completion of construction, the firm was able to deeply customize the design.

Reception’s white oak desk is backed by a Carrara marble panel, all custom. Photography by Eric Laignel

 

Creating an upgraded space for Zefr meant pushing a company with a start-up mentality—it was founded in 2008 and focuses on YouTube content targeting—into a more sophisticated space. “The idea was like Hey, we still want to be scrappy, but let’s have moments where we remind people that we’re heading in the right direction,” Galullo says. “For us, a brand is about the organization’s attitude, personality, and culture.” The result is a mixture of refined custom sectionals and walnut tables with furnishings from the hipper end of mass retailers and unpretentious, locally focused artwork. “It doesn’t feel like a dorm room, more like your second apartment,” Galullo adds, glancing down from the deck off one of the building’s newly added second floor at the rack of staffers’ sandy surfboards and the Zefr-branded skateboard ramp.

Hans Hornemann’s sofa faces leather butterfly chairs in a meeting area. Photography by Eric Laignel.

In Zefr’s main building, Rapt took advantage of the 16-foot ceiling with site-specific installations. One is at the entry: a cascade of white ribbons designed by art fabrication company Settlers LA that’s akin to an enor­mous ocean whitecap but that Galullo de­scribes as “kind of flowy.” Neptune Glassworks, another area artisan, pitched its canopy of handblown  glass orbs to Rapt and it ended up above the café, where occa­sional blue walls further nod to sea and sky.

The satin ribbons range from 3 to 30 feet long. Photography by Eric Laignel.

Galullo calls Rapt “transdiscipli­nary, which is like equal measure on every discipline coming together to form something new.” In the case of Zefr, that meant curating an art and furniture offering “that’s an interesting and eclectic blend,” he says. “The last thing we want is for the office to feel like it was decorated to be perfect. People spend a lot of time here, so we focused on the spaces where people are going to hang.” So, for Zefr’s myriad lounge, meeting, and break-out areas, there’s always a duo of lounge chairs, plus a sofa, coffee table, and rug—a homey configuration that differentiates them from the rows of workstations.

A sofa by Harrison and Nicholas Condos furnishes a deck off a new second floor. Photography by Eric Laignel.

 

The approach also meant eschewing corner offices (although there are private phone rooms in the core of each building as well as traditional conference rooms). One corner did surprise Galullo, however. It’s that outdoor deck space he created off a building’s new second floor. “I was worried it might feel like a cage because we wrapped it into the structure,” he recalls. “But it turned out to be an unexpected nugget.”

The company logo is painted onto the plywood skateboard ramp. Photography by Eric Laignel.

“When we set out on this project, we had to tell the story of both Zefr and the site’s history,” Galullo concludes. “It couldn’t just be about maximizing the number of parking spaces, although we did wrestle with that for quite some time.” In a locale where car culture still rules, that’s saying something.

Keep scrolling to view more images of the project >

Neptune Glassworks’s instal­lation in handblown glass and steel wire enlivens the café. Photography by Eric Laignel.
A corridor’s printed canvas echoes the community’s seaside location. Photography by Eric Laignel.
A pair of Busk + Hertzog lounge chairs compose a break-out area. Photography by Eric Laignel.
Most of the buildings in the 3-acre MDF Truss complex date to the 1950s. Photography by Eric Laignel.
Hee Welling chairs surround a Studio Hopkins table in a con­ference room. Photography by Eric Laignel.
Custom workstations in an office area also by Studio Hopkins. Photography by Eric Laignel.
Jason Miller pendant fixtures and tables by Charles and Ray Eames outfit the café booths. Photography by Eric Laignel.

Project Team: Sam Farhang (Creative Director); Kristen Woods; Derrick Prodigalidad; Krisada Surichamorn; Glenn Yoo; John Stempniak; Gigi Allen; Andrew Ashey; Scott Johnson; Michael Maciocia; Sasha Agapov; Alex Adamson; Semone Kessler; Rosela Barraza; Daniela Covarrubias; Justin Chen: Rapt Studio. EPT Design: Landscape Architect. Structural Focus: Structural Engineer. KPFF: Civil Engineer. E Engineers: Electrical Engineer. Tarantino Construction: General Contractor.

Product Sources: From top: Muuto: Chairs (Lounge). CB2: Table. Louis Poulsen: Pendant Fixtures. Grand Rapids Chair Co.: Stools. Restora­tion Hardware: Sofas (Lounge, Deck), Coffee Tables (Meeting Area, Deck, Break-Out Area). AM Cabinets: Custom Desk (Reception). Ladies & Gentlemen Studio: Pendant Fixture. Stoneland: Custom Panel. Framebridge: Custom Wall. Normann Copenhagen: Sofa (Meeting Area). Industry West: Chairs (Meet­ing Area), Café Chairs (Reception), Chairs (Café, Break-Out Area, Meeting Room). Herman Miller: Task Chair (Reception), Tables (Café Booths). Alexander & Willis: Custom Sofa (Reception), Custom Tables (Café). Source International: Chair (Meeting Room). Fab­ricut: Drapery. Flat Vernacular: Wallpaper (Café). Apparatus: Sconces. Softline: Lounge Chairs (Break-Out Area). Hay: Chairs (Conference Room). FabriSPAN: Ceiling Panels. OCL: Pendant Fixtures. Ege: Carpet. Pair: Table (Conference Room), Custom Workstations (Office Area). SitOn­It: Task Chairs (Office Area). Modulyss: Carpet. Roll & Hill: Pendant Fixtures (Café Booths). AM Cabinets: Custom Banquettes. Holly Hunt: Banquette Fabric. Sherwin-Williams Company: Paint. Throughout: West Elm: Rugs. Pfeifer Studio: Side Tables. Bp Glass Garage Doors: Cus­tom Garage Doors. Assa Abloy: Door Pulls. Lumenwerx: Linear Fixtures. Senso: Pendant Fix­tures. Wac Lighting: Track Lighting.

> See more from the May 2019 issue of Interior Design

Continue reading Rapt Studio Transforms Mid-Century Marina Del Rey Complex into an Airy Tech Hub

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London’s SelgasCano-Designed Serpentine Pavilion is About to Land in LA

Interior view of the SelgasCano-designed Serpentine Pavilion. Photography by Iwan Baan, courtesy of Second Home.

Since its inception in 2000 with Zaha Hadid as its first designer, the Serpentine Pavilion on the Kensington Gardens lawn outside the permanent Serpentine Gallery has been created by such architectural supernovas as Sanaa, Sou Fujimoto, Peter Zumthor, Bjarke Ingels, Diébédo Francis Kéré, and a collaboration between Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei.

The SelgasCano-designed Serpentine Pavilion will soon be installed in LA’s La Brea Tar Pits. Photography by Iwan Baan, courtesy of Second Home.

 

In 2015, the Madrid-based studio SelgasCano, the first Spaniards commissioned, created a charming cocoon-like work of a colorful membrane fabric. This summer, that construction will be reincarnated and transported to Los Angeles, marking its debut in the U.S. Visitors will be able to experience the architects’ themes of light, shadow, color, transparency, and materials as they enter through various openings and proceed through the structure. The venue is the La Brea Tar Pits, the historical site that is mere steps from LACMA, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Read more: SelgasCano designs a Floating Temporary Pavilion for a Belgian Canal

Second Home will use the Serpentine Pavilion for free events throughout the summer and fall. Photography by Iwan Baan, courtesy of Second Home.

The LA installation, running from June 28 through November 24, coincides with the Hollywood opening of the London-based co-working venture Second Home, which is sponsoring the endeavor with the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County. Encompassing 866 square feet, Serpentine redux will be a meeting ground for public talks, film screenings, music and cultural events. So far, named collaborators include BBC host and DJ Gilles Peterson; the film streaming and distribution firm, Mubi; and the Goldhirsh Foundation addressing LA’s future with its initiative LA2050. Everything will be open to the public and free.

Interior of the 2015 Serpentine Pavilion, set to debut in Los Angeles on June 28, 2019. Photography by Iwan Baan, courtesy of Second Home.

Read more: Numen/For Use Refashions “The Tube” Installation for Handbag Designer Anya Hindmarch in London

Continue reading London’s SelgasCano-Designed Serpentine Pavilion is About to Land in LA

“Fearless Fashion: Rudi Gernreich” Opens at LA’s Skirball Cultural Center

Peggy Moffitt modeling a black and white dress by Rudi Gernreich, fall 1971. Photography by William Claxton.

 

The world knows Rudi Gernreich for his monokini. That image of his model-muse Peggy Moffitt, with her sleek, five-point Vidal Sassoon haircut in the topless bathing suit, was the shot seen around the world and a symbol of the freewheeling 1960s. Arguably America’s first contemporary fashion designer, he gave us miniskirts, pantsuits, and unisex clothing, as well as the thong.

Peggy Moffitt in the Gernreich-designed monokini, 1964. Photography by William Claxton.

 

What many do not associate with Gernreich, however, was his social activism. Ideas we take for granted—body freedom, androgeny, gender equality, and fluidity—were less part of conversation than they are today. For Gernreich, they were his core concerns and he used fashion as a vehicle for expression. As portrayed by  “Fearless Fashion: Rudi Gernreich” at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, which features more than 80 of his bold, graphic designs as well as accessories and sketches, the designer was fearless in his thinking as well as his approach to fashion.

Read More: Fashion and Fantasy Shared the Stage at Paris and Milan Fashion Weeks

Gernreich’s vinyl and wool ensemble for Harmon Knitwear, resort 1968. Photography by William Claxton.

 

A Viennese émigré who arrived in Los Angeles at age 16 in 1938, Gernreich was fleeing anti-Semitism abroad. Upon settling stateside, he experienced homophobia, yet he found sanctuary studying dance in the racially integrated Lester Horton Dance Theater, where Alvin Ailey was later a student. Ergo, the duotard and swan costumes plus jumpsuits and caftans allowing for freedom of movement. The gay rights Mattachine Society also provided solace as did Los Angeles’s coterie of artists. Later, when Vietnam protests roiled the youth culture and hippies came on the scene, Gernreich studied these kids and made clothes that they might actually want to wear.

Read more: Dame Mary Quant is Having a Moment (Again)

Unisex ensemble by Gernreich for Harmon Knitwear, 1970. Courtesy of Skirball Cultural Center.

 

Upon the designer’s death in 1985, his partner of more than three decades established the ACLU Rudi Gernreich-Oreste Pucciani Endowment Fund to support the fight for LGBT rights. “Fearless Fashion: Rudi Gernreich” runs through September 1, 2019.

Keep scrolling for more images from the exhibition >

Gernreich with models at Watts Tower, Los Angeles, 1965. Photography by William Claxton.
Duotard ensemble for the Lewitsky Dance Company production of “Inscape,” 1976. Photography by Daniel Esgro.
Gernreich fashion at LA’s Wiltern Theater, 1985. Photography courtesy of Los Angeles Public Library.
Peggy Moffitt and Rudi Gernreich dancing. Photography by William Claxton.

Continue reading “Fearless Fashion: Rudi Gernreich” Opens at LA’s Skirball Cultural Center

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