The glamour of the entertainment industry and the tidy forms of modernist architecture converged at the 1938 CBS headquarters on Los Angeles's Sunset Boulevard, designed by architect William Lescaze. The Swiss-born Lescaze, commissioned to create a new kind of workplace typology—the broadcast facility—applied the hallmarks of the International Style to the building's graphic exterior: right angles, pilotis, and an all-white paint job. On the inside, though, he applied the softer touches of Streamline Moderne, the stylistic compromise between his Old World austerity and Hollywood's obsession with Art Deco—whimsical porthole windows and glass bricks; sinuous curves instead of sharp corners; grooves on the horizontal surfaces.
Decades later, these details live on in the building's new life as the co-working space NeueHouse. After the decline of radio, the building switched hands from CBS to a number of different developers, the most recent of which was Kilroy Realty in 2012, which converted the space into the West Coast outpost of NeueHouse as part of a larger mixed-use development. Architect David Rockwell, who designed NeueHouse's flagship New York location, overhauled the interiors to simultaneously preserve and modernize Lescaze's now-landmarked features.
Like Lescaze, Rockwell was charged with designing a new workplace typology, this time the open-plan, shared office. Like its East Coast location, NeueHouse L.A. follows the 21st-century ethos of the flexible workspace: a variety of both private and social options for the independent and self-employed, or perhaps the young and restless.
"It's a place where you go to work and play," Rockwell explains, and this version is bigger and brighter, with more than twice as much space. The ground floor features a coffee shop with luxuriously plush leather banquettes, and at the long oak communal tables, there are no assigned seats. Subscribers have the option of working in a cozy, treehouse-like perch overlooking a double-height space, or lounging around the stadium seating in the balcony of massive Studio A, where the pilot of "I Love Lucy" was filmed.
The levels of privacy increase with each floor and subscriber level, culminating on the sixth-floor, Paley Penthouse board room for top members, where Rockwell covered the walls in curved wood with metal flourishes and converted the adjacent rooftops into outdoor terraces. ("That's part of working in L.A.," he says. "We had to take advantage of the amazing weather.") In the intermediate levels, he installed his custom office system, a more open, contemporary play on the cubicle with walls made of corkboard and fluted glass.
Throughout, interiors consist of both Moroccan-style shaggy rugs and textiles, much like in New York, and pieces the Rockwell Group custom-designed to reflect Lescaze's bygone era: long leather couches that evoke Le Corbusier, chandeliers in polished silver tones, and recurring grooved surfaces, like the tambour of the walls or the narrow, vertical tiles on NeueHouse L.A.'s two bars. True traces of Lescaze remain in the sculpted metal numbers fixed above the elevators, and the black-and-white wainscoting in the lobby. All these varied spaces read as cohesive whole—contemporary with a vague Hollywood undertone, which, like the weather, is just part of the L.A. package.