BIG CHIEFAuthor:Abigail Stone
Despite its relative youth, L.A. is now counting century old buildings among its structures. While undeniably beautiful, they demand the agility of skilled architects and interior design professionals who can understand their unique quirks as assets rather than hindrances.
That was certainly the case with the space on La Cienega that TAP Studio and JMIA+D were tasked with turning into the Los Angeles headquarters of Chief, the New York-based private member’s club created to support and connect high-powered women in business.
“Their mission is rooted in education and empowering women at the VP level and above,” explains TAP Studio’s Tanya Paz. “It’s not primarily a co-working space. It’s a space for connection that reinforces their robust online networking platform.” Just steps from Melrose place, the building, originally erected as a puppet theatre in 1941 and most recently the home of antique stores Philip Stites and Therien, was in need of major TLC.
“It was huge, gorgeous space,” Paz remembers. “The challenge was how do makes the space feel like LA and not like New York but still has the same feeling as their NY space, that feels like a place for community in a city that seems designed to prevent that?” The key lay in amplifying the floor plan of the building—a horseshoe-shaped interior that hugs a magical courtyard—and the blurring of that line between indoors and out that is so key to the Southern California experience.
The building’s quirks, like its battered floors, add to its beauty. “It gives you a real feeling for what used to be here,” says JMIA+D’s Jeffrey Miller, noting how a wall with celebrity signatures from roasts hosted at the theater as well as its dusty rose color was integrated into the design. “These things help make the space feel rich, warm and inviting.” So, too, does the attention to detail and the inclusion of amenities, like mothering rooms, complete with mirrors and refrigerators for storing pumped breast milk, created with women’s needs in mind.
Accentuated by custom millwork, including natural oak plank ceilings, the interiors, under the direction of AvroKo, echo the New York flagship, swirling together a bold palette of rich, saturated color, lush textures and well-scaled new and vintage furniture in sensual shapes and art by female artists.
With two bars, five distinct conference rooms with fully integrated technology, and a smattering of lounges and private rooms, the space is a natural for jovial networking events, thoughtful meetings and moments of focused work. That luxuriant patio? The perfect place for chance encounters. This place is it, Chief.