A non-office for influencers to work and play A hotel-inspired Hollywood headquarters – News Kidda

Wheelhouse, a media, marketing and investment company founded by Brent Montgomery and Jimmy Kimmelhas just opened a new 10,496 square foot production space on Sunset Boulevard that is intended to be a haven for influencers and other talent who need a centralized hub to host meetings and create content.

The company has locations elsewhere in LA, on Orlando Avenue and in New York City’s Tribeca neighborhood, but the new West Hollywood space will serve as the headquarters for its digital and influencer affiliates known as Wheelhouse DNA, which produce shows like Facebook. Messenger’s Cooking with Brooklyn and Spotify’s Urban legends on the internet.

“We wanted to build something that has both the work element and the play element. We’ve basically split the building in half: you go to the left to play and you go to the right to work,” he says. Ed Simpson, Wheelhouse’s chief strategy officer and the designer of the space. On the work side, which is home to podcast studios, a greenscreen studio, and editing rooms, Simpson says he decided to minimize windows to better manage soundproofing. On the other side, which includes a kitchen and lounge, “we opened the windows to let in more light, and the colors we used are much brighter,” says Simpson, describing the atmosphere as “modern bungalow” that ” as far away from an office.” — EVAN NICOLE BROWN

I wanted to undermine the expectation of what an office space should look like,” explains Paul Leethe CEO of production company wiip, which has produced a slew of acclaimed dishes, including: Mare by Easttown, Dickinson and I became beautiful in the summer since its inception in 2018. “Besides, if I’m honest, I’d spent way too long in the cold corridors of business.”

Lee, who previously headed ABC Entertainment Group, along with wiip Matteo Perale, former head of strategy and business development at CAA. Backed by the agency, the boutique production company — whose name is an acronym of “word,” “idea,” “imagination” and “production” — was originally located in CAA’s Century City offices.

But in 2020, just before the outbreak of COVID-19, Lee decided to move wiip and his 32 employees to a very different space in the heart of Hollywood. (The following year, CAA sold a majority stake in the company to South Korea’s JTBC Studios to resolve a stalemate with the WGA.)

“I wanted the team to know that this is a very different type of studio,” Lee says, “and that starts with creating an inclusive and warm workspace.”

To bring that vision to life, Lee turned to Jaqui Seerman (who designed offices for) Michael De LucaLionsgate Studios and Makeready Studios) to transform a long-neglected two-story space in a Spanish Colonial Revival building on Sunset Boulevard into a vibrant and welcoming creative environment.

“The building had gone through many iterations and was quite dilapidated,” says Seerman. The structure was developed in 1927 by a silent movie cowboy Fred Thomson as a shop and studio space. Since then known as the Fred Thomson Building, it later became the property of ventriloquist and TV personality Edgar Bergenwho set up a radio studio from which he broadcast The Charlie McCarthy Show for CBS. And the building and large courtyard were home to rock-starred pub The Cat & Fiddle for 29 years (the restaurant space is now occupied by Superba Food + Bread). The City of LA declared the building a Historic Cultural Landmark in 2019.

Seerman recalls that Lee’s original idea for wiip’s new offices came from the hospitality industry. “His inspiration image was a lounge [at] one of London’s Firmdale Hotels – so much ikat [fabric]lots of patterns and a high use of contemporary colors,” says Seerman, whose design pedigree includes stints working for LA-based designers like Waldo Fernandez, Madeline Stuart and Martyn Laurentius bullard. “As a result, my style can transition from Fernandez’s California modern to Stuart’s more traditional to Bullard’s eclectic and wild,” she says of her mentors, “and I feel comfortable working in all those ranges.”

Seerman sees her role as collaborative. “My goal is to walk the path with my client, pushing them out of their comfort zone, rather than presenting them with a final design. That way they are involved and invested.” At wiip – where Netflix’s upcoming projects are Bodkinthe first scripted drama series by Barack and Michelle Obama‘s Higher Ground Productions, and Adam McKay‘s anthology series on climate change The Uninhabitable Earth for HBO Max – she and Lee deviated from a layout dominated by individual offices, creating comfortable communal areas with richly upholstered chairs in velvet and leather and small tables for segregated meetings.

In the main meeting room, the custom table spans 21 feet. “It’s the biggest table I’ve ever made. It goes on forever,” exclaims Seerman. “But it was important to him that it could accommodate [people] without the clumsiness of pulling up extra seats. That makes people feel unwelcome.”

Rather than a formal reception, visitors arrive at a bright upstairs landing (dominated by a pair of arched windows), which offers a plush armchair and long sofa. “We’ve taken a lot of pieces from real estate sales to make it more collected and more personal,” says Seerman.

“I know that after the pandemic,” she continues, “a lot of people don’t want to go back to their office because they’re cold and isolated. But Paul told me everyone couldn’t wait to come back. They are very conducive to lifestyle and balance and flexibility and people who bring their pets, and they can do it in this beautiful environment.”

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