In a move to “democratize access to truly professional, high-end media and entertainment facilities for all creators,” says WeWork Southern California GM Kley Sippel, the company is launching a brand-new, 45,000-square-foot-plus hub in Pacific Design Center’s César Pelli-designed Green building. The co-working behemoth (with more than 400 global locations) saw “a powerful yet unmet need to service a creative class left outside the big-name studios,” says Sippel, “and instead stuck in their homes or less-than-inspiring places.”
The new one-stop shop, opening May 1, includes four soundproofed recording and editing rooms with state-of-the-art equipment, styling suites and casting rooms. A team dedicated to these spaces (bookable for a planned 800 members) is on hand to manage, advise and organize details — say, securing catering for a management company’s casting call and photo shoot.
The space was based on feedback from industry members — a group spanning Kevin Smith and digital network Cheddar — that existing WeWork hardware and amenities didn’t service their needs. The company also called upon designers and sound engineers to finesse details. Typical WeWorks favor natural light, but because it’s hard to control for a photo shoot, design adjustments were made. Similarly, says Sippel, “transfer of sound generates energy in our space but can ruin a recording.”
WeWork’s first foray into entertainment-tailored space won’t be its last. The company first debuted industry-relevant theaters at WeWork Constellation in the ICM building — originally built for MGM — and as demand for them soared, excitement built around creating a new product in the epicenter of show business. Over the winter, Anna Faris and podcast partner Sim Sarna moved into a bespoke studio at the Vine location (where Topher Grace also works), and the still-new PDC Red WeWork became home to Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s content accelerator Imagine Impact — which now will move into the Green building, as will boutique model and influencer agency Lipps L.A., whose president Scott Lipps reps Karolina Kurkova.
The space’s design creates a soft and welcoming vibe using energetic, vivid artwork and splashes of psychedelic neons. To optimize flexibility, there are semi-private booths, private workspaces and phone booths as well as a large common area for social or collaborative work that doubles as an event space. Imagine Impact is moving into a 52-person office, having quickly outgrown its 35-man space in Red; the division’s head and producer Tyler Mitchell cites the new WeWork’s “inspirational energy.”
The company anticipates the highest demand from small- to medium-sized media agencies for basic recording and shooting, but down the road it plans “incredibly robust spaces built in conjunction with industry partners to service full-scale production needs,” says Sippel. “We’re not only providing the technical spaces and amenities necessary for this creative community, but we’re also providing a space where they can all come together and connect in ways that are too often out of reach in L.A.”
A version of this story first appeared in the April 30 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.