Issue: Discover Hollywood Winter 2020

Hollywood's Second Home

The densest jungle in Los Angeles can be found south of Sunset and west of Western, flanked by the construction of Hollywood’s highly anticipated Target and the concrete parking lot of Home Depot. With 6,500 newly planted trees and plants, a self-sustained ecosystem and garden, and a vast array of winding, canopied paths, one might wonder if they’ve happened upon a pop-up botanical garden. This environmentally and community conscious space serves as a disruptor, though, in the saturated field of Shared Workspaces.

In 2018, Madrid-based design firm SelgasCano went about restoring the long empty Paul Williams’ designed Assistance League of Southern California building, turning it into what is now home to coworking space Second Home. Adding playful and colorful aesthetics while retaining a retro, albeit digital, design, has given new light to the industry. Over the last decade, more people are opting out of traditional office leases than ever before. With startups now commonplace and the freelance economy growing, both companies and individuals are being swayed by the flexibility, lower costs, and community centric appeal that shared workspaces offer. Environments that cultivate productivity and innovation, once a pipe dream of many florescent-lit desk workers and coffee shop frequents, have taken over cities and towns world-wide, and Hollywood is no exception.

The most well-known, WeWork, boasts 3 offices in a one-mile radius, from Hollywood Blvd to Vine Street and down to La Brea. Setting the model for what to expect when entering a shared workspace, each location comes equipped with modern furniture, conference rooms, individual desks and small offices. Unlimited coffee and access to a stocked and ever bustling kitchen are coveted staples in all. Companies such as Spaces, Epiphany Space, Neuehouse, and many others have followed suit, boasting different member perks such as movie nights, networking socials, catered lunches, and community events.

Such an array of office environment choices, however, has led to a decline in memberships and a steady retreat back to studio lofts, converted guest rooms, and silicon beach rentals, leaving the market in need of a space to breathe life back into a model proven to increase productivity and employee well-being. Enter Second Home. Upon entering the campuses main building, a small but impressive bookstore, 200-seat auditorium, and restaurant serving food with ingredients harvested from their own lush gardens greet you. Smaller desks dot the area outside the lobby, and members with laptops out serve as a subtle reminder of what this structure exists for. Outside and built upon an abandoned car lot, 60 circular, acrylic pods welcome you into an urban forest. It becomes immediately clear that Second Home has given a facelift to coworking spaces, and this is one facelift Hollywood doesn’t have to feel bad about noticing. 

Every design eliminate has been meticulously thought out and carved to promote worker well-being. The serpentine paths linking the canary colored acrylic office pods are meant to lead the wanderer temporarily astray, taking them out of any mental blocks that are all too common during the work-day. Even from above, the yellow rooftops are shaped to look like an interconnected series of lily pads, invoking both a sense of calm and the comfort of structure. Knowing the importance of natural and organic forms to the viability of creative work, SelgasCano used sustainably sourced cross-laminated timber, the first ever to do so in the state of California.

                The offices in the garden vary in size, shape, and function. Private pods, the largest seating 25, are available for larger teams or those who have frequent meetings. Quiet pods exist for those who need deep focus, while other pods welcome collaboration and discussion. There are three community concierges on the grounds that exist to promote member interaction, which is a key element of Second Home’s mission statement. To support that, there is a 20/80 policy for members wherein 20 percent of members are blue-chip firms, and 80 percent are a mix of individuals and startups reflecting the spirit of Hollywood and Los Angeles.

The importance of creating a creative a space where members can be inspired and productive, where there is a rich community of different skills and talents, is one of the key ingredients in making Second Home as effective as it is as both a workspace and an incubator for collaboration. Impressive lecture events, cultural programs, music series and performances are held on a weekly basis, open to the public, to influence and encourage open discussions - leading to greater creative output. Those winding paths not only allow the mind to wander, it welcomes spontaneous collisions from which collaborations can be born.

With such forward-thinking innovation and planning, one may wonder why Second Home didn’t make its first Los Angeles home in Silicon Beach. As Max Flemming, the General Manager of the two-acre urban campus’ space says, “Hollywood is the heart of LA”. And truly, where would make more sense? Hollywood was built on, has existed for, and thrived within a groundwork of its creative community. It is here that ideas take shape and lift off, where people arrive as an individual and find themselves within a whole. Coworking spaces, like this town, cultivate ingenuity and creativity. Hollywood welcomes Second Home home.