Sh Hollywood Sca 4853

This Hollywood Coworking Space Feels Like a Giant Terrarium

Spanish firm SelgasCano turned to botanical and zoological inspirations to light Second Home’s Los Angeles outpost—the final instalment in our global survey of lighting design.

Sh Hollywood Sca 4853
Courtesy Iwan Baan

Second Home, a British communal workspace provider founded in 2013, distinguishes itself from competitors through its serious commitment to architecture. Each of the company’s six locations was designed by the Spanish firm SelgasCano, all in a hall-of-mirrors idiom. At the new Hollywood spot, the work areas are not arrayed vertically, as is the case at the London and Lisbon outposts, but horizontally: 60 lily pad–like pods augment a renovated base building from the 1960s. Reflective surfaces, glass partitions, and prodigious planting conspire to create the feeling of working within a giant terrarium.

For SelgasCano principal Diego Cano-Lasso, “the most productive environment is one that is cloTse to nature,” especially in Los Angeles, where “flowers are blossoming all year round.” A key consideration was California’s fabled light, which, for Cano-Lasso, “changes the way things appear, it is like a movie filter.”

Low accent lighting actually improves interior visibility in conditions of bountiful daylight, a principle demonstrated by the fixtures found throughout the office spaces. They are the work of the artist Doctor Cato (Alejandro Cano), whose drawings betray an interest in zoology; he has previously developed lamps for other Second Home offices, including a “squid” luminaire. Second Home L.A. sees his contributions greatly expanded: He designed and fabricated 600 pendant lamps, all vaguely reminiscent of invertebrates. They create “a warmth that is fundamental to the feeling we were looking for,” says Cano-Lasso.

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In the main lobby, the Doctor also fashioned a giant chrysalislike chandelier to accentuate the grand staircase, while in the nearby “oval room,” his pendants join bespoke lighting elements by SelgasCano. These latter task lights pop up from the reflective worktables, whose kidney-bean shape contributes to the space’s Seussian vibe.

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