"When we found the space it was a totally empty but beautiful shell," says Jaclyn Johnson, founder and CEO of Create & Cultivate, speaking about the company’s chic new office space in downtown Los Angeles. Johnson, a Forbes 30 Under 30 recipient and Adweek Disruptor, founded the company in 2012 as a media platform and organizer of celebrity-studded conferences on female leadership.
For her, it was important that the office reflect the brand’s constructive, creative process. "All day long, we are designing events and putting together experiences for our audience. We wanted a workspace that brought to mind the feeling of Create & Cultivate." To transform the 5,000-square-foot industrial office, Johnson turned to interior designer Ginny Macdonald.
"The team had a strong vision but needed help implementing the design," says Macdonald, who did not want the workspace to feel boring or mundane. "Especially when designing an office for creatives, it’s important to make sure the environment is inspiring and, in some way, informal," she says. Johnson agrees and thinks the building’s large-scale windows enhance the creative process: "All of the sunshine creates a nice indoor-outdoor vibe while keeping the team alert and excited."
"We moved here because we also needed space to grow," explains Johnson. "The team has doubled in size to 25 and having a flexible floor plan allowed us to expand the main work areas without much work." The open layout also provides opportunities to balance work with fun.
"We’ve cleared areas for yoga sessions and visits by massage therapists. We even had a pop-up brow bar once," Johnson adds. "The architecture was long and linear and we worked with that to lay out the desk arrangement," says Macdonald. "Layout is a key component to creating a comfortable working environment."
When asked about her favorite parts of the office Johnson replied, "actually, the kitchen and bathrooms. Both spaces were pretty standard when we moved in but Ginny suggested ways to dress them up and incorporate our brand colors." To complete the design, Macdonald built on the pink and coral color palette by adding grounding tones, including navy blue, black, and gray.
Avoiding structural changes, Macdonald worked with the existing black cabinetry and added an eight-foot-long waterfall island in a matte finish gray quartz. "The kitchen is the perfect gathering spot," says Johnson. "We host happy hours every Thursday, and we regularly shoot video content in there, too." To contrast with the cabinets, Macdonald also selected a modern, satin brass faucet from Hausera. "I love the faucet," adds Johnson. "The reality is dishes pile up with so many people in the office. We needed something that would look good even after some wear and tear."
"The bathrooms were essentially a blank canvas with concrete floors and white walls," explains Macdonald. "They do not have windows, so it was important to add some energy and fun. We did this by installing patterned wallpaper and swapping out the existing espresso-wood vanity for a white one with a Carrara marble top."
"We wanted a workspace that everyone could be excited to visit—colleagues, friends, partners, freelancers—that was something really important to us," replies Johnson when asked about how she feels coming to work each day. "It’s peaceful and quiet, but it’s also just a few minutes from downtown L.A."
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