Soho House’s New Downtown L.A. Warehouse Does It All: From Hotel to Coworking Space to Dinner and Drinks
The Arts District of downtown Los Angeles has flourished over the past decade. Not long after Italian restaurant Bestia earned renown in 2012 from a discrete alleyway, this small neighborhood became a destination. It has since experienced a cultural awakening: Row DTLA offers dining and workspaces, a slew of craft breweries allow for tipsy meandering from block to block, and with the advent of Soho House & Co.’s 25th property, Soho Warehouse, the neighborhood is now in full swing.
Occupying a seven-story building, Soho Warehouse accommodates the usual laptoppers, buzzy brainstormers, and travelers accustomed to the comingling atmosphere of Soho House. And true to form, the aesthetic pulls from the community in which it resides, mixing vintage and custom decor throughout its common space and 48 bedrooms.
“For creatives in the downtown and Eastside neighborhoods, we’ve created the House to be an extension of their own living areas,” says Soho House’s founder Nick Jones. “Creating a way of life that’s morning, noon, and night—a space where you can take a morning meeting, have lunch, or meet friends for drinks.”
The building dates back to 1916 when the neighborhood had transitioned from agricultural hotbed to industrial hub, when railroads traced its grid, and when a burgeoning Los Angeles had just begun to awaken. As the population exploded, businesses vacated the area for more sprawling locales, leaving vacated buildings behind. In the 1970s, artists who were priced out of Hollywood and Venice communed in these derelict complexes, forming the Arts District. Over the years it has seen its fair share of rise-and-fall, but now it is coming to its own once again with a mix of grit and finesse.
A warehouse of art
Entering the inconspicuous Soho Warehouse, which harmoniously blends in with its neighboring complexes, is like stepping inside a treasure chest of Arts District inspiration and history; a trait that Soho House does so well. A mural from DTLA-based street artist and illustrator Shepard Fairey forms a greeting cascade on the original loading-dock door at the front entrance; Art Deco from L.A.’s roaring 1920s intertwines with 1970s-style furnishing to illuminate the building’s various eras; exposed brick walls reveal graffiti tagged long before its transformation into Soho Warehouse; and a collection of local art pays homage to the diversity and personality of the city.
Genevieve Gaignard, who currently resides in an artist compound in Leimert Park, explores race, class, and femininity through her works. Her wallpaper installation ascends from the sixth to seventh floor and is called “Never Too Much,” a title borrowed from her favorite Luther Vandross tune.
“[It’s] a space for visitors to reflect on the beauty and strength that black women embody, and it’s an affirmation for black women, and all women, that you are never too much,” says Gaignard. “This work is a continuation of my practice and speaks to the complexities of race and gender in America. I found these themes befitting to the neighborhood and community of downtown L.A.”
On the seventh floor, a rooftop restaurant, bar, and (most important) pool showcase a 360-degree view of Los Angeles (on a smog-free day). Up there, you’ll find not only the graffiti, which adds a nuanced character to the space, but also murals and textiles that emphasize L.A.’s distinct charm.
A six-by-18-foot acrylic painting, topping cozy restaurant banquettes, depicts the backyard of a quintessential mid-century home; a long gander at it elicits a daydream of L.A.’s never-ending summer. “The home does not exist as it appears in the painting; instead it is a composite of modern homes I’ve photographed in Southern California,” says painter Paul Davies.
Overlooking diners on the terrace, an expansive painting by artist Blanda portrays human connection and the entanglement of minds through the sleek use of black paint and lines. “I wanted to make something relatively simple but with a certain complexity and depth to it,” says Blanda. “Almost like a symbolic mirror to the crowd that is moving around in front of the piece.”
In midwinter and beyond, cocktails are enjoyed poolside on eco-friendly hemp lounge chairs, a collaboration between Ethan Lipsitz and MoonCloth. The fabrics were inspired and informed by expressions of joy and love during a healing journey when Lipsitz made his transition into art after being diagnosed with Stage 3 brain cancer in 2017.
A longtime resident of the city, Lipsitz has embraced the thriving atmosphere of creation. “I feel that I am a part of the last 11 years of downtown L.A.,” he reflects. “I have gotten to know folks who have been deeply invested in the area as advocates and artists, and I feel proud to have contributed to the fabric of the city as an artist, civic leader, and entrepreneur.”
The revolving door of Soho Warehouse offers creatives a welcoming environment, as does the Arts District. And with ever-evolving initiatives to integrate itself into the community, the Soho Warehouse hopes the community will welcome these efforts.
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