Cultured Magazine

February/March 2016

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IMAGES COURTESY NEUEHOUSE 108 CULTURED C r e a t i v e C o l l e c t i v e New York's NeueHouse opens in Los Angeles, bringing its culturally driven co-working ethos to the West Coast. BY DEGEN PENER NeueHouse Hollywood features seven stories of working environments, including recording studios once used by Orson Welles, Lucille Ball and Bob Dylan. NeueHouse—the chic co-working concept in New York that recently opened in Los Angeles—curates its members as carefully as a gallerist does an exhibit. The club-like private spaces, which rent desks and offices in environments that have the feel of a boutique hotel, never want members from any one industry to predominate. Instead, the goal is to bring together a mix of creative individuals who interact with and inspire each other in their myriad endeavors. NeueHouse's membership ranges widely, from the art world (The Studio Museum's Thelma Golden, Performa's RoseLee Goldberg, artist Jill Magid, photographer Tim Richardson) to the fields of tech, music, publishing, philanthropy and fashion. Some small companies have also set up shop inside NeueHouse. "The idea is to never have more than 10 percent of the people here be from any one particular industry," says global membership director Tim Geary, who previously led membership at the Soho House West Hollywood. The space's founders—led by tech entrepreneurs Joshua Abram and Alan Murray—take their mantra so seriously that the desks at the new NeueHouse Hollywood, located in the landmarked seven-story 1938 CBS Radio Building, were only 25 percent occupied as of early 2016, a good three months into its opening. "The challenge in L.A. continues to be creating a really diverse community that's not entertainment-based. We could actually be full now with [Hollywood] production companies and [talent] representatives and so forth, but we're far from full. We are doing it deliberately," says Geary. Members work in an environment where leather couches and kilim throws immediately signal that this is a world away from the typical co-working spaces that have sprung up in some cities. Architect David Rockwell (whose projects range from Nobu Beijing to a pop-up theater for TED's 30th annual conference) and interior designer Cristina Azario (wife of co-founder Abram) designed both of the spaces. Creating the right environment, though, goes beyond amenities—which in this case include a cafe, screening room and recording studio, once home to Orson Welles' radio program. "We are not looking to provide people just with an alternative social venue. We have created something new, which is this area between work, play and life," says Geary. NeueHouse's sense of community is built around a steady stream of inventive programming, overseen by the New York- based creative director, Michelle Grey, and by the L.A. location's new director of cultural programming, Meredith Rogers, who most recently worked in special events at Blum & Poe. "We've found that for creative people, a lot of their curiosity is fed by learning things outside their discipline," says Grey. Already in L.A. electronic music duo Disclosure taped a DJ set on a soundstage, director Werner Herzog gave a reading, and curator Neville Wakefield threw a dinner for artist Piero Golia. "Culture in L.A. is so dispersed that it's amazing to have a place to bring disciplines together under one roof," says Rogers. To gain membership, advises Geary, don't drone on about wanting a desk tucked away in a corner. Do talk about wanting to participate in the culture of the club. "We genuinely want learning to be a foundation," he says, "and we want people here who are actively involved in the community."

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