Building a full-service advertising agency wasn't what I first set out to do with my career; it was an idea inspired after working early in my career in the entertainment advertising industry in Los Angeles, and in seeing the fit, finish, polish and speed of entertainment. After honing my skills in this business, I knew I could apply these principles to the general consumer market. As a result, I founded ELA, "Everything L.A.," based on this vision and to capture the spirit, culture, vibe and attitude of Los Angeles, where creative ideas are born and where my creative energy for advertising began.
To mirror the culture, vibe and attitude of what uniquely makes up Southern California, the ELA offices needed to reflect these design principles while also accommodating the practical considerations of both our account and creative team needs.
Our ELA Los Angeles headquarters office sits in the heart of the entertainment capital in Hollywood, and is housed in a neo-classic façade. Originally an architecture firm's headquarters that changed hands many times to creative and production companies, our office design features many of these original industrial elements, including exposed brick, resawn redwood siding, high ceilings, exposed Douglas fir posts and beams and concrete, pebble aggregate, and wood flooring. Structurally independent mezzanine levels provide physical separation of office functions in addition to adding visual drama. Original steel-framed industrial windows and skylights provide ample natural daylight.
The interior shell of the building is composed of unreinforced brick walls and skylights supported by Summerbell trusses. The office cubicles and office doors on the first floor of the office were custom-made with transparent blue glass fashioned with silkscreen that provides an infusion of color and gives employees a sense of privacy, but without complete isolation.
Additionally, our Los Angeles space features an outdoor patio and various gathering spaces that promote collaboration for our employees. We also have a creative loft and multiple creative production areas, including an in-house production studio, providing our staff photographers and directors the ability to execute photo and video shoots in-house, depending on the scale of the production, and great for quick-turn client needs.
Our ELA branding is splashed throughout the space. Upon entering, a flat screen TV displays the ELA logo in our reception area, and we hand-painted a small wall which displays the quote "Be Great Right Now," one of our agency's core brand values, which sits above the reception desk. We will soon be adding additional exterior and interior branding elements, including a branded flag, exterior and interior signage and a mural wall.
The most unique features, from my perspective, are the wood, steel-framed windows and glass, the metals, and the use of natural daylight with the skylights throughout the space that provide a flow, creating different areas for the account and creative teams. Additionally, we have an outdoor patio that is adorned with outdoor lights and comfortable outdoor furniture for employees to gather formally and informally. Our outdoor space can also be easily converted for events and guests, and we have partnered with our neighbors, including the historic Record Plant recording studios, for parties in addition to hosting our own events onsite.
While still located in Southern California, Orange County is very different than our Hollywood location, located in the busting urban commerce district in Irvine, known for lush landscapes and large outdoor areas.
We had the fortune of working with award-winning architecture, design and planning firm Gensler, and our Orange County office features elements of contemporary modern design complemented with functional open space to promote collaborative work styles. Design elements include the use of raw natural materials, lush plants, neutral color palettes, and high-level finishings including a Benetti Moss wall imported from Italy and black cahard wood—keeping the elements of the wood that exist in our Los Angeles office, but done just a bit differently to support the design and structure of this office.
To bring to life our business approach inspired by our Hollywood headquarters, the office space incorporates lighting fixtures which hang in a chaotic grid compared to just a parallel path, to echo our agency's "chaos theory" approach.
A frosted, transparent glass wall serves as an inspiration hub for employees to write on and post work in progress for the team to review, while providing a physical barrier as needed for our account and creative teams, often working on different projects at the same time. Adjacent to the glass wall is a living room style gathering area that can be used for team brainstorms as well as a client entertaining area.
With the exception of two closed-door office spaces for human resources and finance, the remaining office space is designed on an open floor plan with electronic ergonomic standing desks complete with movable compartments that serve as both storage and seating solutions. Our clients Thermador and Western Digital were also involved and incorporated in the design. Thermador provided us with a fully functional luxury kitchen suite complete with their new home connect compatible appliances including a refrigerator, coffee maker, under counter wine column and Bosch ADA-approved dishwasher. Western Digital external hard drives are incorporated in all of our creative stations throughout the office.
At the heart of both of our offices is our creative culture—designed and expressed just a little differently to reflect each city's culture, in addition to our agency's values. For example, our "Spirit of One" approach is a taskforce-like approach we take to yield the highest level strategic and creative outputs; our work is displayed in progress on the walls—not just in electronic documents. If you look closely, you can even see this value literally etched into the walls of our office.