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Where the Stars Come Out: David Howell Teams with RAC Design Build to Bring Framestore to LA

  • PROJECT NAME Framestore
  • LOCATION Los Angeles
  • FIRM DHD Architecture & Design; RAC Design Build
  • SQ. FT. 12,000 SQF

Pictures, the moving kind, are what Framestore is all about. From headquarters in London, the studio has provided animation, visual effects, and postproduction for such blockbusters as the Harry Potter franchise. David Howell designed the New York satellite a decade ago. Now, in the interiors version of a sequel, his firm, DHD Architecture & Design, has collaborated on a Los Angeles location.


Before Framestore entered the picture, real-estate developer Industry Partners had already hired RAC Design Build for tenant-improvement work on the building, a 1938 tilt-up warehouse with a tower addition. “We started with doors for the main entry, glazing and cladding for the tower, and the conference areas,” RAC’s Rick A. Cortez says. When Framestore signed on for the 12,000 square feet and brought Howell along, Cortez continued as a partner.


“We carried over elements from the other Framestores,” Howell begins. Those include a faceted enclosure for the restrooms, subway straps sprinkled about, bold stripes, and sunny yellow accents. New to the color palette, a teal feature wall references ’70’s uniforms from Air New Zealand. (He’s a Kiwi.)


“The space allowed for a diversity of zones,” Howell continues. “To cater to the big-name directors, we broke it up into smaller rooms with a nonlinear plan.” So when, say, Avatar’s James Cameron comes by, he could bypass reception and go right to the client lounge, where—from the comfort of a vintage airplane seat—he might just be impressed and amused enough to seal the deal.


Edit bays and production offices surround the kitchen and the sunken lounge for the 50 employees. It’s in looking up from the lounge that you fully appreciate the drama of the two-story tower directly overhead. That’s because Howell and Cortez eschewed solid flooring in favor of catwalk-style steel.


The tower houses a break-out area on the lower level and a conference room on the upper level. Above that, the roof terrace offers a perfect view stretching all the way to the Hollywood sign. No computer-generated imagery required.

 

Project Team

Kaplan Gehring McCarroll Architectural Lighting: Lighting Consultant. John Labib & Associates: Structural Engineer. Curesh Engineering: MEP. European Elegance Woodwork: Woodwork. City Constructors: General Contractor.