Hello, Expo: Rios Clementi Hale Studios’ New Home in Leimert Park
The new 30,000 square foot bow truss building is the size of a football field, with no walls except the ones we built to carve out a host of new meeting rooms that can accommodate everything from a private phone call to a conference with an entire construction team. But it does more than just give us twice the space for our ever-expanding family of employees. The space gives us room to spread our wings and think bigger than we could in our last home; it fuels our desire to explore new design methods and harness new technologies as we build the future.
The move also introduces us to one of the most kinetic parts of Los Angeles, thanks to the 2016 introduction of Metro’s Expo line. We’re also excited about our new neighborhood and its relationship to Metro; the Expo stops just a block away from our new digs, and runs alongside our building, providing the urban sounds of transit as the melodic soundtrack of our days. Our barn doors allow us to look out. We’re growing along with LA; many staff members bike to work and we have annual metro cards that work on most area transit services.
Most people refer to the area as Leimert Park, historically the center of L.A.’s African-American community. But we’re at the very top corner of the district, adjacent to Baldwin Hills to the west and Jefferson Park to the north. Single-family houses sit across the street from us to the south. The north side of the block is lined with warehouses and other industrial spaces where some of our manufacturing partners have already set up their shops.
Most recently, 3101 Exposition Place was a printing and direct mail facility before it became our 6th office location in Los Angeles (the most recent being on Larchmont with previous homes on Melrose, Third, Wilshire, and a home studio).
In the design of 3101 Exposition Place, we deliberately used a “light touch” during to allow the old warehouse character and the genuine feeling of the neighborhood’s industrial history to remain a primary feature. The warehouse look is also functional; we use the loading dock nearly every day for everything from food trucks to ensuring our notNeutral warehouse has full pick-pack-ship function.
The increase in space allows us to build on, expand, and increase our diverse design capabilities. With space for VR experiences, and dedicated maker spaces for sewing, 3D printing and model fabrication, there’s a place for everything. The expanded creative studio has allowed us to introduce Guillermo, a new project for our office and our first foray into fashion. A modern take on the traditional guayabera (GWAY-UH-BAR-UH) shirt, our version still features hidden pockets for modern basics and unique stitched patterns and pleats.
It’s just the beginning. Enjoy the virtual tour. And if you are in the neighborhood, stop by, say “hi,” and explore all that the area has to offer.
Todd Swanson is a designer at Rios Clementi Hale Studios. He has a passion for storytelling through both physical and digital mediums and believes good design produces good economics.
Also posted on Assembly at rchstudios.com