The year 2018 saw the end of many things. TV shows like New Girl and The Americans. Trade agreements. The assumption of online privacy — well, maybe that happened a little before 2018.
It might also be said that 2018 saw the end of the boring office space. At least in LA — in startupland.
We were lucky enough to get the invite to see inside a number of the city’s hottest offices this year, so you can take us at our word when we say that LA companies are getting braver, more creative and further than ever from the stodgy cubicles of our corporate past. Without further ado, here are the five sleekest office spaces we covered in 2018.
Upon stepping off the elevator into the BCG Digital Ventures office, it would be easy to think that one has gotten into the wrong elevator and ended up in the lobby of an ultra high-end European hotel, one where James Bond is sipping a martini in the lobby bar.
But you haven’t. You’re at BCGDV, a corporate investment and venture development firm that helps build and launch startups. The company — an arm of Boston Consulting Group — courts and develops tech talent, connecting promising new businesses with some of the world’s largest companies. And they do it in one of the sleekest, most angular, starship-like offices we’ve ever seen.
Onsite amenities include barista service, hundreds of sensors and digital cork boards for next-level business presentations, a 100-plus person event space and vintage arcade games.
Location: 1240 Rosecrans Ave., #500, Manhattan Beach
Square footage: 54,000 square feet
How to describe Grindr’s office aesthetic? It’s grown-up, airy, you might even say, sartorial. The office is fit with slate floors, suit-grey couches and floor to ceiling views of West Hollywood and the Hollywood Hills. How the employees don’t choose to sink into one of those couches, flip open a magazine (perhaps one of Grindr’s in-house ones) and spend the day zenning out, we don’t know. Instead, employees are busy working on one of the highest-grossing apps in the history of the iOS App Store, and launching community outreach initiatives like Grindr for Equality, a program designed to keep members of the LGBTQ community healthy, happy and aware of relevant current events.
Onsite amenities include daily catered lunch, happy hours, free parking, LinkedIn Learning and a dog-friendly office space. Woof.
Address: 8687 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, Calif. 90069
Square footage: 25,780 square feet
The office at Swell Investing is so California you can practically taste the saltwater in the air — though (spoiler) you might actually be tasting sea salt, considering the office is less than a mile from the Santa Monica strand. The walls of the investment firm’s office are covered in 2D ocean murals, with a whale or two bursting out from beneath the surf. Add a beach cruiser, a few surfboards, mid-century modern furniture and a succulent studded roof, and you’ve got the catalogue definition of the SoCal aesthetic.
It’s not what you might expect from an impact investing platform, one that allows users to invest in publicly traded companies that focus on sustainability and other socially-conscious causes. But that’s Swell for you.
The space is also easily transformable. According to Swell’s operations manager Christian Boullon, “The office can switch very quickly to ‘event-mode’ and host all kinds of events ranging from fireside chats to movie screenings and hack-nights.”
Address: 301 Arizona Ave suite # 400, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Square footage: 5,300 square feet
It might be a misnomer to include Hutch in a list of LA’s “sleekest” office spaces. The Hutch office is not the textbook definition of sleek. Cozy, warm and tasteful, the space is more like a house with long rows of computer tables than it is an office with a few homey touches. And that makes sense: Hutch is an interior design app that helps users build their ideal room using a real-time 3D visualizer. The company used their own tool to test layouts and decor for the office — and to buy all of the final pieces. The result is one of the best decorated offices in the city, one that would give any stylish LA home a serious run for its money.
Hutch’s Culver City office includes a small kitchen with doors opening out to a porch, conference rooms styled after different parts of Los Angeles, a gallery wall and special touches from local artists.
Address: 8948 Ellis Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90034
Square footage: 3,000 square feet
Appetize’s Playa Vista HQ pays homage to the two industries the company works most closely with: sports and entertainment. The office boasts artificial turf lawns and brightly colored bean bags, as well as what can only be described as an uplit, rockstar themed speakeasy. Somewhat mysteriously, the two themes work well in tandem, bumping off one another to create a space that’s both friendly and deluxe. As a company, Appetize creates software for point-of-sale terminals, self-service kiosks, mobile ordering and other venue-specific transactions.
The company’s most notable office feature is the hidden speakeasy bar. To access the room, you have to find the secret door covered by giant letters spelling out ‘Appetize.’ Inside, the bar is fully stocked and decorated with live-action concert photos taken by the company’s CEO.
Address: Suite 700, 6601 Center Dr W, Los Angeles, CA 90045
Square footage: 17,000 square feet