If you want to make workspace for creatives and entrepreneurs, living rooms trump corporate every time.
That’s the logic behind The Shop at the Contemporary Art Center in New Orleans.
“We were envisioning a prototype space for high-end co-working, with amenities unlike any other – for an arts culture,” says Jill Traylor-Mayo, an interior designer with Eskew+Dumez+Ripple.
CAC moved into the first and second floors of the 1920s-era warehouse in the 1970s, with a Post Modern update in the mid-‘80s. The top two floors have been underutilized, with The Shop making the first renovation there in 40 years.
It covers 40,000-square-feet of workspace – 69 fully-furnished offices, seven conference rooms and 15,000-square-feet of art-filled common space, on two floors and a roof deck.
“We were looking to create a warm, inviting environment, with a residential feel – so there’s a layering of materials,” she says. “And we created a bunch of different kinds of spaces – there are booths and lounges and communal spaces for people who want to work together.”
A staircase ties all four floors together, the top two connected by dark wood that works with the original frame. “There were good bones to work with – heavy timber construction and a material selection we used further,” says Hussein Alayyan, an architect at the firm.
The common area is open to the community for rent, and to team up with CAC for events. A rooftop terrace is unique to downtown. All in all, The Shop offers the biggest co-working space in the area, where a housing boom is taking off.
“When you become a member of The Shop, you’re also a member of CAC – so you’re plugged into that scene on the first and second floors,” Alayyan says.
For co-workers, that’s big.
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