Disguise LA is a creative workspace outpost for the Los Angeles offices of a London- based video and performance art technology company. Located on the ground floor of an industrial warehouse in the Arts District of downtown, the workspace was designed to incorporate two uses.
The unique technology of Disguise involves a real-time 3D stage simulator. This hybrid set would use an innovative timeline-based sequencer, a video playback engine, and a content mapper, all integrated into one platform to enable use in live events such as concerts, plays, and performances. Directors and performers could plan, mockup, and execute events in a physical environment using real-time 3d mapping.
In addition, the clients wanted the space to be more than a showcase. Since the company strives to be a platform for both creatives and technologists to create and deliver spectacular live visual experiences, they desired a flexible workspace that could help both parties collaborate with or even educate each other in a casual social setting.
As designers, we intuitively understood the needs of diverse disciplines such as artists, technologists, and producers to collaborate within a casual and effective space without resorting to separated technical soundstage areas with lifeless ancillary uses, as is typical similar spaces. Our spatial planning, therefore, sought to emulate a 3D visual artist’s paradise that could yet feel like an extension of a living room.
The concept sought to incorporate a custom-built real-time mapping stage with operable garage doors to help obscure or integrate them depending on privacy needs. Surrounding areas worked as flexible open spaces, including an acoustically separate conference room. A fundamentally useful element was a twenty-foot-long custom-designed steel countertop that could encourage large social events like training, collaboration, and entertainment to transform the space. Therefore custom assemblages in this relatively compact space were key to enabling flexible usage.
The final space is an active real-time performance collaboration and visualization area that can double as a training space, workspace, or event space without moving any major elements or partitions. As with most creative video workspace projects, custom elements like the long-span countertop or stage screen were pre-built and assembled on-site to optimize construction time.
With this design, we also sought to preserve what we felt was important amid all this chance. The semi-industrial nature of the interior space and its character within the neighborhood, the bustling and quirky Arts District of downtown Los Angeles.