Interior Architecture Committee Tour: Kennedy Wilson, Beverly Hills
December 8, 6:00-8:30PM
Beverly Hills

Tour of KENNEDY-WILSON, Beverly Hills

Thursday, December 8. 6-8:30pm

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Kennedy Wilson is a distinguished international real estate investment services and fund management firm. After several years in a densely populated high rise, they acquired the former William Morris Agency building in Beverly Hills for their new global headquarters.
The client wanted a timeless, classic yet modern office. Unfortunately, the existing structure was a mid-1980’s behemoth – an inwardly focused “square donut,” wrapped in black glass to obstruct any interior views. Because Kennedy-Wilson is now an integral part of the Beverly Hills community, their chief design objective was to forge a physical relationship between the interior of the building and the street, allowing their team to feel more connected to the public, and vice versa. The client wanted passersby to understand Kennedy-Wilson the firm, and their relevance to the city. To accomplish this, we first re-skinned the building exterior with floor-to-ceiling glass. Backlit, billboard-sized wall graphics featuring the client’s most impressive properties were integrated into the lobby design, now visible to the street. The effect produces a simulated “retail experience” for anyone passing by – quite dramatic, especially at night.
The first floor presented a huge opportunity to fashion a dynamic presentation/entertainment space. The team shifted the orientation of the front entryway, placing it on a diagonal to expose the interior courtyard to visitors entering the building. Folding glass walls that open the lobby and boardroom to the courtyard were installed, establishing an indoor-outdoor event space. A coffee bar is adjacent to the street at the southwest corner, also wrapped in glass, so that employees can enjoy a contiguous relationship to the outside as if they were sitting in a local, retail coffee shop.
The balance of the building centers on a grand staircase – open and transparent, flooding the entire office with natural light. The stair features stainless steel cladding and glass treads, abutting a split-faced stone wall; each element echoing the strength and stability of the organization. Wolcott incorporated a water element at the base of the stair with semi submerged blocks of basalt that represent the buildings of the Beverly Hills "golden triangle," with both Kennedy-Wilson buildings highlighted in white marble. To further enhance the stair element, we commissioned noted artist Jacob Hashimoto to create one of his iconic “kite” sculptures; it floats through the staircase, depicting the West Coast environment in vivid color. The client has remarked that the stair has become a popular place for impromptu interoffice conversations.
Located in ‘image conscious’ Beverly Hills, what is seen is all important, hence the exterior design undergoes rigorous review. In order to provide an expeditious schedule, the interior construction began before the exterior was secure, requiring the steel to be fabricated off-site and craned in at the opportune time. The project was a success, due in large part to the coordinated scheduling efforts of the design/ construction team. 

Program sponsored by Tangram & PBS Engineers

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