beats by dre headquarters by bestor architecture in culver city, california
all photos by jasper sanidad courtesy of bestor architecture
to accommodate beats by dre’s innovative research, design, and development center, los angeles-based bestor architecture collaborated with loescher + meachem architects for the design and adaptive reuse of an existing three-building campus. the 105,000 sf. complex based in culver city, california connects and integrates these elements together, providing employees more than just a traditional office space. within the newly built headquarters belongs building A, the ‘mothership’ and home to sales, marketing, finance, and administration – the logistics heart of the company. building B is connected to A and is the social hub and home to the mixing studio, café, gym, and swing space. building C houses the product development and engineering as well as a cutting edge, highly technical acoustical testing lab.
designboom spoke to architect barbara bestor about the project…
designboom: please could you tell us how you came to work on the project?
barbara bestor: we started working with beats in 2011 when there was just 16 people at the company – we designed a space for them that ultimately was never built, that was designed for about 75 employees, back then they thought that was the maximum number of people they’d grow to. over the last few years we’ve worked on several designs to house the ever growing business and this gave us the chance to really get to know the company and its diverse employees. when the site of the current HQ finally became available, in may 2013, we were abel to make use of that close relationship and design and build the whole HQ complex in under a year.
the new HQ accommodates working environments for three CEOs, four executives, and 650 employees.
DB: what was the design brief given to you by beats?
BB: beats president luke wood wanted to make sure it was ‘the best place to work in LA’, for him that meant that it was cool and cutting edge but also comfortable and with a humanist environment for the people who work and visit there.
jimmy Iovine, beats co-founder did not like the sort of reclaimed wood and industrial steel aesthetic that is currently very popular in culver city’s creative / media offices these days – we showed him some examples and he just said ‘this is NOT beats!’ so we had to figure out on our own what WAS beats! of course there were workplace issues to program and a general consensus on using an open workspace approach; open desks where possible and very few private offices.
cafe area / horizontal striped environmental graphics.
DB: were there any specific characteristics about the site that informed your approach?
BB: when we were asked to work on the project the two warehouses had already begun being remodeling by the previous owner so we had to jump on a moving train, so to speak. we immediately installed the big skylights and courtyard cuts that are the primary strategic design features – we wanted to design a space that would allow for the maximum amount of natural light and have an open feel.
DB: what other goals did you set yourself early on?
BB: this is the biggest project we have completed thus far and with such a great client we wanted to really test ourselves and see if the design approach that we use in smaller projects could scale up, ultimately I think it did. many hallmarks of our practice are reflected in this building; collaborations with artists (iwan baan for the murals), adding graphic and environmental design to the architectural scope, championing young designers (the furniture and lighting) and reinterpreting modernism for our generation. daniel rabin, the project designer and myself have spent a great deal of time over the last two years working almost exclusively with beats and we got to squeeze a lot of our ideas into this space, which was very satisfying.
wood cladding is extensively used throughout the campus.
DB: what were some of the biggest challenges you had to overcome along the way?
BB: over the ten months that we worked on the project beats kept on growing! so entire programming documents would be redundant within months of their completion. we ultimately had to just imagine the maximum number of people that might work in the building one day and design with that in mind.
beats music and beats electronics departments share the same culver city campus.
DB: looking at the finished project what aspects are you most happy with?
BB: the mellow blue courtyard in the operations area, the two-toned coffee shop in the arcade, our lovely brass stairway tucked behind the grand wooden stairs. mostly I just love seeing people sitting all over the space having different kinds of informal meetings or quiet work time in the various alternative environments we built.
the design focus was to have as few private spaces as possible
the main building houses the reception areas, conference rooms, offices, and communal working spaces
aerial images depict the founder’s neighborhoods: silver lake, holmby hills and hollywood hills
open plan whiteboard area so ideas can be shared with all employees
the renovation was completed before apple acquired beats for $ 3 billion USD
environmental graphics are used throughout the space
client: beats by dre
project: headquarters / offices for 650 employees
location: culver city, california, USA
size: 105,000 square feet
timeframe: 10 months
architect: bestor architecture (principal architect: barbara bestor, project designer: daniel rabin)
consultant/technical architect: loescher + meachem architects (project manager: ben loescher)
contractor: HBC (howard building corporation)