Designer Kerry Vasquez helps a London-based record create an Los Angeles office worthy of their California digs and cool clientele.
Photos by Sara Tramp
Musicians are synonymous with cool. The most compelling performers radiate style. Record labels aren’t quite as known for being chic.
The London-based label Ninja Tune wanted to do a bit better. Enter Homepolish designer, who was thrilled to help the company make sweet, sweet music for their Los Angeles’ office.
“I was over the moon to work with Ninja Tune,” Kerry says. “They represent some of my favorite artists like Bonobo, Kamasi Washington, Little Dragon, and ODESZA. They had a gorgeous space that they wanted to turn from college dorm room to hip, young creative office chic. They actually reached out to a friend of mine on Instagram who ended up recommending me for the project!”
Once the Insta-connection was made, Kerry got to work. The building itself was pretty groovy to start with, so it was all about layering in the next level of design.
“The architecture was already perfect—industrial loft, white walls, tall ceilings, and huge windows,” Kerry says. “I immediately wanted to add warmth and a feeling of laid-back sophistication.”
Kerry also wanted to differentiate the space from the company’s main HQ in London, considering the location’s vastly different vibe.
“London is a great town, but it’s cold and grey,” Kerry says. “LA is full of color! Their UK offices are very minimal and Scandinavian-inspired. I immediately wanted to infuse some color to reflect the neon sunsets taking place everyday outside their windows. So the challenge was how to keep things minimal, modern, and hip while doing so”
For Kerry that meant channelling some international inspiration.
“My initial inspiration was La Muralla Roja in Spain,” Kerry says. “It’s super modern, but uses bold colors to reflect the Mediterranean sky and sea, bringing the outside in.”
To avoid the hassle of painting the entire space, Kerry inject color selectively by painting key architectural features in rich, sunset hues. Then, beyond reflecting the environment, Kerry wanted the space to reflect its purpose, without feeling cheesy.
“I definitely wanted every person who entered the office to understand that this is a record label, but I didn’t want it to slap you across the face as soon as you walked in,” Kerry says.
Display shelves allow the label to rotate which artists they showcase, while two-large scale prints of the artists Bonobo’s album covers fit the sunset hue theme.
“The rugs were another fun subtle nod to music, where the design looks a bit like abstracted piano keys,” Kerry says. “ Even the side table in the lobby is called the ‘bongo’ side table! I know, I’m a nerd.”
Of course the most important part of the process was making sure Kerry was in the groove with the label’s roster.
“I actually made it a point to listen to a bunch of Ninja Tune’s artists while I was designing,” Kerry says. “I thought it would subconsciously influence the design in a holistic way. I listened to some old favorites like ODESZA and Little Dragon but also a bunch of artists I had never heard of. I ended up falling in love with the music of Nabihah Iqbal! Everyone should check her out, she’s so good!”
Besides the blissful playlist, Kerry had an apropos sign that the design was in tune.
“As we were finishing painting the architectural features this crazy neon sunset started to take place outside and all the colors we had just painted were being reflected outside in,” Kerry said. “It felt like a giant high five from the universe.”
See more pics of the space in the gallery, or, if you’re ready for a design worth singing about, sign up for Homepolish today.