For the last few years, many conversations about Downtown LA have turned to Soho Warehouse in the Arts District. The seven-story, 102-year-old building on S Santa Fe Ave was to be converted into an art-focused version of the private members club—with a 50-foot rooftop pool, restaurants, bars, lounges, garden, gym and 48 guests rooms. Last weekend, the property hosted its opening parties and it became evident that DTLA’s creative culture has remained front and center.
Designed by Soho House & Co’s in-house team, the property features a warm California palette, contrasting patterns and glorious textures. Each floor boasts custom furniture, dramatic lighting fixtures, and—most importantly—works by 100+ artists, most of whom are LA-based.
Just beyond the valet, guests will walk past a new Shepard Fairey mural beside one of the building’s original loading docks, which leads to the discreet lobby entrance.
Artworks by Sisson line the wall behind the curved front desk, which is covered in stunning teal leather. A short walk down a hallway past a Christina Quarles piece, a door opens into a gym that feels simultaneously cavernous and glamorous.
The split-level Soho Active gym on the ground level offers free weights, cardio equipment, Olympic rings, ropes, as well as an open exercise space. Italian glass chandeliers hang over Technogym machines, making the gym feel like an elegant ’70s nightclub. Boxing bags and additional cardio equipment fill the upper mezzanine.
When the brand acquired the building five years ago, one of the first tasks was to design and build out the seventh story in order to accommodate the pool and restaurant. With panoramic views facing west across the downtown skyline, the Roof Garden remains open from breakfast to late-night—whether you’re looking for pancakes or a midnight snack and cocktails. In a practical and playful move, vintage-style coolers dot the perimeter of the pool and outdoor lounge areas for refreshments.
One level down from the pool, the elevator opens on the sixth floor to a 30-foot mosaic bar. To the left, a wrap-around banquet takes center stage between cozy seating and the House Kitchen. More of the building’s original graffiti remains within the vast sitting room area. Beyond glass doors, a metallic glazed fireplace anchors the members’ drawing room. The mostly custom-made furniture blends Art Deco with opulent, playful ’70s designs.
This fusion of eras creates a joyful mash-up that the design team was happy to play with. US Design Director Candace Campos tells us that “The windows on the club floor are all different heights and widths, but we found them playful and decided to design art and lighting around these distinct window shapes.” While on the sixth floor, the sloped ceiling inspired the team to hang oversized lighting fixtures as a clever solution to the design challenge.
“While Soho Warehouse embodies our signature ‘home away from home’ aesthetic, the design draws inspiration from the local Downtown LA area and the building’s own rich history,” says Campos. “It was important to us to not only keep, but also celebrate, original design elements. So all exposed brick walls—including graffiti tagged before we moved in—remain untouched. We kept the graffiti not only because we love it visually, but also because it nods to the street art culture of the neighborhood.”
This respect is evident throughout the building—from the lobby to the rooftop. With pieces selected by Kate Bryan (Global Head of Collections for Soho House & Co), the property is home to countless bold and compelling artworks. Genevieve Gaignard’s wallpaper installation in the stairwell between the sixth and seventh floors explores race, identity and gender with images of vintage hairstyles layered with bird stickers and collaged circles of lace.
Also represented in the collection, Paul Davies contributed a striking 18-foot-long acrylic on canvas work in the bar area near the pool, and Blanda created a mural for the rooftop. A charming custom textile print by artist and illustrator Ethan Lipsitz covers the lounge chairs around the pool and on the observation deck.
Of course, many of the local artists whose work was acquired for the Warehouse collection attended the opening events. “Soho House’s efforts of connecting with the true creative culture of DTLA has been very transparent,” says artist Lisa Solberg who has studio space nearby on Los Angeles St. “Kate Bryan and all of her associates are concise and treat the artist very well,” she continues. “In my mind they have accomplished what they sought out to do: create something beautiful and new utilizing the local flavor as the backbone.”
Images courtesy of Soho House