To present a novel view, imply power or add a sexy, sparkly backdrop, Los Angeles-based productions are moving up — to a new generation of built-out, urbane rooftop locations that fill the screen with dazzling and extraordinary production value.
From downtown Los Angeles’ 21st-floor, indoor/outdoor Elevate Lounge to a rooftop terrace atop the Lofts @ Hollywood & Vine to the Huntley Hotel’s 18th-floor penthouse restaurant in Santa Monica, new topflight spaces for socializing equal helicopter shotlike vistas for productions.
“We love the opportunity to showcase L.A.,” explains “Entourage’s” line producer-production manager Wayne Carmona. The skein has often utilized view-rich locations for dramatic purposes. “Everything we do is story-driven; the nature of our show is very aspirational, and we like to show the best and most interesting aspects of Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Hollywood and surroundings.”
Per Carmona, nothing makes a power statement like a rooftop view that underscores the scope of the city.
However, rooftop locations create specific, sometimes pricey, logistical challenges, and in some instances, expanded liability issues. Increasing setup time, all crew, cast and equipment must be brought up via elevator, and additional space must be found for staging. According to Carmona, “Entourage” rented half of the top floor of the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel in order to shoot in the hotel’s circular penthouse suite.
Angling for production coin, the Sofitel L.A. recently hosted a reception for local production managers to showcase the property’s versatile features, including a raw, unbuilt-out, glass-walled rooftop penthouse. “The skyline and cityline is priceless; it communicates instantly,” explains Jimmy Legg, the Sofitel’s director of sales and marketing. Legg argues the popularity of rooftop spots is not just limited to locations. “Everybody wants a view, everybody wants to be outside. Rooftop design is in demand.”
Los Angeles’ newest rooftop spots:
- Hollywood: Residences at the Lofts @ Hollywood and Vine and Kor’s Broadway Hollywood are capped by decks for socializing under signature neon signs at Hollywood’s most famous corner.
- Downtown: Look for pools and penthouses at the Roosevelt, an office building-turned-upscale residential lofts (not to be confused with the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood); and a gracious, vintage clock tower at the Eastern Columbia building. Over on Wilshire, the suite housing Takami Sushi, Robata Bar and Elevate Lounge, designed by Tag Front, features wraparound balcony, oversized glass doors and architectural detailing such as Italian glass tile and kimono silk- tufted walls.
- Beverly Hills: Soon to be completed atop the former Beverly Pavilion will be a bilevel playground of pool, private cabanas and glass-walled gym at the Thompson Beverly Hills. A striking Canary Island palm will center the hotel’s rooftop lounge ABH (Above Beverly Hills).
- Santa Monica: The Thomas Schoos-designed Penthouse restaurant is a favored backdrop for celeb interviews; the glittery, all-white interior has views from downtown to Malibu. In spring, the Bar Shangri-la will open on the top floor of the art deco-styled Shangri-la Hotel, now in the midst of a $25 million renovation.