Accounting offices aren’t supposed to be this zen, are they? But the newly designed headquarters of Freemark Financial, located in the east Beverly Hills nexus where Wilshire Boulevard, San Vicente and La Cienega collide, is rendered with the kind of elegant restraint that the Japanese apply to brush paintings and rock gardens.
In the lobby, stacks of books on art and architecture are perfectly flush with the edges of a glass and sheet-metal side table; a cleanly lit display of iconic chair miniatures designed by the likes of Frank Gehry, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Charles and Ray Eames, along with the odd vintage Rolleiflex camera, are meticulously spaced to give each item maximum impact; an L-shaped Tuxedo Sofa from the Herman Miller showroom gives visitors a gallery-like corner to collect their thoughts; and potted orchids provide the occasional splash of organic color.
“I signed a client and she said, ‘By the way, I know your couch from Instagram; a friend of mine is an actress and she posted it,” recalls Freemark’s Andrew Meyer.
Meyer and his CPA partners Steves Rodriguez and Anthony Peyrot specialize in entertainment business management and advisory services for clients ranging from actors to filmmakers to producers on such shows as “True Blood,” “Girls,” “Breaking Bad” and “Orange Is the New Black,” as well as film franchises including “Star Wars” and “The Fast and the Furious.”
Their 11,500-foot office space, situated on the penthouse floor of 8383 Wilshire Blvd., was recently stripped down to the concrete pillars and given an extreme makeover by architects Shubin + Donaldson, known for designs that combine function with efficiency. For example, the custom-made upholstered bench that lines the outer rim of the conference room raises the eye line, obstructing a view of the less-than-attractive roofs beyond. The bench, made by Cisco Brothers, is of a gold-and-green fabric that brings to mind a classic sharkskin suit, but more luxurious to the touch.
The conference table itself is fashioned from walnut, the same material as the hardwood floor beneath, surrounded by 12 aluminum-and-black leather Eames chairs from Vitra, where those miniatures were procured. Floating glass doors of such a scale that they had to be craned into the building separate the meeting room from the lobby, with drop-down panel shades providing both privacy and a shield from the considerable natural light that floods the building.
Metal mesh doors discreetly conceal an adjacent wine bar that stocks 160 bottles. Although this oenological feature is downplayed by the partners, the naming of their firm was at least partly inspired by the Freemark Abbey Winery in Napa.
The kitchen and lunchroom are inviting enough so that inhouse breaks don’t feel confining. The former is accented by a countertop of Caesarstone, with cream-and-taupe tiles that form triangular patterns; and actual dishware as opposed to paper and plastic. A hand-blown Jug Lamp provides just the right punctuation mark. A German-made WMF 1400 espresso maker fit for a barista serves up an appealing alternative to the nearby Coffee Bean.
“We did an analysis of how much it would cost for half our staff to drink half as much coffee as I do from pods, vs. buying beans in bulk,” Meyer explains . “The differential was about two years, three months to pay off the machine.”
The design is open flow, with walls removed or glass partitions affording a sort of congenial transparency. Fifteen-foot-high ceilings and exposed concrete beams and ducts give the place an airy, post-modern industrial vibe. The Walter Knoll desk in Meyer’s office, utterly free of clutter, provides further testament to the Spartan aesthetic.
The original art that adorns the walls is tasteful if inconspicuous, including Slim Aarons’ posh aerial images of the French and Italian Rivieras in the ’60s; a clutch of photographs from Jesse Alexander, known for capturing the Monaco Grand Prix; and a classic Steve McCurry print (“Taj and Train”) cropped vertically to adhere to its geometric confines.
In Peyrot’s office, a couple of signed lithos by Joan Miro and Banksy command attention. And an earth-toned cityscape behind reception, by Victor Hugo Zayas, is one of the few nods to pre-modernism.
It’s all very curatorially subdued so as not to distract from the business at hand. But if you’re an agent, manager or entertainment attorney invited to one of Freemark’s mixers, this is one wine-and-cheese opportunity you’d be foolish to ignore.