With locations on nearly every continent, there’s no hotter international membership club right now than the Soho House. Founded in 1995, the brand has now expanded to include other venue types including a chic coworking and collaborative space called Soho Works, which was founded in London. Open to both members and non-members, the Los Angeles location was designed by Harriet Liley who is the lead designer for both Soho Works and Soho House.
Part of the brand since 2018, the very talented interior designer has overseen the creation and completion of several Soho House and Soho Works projects in North America, from Austin to Nashville.
Soho Works currently has locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Los Angeles. The multi-level West Hollywood location opened in 2020 at the notable 9000 Sunset building, overlooking the Sunset Strip and Hollywood Hills.
This 18000 square foot space features open workspaces, private offices, conference rooms, and a gorgeously designed bar, featuring a daily breakfast spread for members as well as a full-service coffee and espresso station. With floor-to-ceiling windows and majestic views, it’s an ideal spot to arrange a meeting or just to be productive among peers, geared toward those working in creative industries.
There is also a full calendar of community events ideal for networking. Membership is offered month to month and provides access to all locations, which caters to the bi-coastal business traveler for ease and accessibility.
I recently spoke with Liley about designing this location, balancing interior design and productivity, as well as creating an aesthetic that represents the Soho brand as a whole in two very different venues.
Amanda Lauren: How does the Soho House brand differ from the Soho Works brand, both generally and in terms of aesthetics?
Harriet Liley: Soho Works was designed to create a comfortable workspace in response to members’ need for a workspace that combines Soho House’s design, service, and attention to detail.
Aesthetically, our design process for Works locations follows much the same process as our House locations. Obviously, we have a different set of requirements, such as communal kitchens and member offices, which our Houses do not have, but in terms of how we get to the final design of the space, it is very much the same idea.
We have different lighting levels, print rooms, and seating with a real focus on ergonomics, mixed in with lounge groups for more comfortable, casual work.
Our sites form a contrasting set of unique locations across eight global locations. They are always close or connected to a House so you can easily put your laptop down and head to the House to grab a drink.
Lauren: What was your overall vision for this project?
Liley: We wanted the Sunset location to be consistent with other Works spaces, so our members felt at home and knew instinctively how the space worked.
We included all the usual components of our Works spaces in London and New York but wanted to create a Californian aesthetic to connect to the new location. [So it would feel] fresh and approachable, comfortable, and connected. The colors and patterns we selected, along with the finishes and artwork, help create a perfect sister space for our West Hollywood club.
There is a science to the development of a layout and furniture selection dedicated to Works versus House, but our members in Los Angeles love it.
Lauren: One thing I noticed visiting the space were the industrial ceilings. Why did this element remain untouched?
Liley: We kept the ceilings exposed for a few reasons, but most importantly, to us, the aesthetic worked with the overall feel of this location.
Keeping the mechanical exposed helped provide a feel of a higher ceiling, a feeling of more space throughout, and we liked the industrial look, which followed the style of some of our first Works spaces in London.
We kept the ceiling light and fresh by spraying it out white. This also helped provide an interesting backdrop for our carefully selected lighting and a contrast to some of the richer fabric textures and tones in the upholstery below.
Lauren: Soho Works features some beautiful furniture pieces from Soho Home. Was that the only vendor you used?
Liley: We worked with a few different vendors for the furniture, including some great furniture makers in the United States, and layered this with a mix of locally sourced vintage furniture. We love how the custom pieces helped layer the overall furniture palette and provide some classic Soho Works shapes—enabling a consistency of comfort and style wherever you are in the world.
We designed [much of] the furniture in-house and then translated them across the Atlantic with our trusted US-based manufacturers. This helped to keep a consistency of style across coasts from the United Kingdom to the United States and helps our members feel comfortable and at home wherever they might be when they visit.
Lauren: How did you design to create a mood where members could maximize productivity?
Liley: Ergonomics, comfort, and lighting. Small pockets of quiet workspace mixed in with open social areas for networking. This encourages focused work but also allows for productive breaks too, which is essential to keep new, creative ideas flowing.
Lauren: What are some of the most unique features of the space? Particularly as an office environment…
Liley: Great views of Sunset Boulevard and the palm trees outside help give the space its own character and contrast from our other locations. We also have a beautiful, curved staircase at the center of the space, adding to the residential feel.
Lauren: How does color play a role in the overall design of Soho Works?
Liley: With this location in Los Angeles, we loved working with the surrounding colors of California to inspire the palette. We used lots of lighter pastel tones, offset with rich timber stains, to create contrast and connect with the mid-century history of Sunset Boulevard. The sunsets have some beautiful pink and orange tones you just don’t see anywhere else—we used this to inspire much of the palette throughout.
Lauren: How did you design the space so the Soho House brand wouldn’t get lost?
Liley: So much of this comes down to the comfort and the domestic feel of the space. We approach workspaces the same as we would a Soho House, but with an extra work-focused layer. In fact, lighting plays a huge part. We have a mix of focused task lighting layered with warmer low-level lighting and gorgeous vintage pendant lighting. This contrast helped create pockets of warmer, more relaxed work areas, adding to the residential feel that our Houses have and helping our Works spaces feel even more comfortable.
The conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.