On any given Friday night in Los Angeles, you're likely to find a group gathered around an unusual indoor pool, enjoying a few cocktails. Two giant, curvilinear blocks seem to hover above the vast sheet of water; a cylindrical hole beneath the surface creates a trickle that echoes throughout the 5,600-square-foot postwar warehouse. But this isn't some next-generation Viper Room—it's the hyperstyled office of film-editing company Jigsaw Editorial. After meeting with architectural designer Lawrence Scarpa, Jigsaw owner Jon Hopp settled on water—as much of it as possible—as the central design element for the space. And for $504,000, he got his own liquid landscape. (He calls it the "world's largest dog bowl," an admission of his own lax policy on employees' canines.)
At Jigsaw's old offices, editors were forced to use blackout blinds to shield their screens from the sun. Here, the editing and production happen inside those massive blocks; light sifts in through double-glazed panels, one filled with acrylic beads, the other with ping-pong balls. The cubes' exterior lead walls will oxidize over time to iridescence. "Having a nice environment to work in makes you more relaxed, and it makes you more at ease with the process," says Hopp. "You want to have a little bit of an escape." Indeed, Jigsaw's space is full of escapist moments: There's a velvety couch downstairs and a Murphy bed upstairs, both ideal for clients coming in from the L.A. dust bowl. There are tea lights and flowers; a cement island that overflows with branches of cherry blossoms one day, birds-of-paradise the next; brushed-metal-and-wood desks; a high ceiling criss-crossed with Douglas fir bow trusses; even Hopp's green-and-white Lambretta scooter, parked in a corner. The hum of computer gear, meanwhile, has been consigned to the back so people can concentrate on their work at the Avid machines.
"Compared to cubicles and fluorescent lights, this is the best possible office," says producer Kirsten Thon. She points out that the old warehouse doors actually roll up to let in the outside world. And a good thing, too. Word of Jigsaw's office, and its parties, is out. These days, even the neighbors have started showing up.
- Light Boxes
Design firm Pugh + Scarpa came up with a ping-pong-ball wall to fill Jigsaw's production booth with diffused natural light.
- The Dog Bowl
A totally tubular fountain circulates water and creates a soothing sonic backdrop. Jigsaw also makes sure there are plenty of soft places for tired clients to land.
- Wave Hello
This swoop in the reception area is linoleum, literally an extension of the floor. The walnut desk is suspended by the steel pipe at rear.
- Mixed Use
Backlit, the editing and production bays serve as two-dimensional chandeliers to brighten up the work space. An in-house kitchen means the beer is always cold.
A version of this article appeared in the June 2006 issue of Fast Company magazine.