Arts Club, West Hollywood speaks to LA’s flavor & originality: Gensler’s Hogan Chun [Video]

by | Jun 25, 2019 | Design

The project, located on Sunset Boulevard, appears as a bold, volumetric gesture which stands apart from the other contemporary schemes in this area

Hogan Chun, finalist in the Creative Spark design competition at TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR Los Angeles, shares why the local community embraced the Arts Club in West Hollywood.

Gensler’s contribution to Sunset Boulevard’s streetscape is certainly bold, and aims to integrate the community into its volume, as designer Hogan Chun explained. We take a look inside the ambitious design for the Arts Club, one of the Creative Spark finalists at TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR Los Angeles.

A bold gesture on Sunset Boulevard

Hogan Chun, design director and senior associate at Gensler, the design firm behind the ambitious proposals for the Arts Club, West Hollywood, was in attendance at the recent TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR event in Los Angeles, presenting the firm’s vision for this iconic project. Pitched as the US counterpart to the historic Arts Club in London, the project is located on Sunset Boulevard, and appears as a bold, volumetric gesture which stands apart from the other contemporary schemes in this area.

Chun says that compared to the typical “extruded boxes” that proliferate in the area’s architecture, the Arts Club’s canted massing offers something different, and this speaks to the idiosyncratic local flavour of Los Angeles.

The Arts Club and an engaged community

Chun says that although some of the residents were sensitive about what the project would mean for the neighbourhood, ultimately the result would be a really positive one. “I think the fact that this was really an art-focused, literature, anything related to the arts, sciences, music, dance; everybody was really behind what the essence of the project was.”

Although there is a heavily private element to the project, considering it is a private members’ club, there is also a public aspect to it, in the form of the ground level community plaza and a flexible visual arts and performance space. The upper levels are comprised of outdoor terraces that interact visually with the street. The entire building generates a mix of uses and functions, so that it activates the street and allows the public to become engaged with the building. 

In an exclusive interview with TOPHOTELNEWS, Hogan speaks about the biggest challenges of the project, why the local community embraced the building, and his advice to fellow architects and designers on entering Creative Spark and TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR.

Biggest challenges of the project

Hogan: Some of the challenges, and there’s a lot of sensitivity around this, specially with local neighbors, but I think the fact that this was really an art-focused, literature, anything related to the arts, sciences, music, dance, as we saw in the presentation, everybody was really behind what the essence of the project was and also the fact that there was that community space that was a flex, visual arts, performance space that I showed everyone, that was the part that I think the community really appreciated because most of the existing vernacular there, not only in the massing, as I explained in the architecture, is really retail and F&B, but this is retail, F&B, as well as community space.

There is a big private component to the member’s only club, but on the ground level, in terms of the way it activates the street and the vibrancy and energy on Sunset, I think we were able to accomplish that and the neighbors understood that.

Personal highlights & recipe for design success

Hogan: I think L.A. has a lot of flavor. We can also say, just judging from Hollywood and the fact that it’s on Sunset Boulevard, there’s a lot of personal character and flavor and originality and I think the architecture speaks to that without even much explanation. A lot of people that I was speaking to today after my presentation talked about how the building massing itself canted back and that was already something different because right now is a lot of extruded boxes over there, even with the new development, and I think, just with the massing alone was a big gesture that set the project apart from all the other ones.

Thoughts on TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR

Hogan: I work with designers, mostly, during the day, day to day, but today was beyond just designers. It was developers; it was consultants. There were people in totally different aspects of the hospitality industry that I really, really enjoyed the different variety of perspectives. And I think the combination of presentations, which were really fun and I think everybody did a great job presenting, as well as the informative aspect, and also moments of the networking really helped out. I thought the cadence of the whole program was really successful. I wasn’t bored at all, I really enjoyed it. It was really fantastic.

Advice on entering Creative Spark

Hogan: Clearly my focus, I was thinking about what to present and what the panel discussion was going to be like and what the questions were going to be. I think all those moments really helped to bring touchpoints to other discussions I had with the other tables that I was with because soon as I sat down, people gave me feedback about the project right away and that sparked a lot of discussion, so that was great.

What was interesting was people thinking, “Oh, I did not know this was a mini competition,” even though I think it was mentioned. That part I don’t think people were fully aware of because it was more of just a panel discussion and I think people still treat it that way. It’s fun to have a little thing at the end, but I think it was all really fun and informative. I think it’s good for all other designers to be able to get more exposure and engagement like this.

About H. Chun

Hogan serves as the hospitality leader of 6 offices within the South West region of Gensler’s 48 offices worldwide. He is most actively a design director of the hospitality studio of 60 designers in Los Angeles. Operating as an effective liaison between diverse personality types and working closely with multi-disciplinary teams, Hogan travels both domestically and internationally to collaborate with a multitude of design professionals and clients. His project experience in Asia, the Americas and the Middle East continues to shape his global perspective and culturally sensitive approach to design.

Creative Spark is a hotel design competition between three architects/interior designers, which is judged by delegates at TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR conferences. Shortlisted finalists present their innovative projects, and further discuss their work as part of a stimulating panel discussion.

For information on how to enter Creative Spark, get in touch with TOPHOTELPROJECTS Head of Global Events & Conferences Kayley van der Velde.

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