Kennedy Wilson is a distinguished international real estate investment services and fund management firm. Because Kennedy-Wilson is now an integral part of the Beverly Hills community, their chief design objective was to forge a physical relationship between the interior of the building and the street, allowing their team to feel more connected to the public, and vice versa. The client wanted passersby to understand Kennedy-Wilson the firm, and their relevance to the city.
AIA OC DESIGN, IES ILLUMINATION IN EXCELLENCE
Kennedy Wilson International
Beverly Hills, CA
After several years in a densely populated high rise, Kennedy Williams acquired the former William Morris Agency building in Beverly Hills for their new global headquarters. The client wanted a timeless, classic yet modern office; unfortunately, the existing structure was a mid-1980’s behemoth – an inwardly focused “square donut,” wrapped in black glass to obstruct any interior views. The challenge was finding a way to not only update the space but do so in a way that seamlessly integrated with their community.
The first floor presented a huge opportunity to fashion a dynamic presentation/entertainment space. The team shifted the orientation of the front entryway, placing it on a diagonal to expose the interior courtyard to visitors entering the building. Folding glass walls that open the lobby and boardroom to the courtyard were installed, establishing an indoor-outdoor event space. A coffee bar adjacent to the street at the southwest corner was also wrapped in glass so that employees could enjoy a contiguous relationship to the outside as if they were hanging out at their local coffee shop.
The balance of the building centered on a grand staircase – open and transparent, flooding the entire office with natural light. The stair features stainless steel cladding and glass treads, abutting a split-faced stone wall; each element echoing the strength and stability of the organization. We incorporated a water element at the base of the stair with semi-submerged blocks of basalt that represent the buildings of the Beverly Hills “golden triangle,” with both Kennedy Wilson buildings highlighted in white marble. To further enhance the stair element, we commissioned noted artist Jacob Hashimoto to create one of his iconic “kite” sculptures; it floats through the staircase, depicting the West Coast environment in vivid color.