The Founders of Village Workspaces are Reinventing the Workweek in Los Angeles
Written By: Lyndsay M. Marvin Village Workspaces: A New Standard for Co-Workspaces
There’s a new co-working space in town, and it is the place everyone wants to be. After much success with their first Santa Monica space, Village Workspaces (VW) has opened their second location in West Los Angeles where they are revolutionizing co-working by offering a creative and collaborative space in an exclusive membership environment that offers incredible amenities to help brands of all sizes be more successful.With numerous start-ups coming to Silicon Beach, VW is the ideal co-workspace for creatives and tech-based companies. LOCALE had the privilege of interviewing two of the co-founders of VW, Lew Maler and Sophie Keller, and was given insight into what co-working is and why VW is the space everyone will be talking about.
Q: Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions for Locale! Let’s get started. What is a co-workspace?
Lewis Maler: A co-workspace is best defined as the “socialization of the work-force.” Historically, people working in offices were within enclosed spaces or offices. [The concept] of working in open, undefined spaces was a revolutionary idea and began a movement of redefining how people work.
Sophie Keller: We have space where companies can come and put their computers down, and we set up [amenities such as] the internet and reception services.
Q: What are your specific job titles at VW?
LM: Chairman of the Board and Co-Founder.
SK: Co-Founder and Chief Happiness Officer.
Q: What’s the role of a Chief Happiness Officer?
SK: We’re thinking about happiness in the workplace; we want you to come in and have a fantastic day. The greatest thing a company can have is happy employees.
Q: What are your backgrounds?
LM: I have four decades of real estate experience and expertise as the President and CEO of the Braemar Group, a California-based real estate developer and home builder. I’m a licensed real estate broker and general contractor. I attended the University of Southern California and the University of California at Los Angeles, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts. I’m currently a member of the UCLA Santa Monica Hospital Advisory Board.
SK: We’ve been working on our own space for five years. I’ve written four books [and] about 100 articles on happiness. [My background is] in the lifestyle field more than anything. I received my doctorate in well-being.
Q: What inspired you to create a workspace?
LM: I founded VW in 2010. The concept of creating a village-type atmosphere to encourage collaboration and commerce within a common space was relatively new. My wife Diane suggested I convert my real estate development office in Santa Monica to meet the needs of the start-ups migrating to Silicon Beach. The Village, the second co-workspace in LA, was an immediate success. In March 2015, I undertook the second location at Westside Towers.
Q: I’ve noticed that co-working is on the rise; who does it attract?
LM: It is our belief the VW is an ideal solution for businesses that need to expand or contract based on where they are in their business cycle. There are companies with offices worldwide who have a need to provide space for nomadic employees.
SK: Our space attracts startups (virtual reality, tech, gaming, a whole mix of people). I think the interesting thing is who we’re attracting. We’re trying to curate a community of like-minded people. An important aspect is that there’s harmony within the spaces.
Q: What three things set VW apart from other spaces in LA?
LM: It’s a prime location in a class A building, the design and use of open space relative to private offices and privacy is well-balanced and the pricing of the offices and other uses are very competitive.
Q: One thing that stands out is the bar; it really speaks to the forward-thinking of VW. Why did you choose to have this in the workspace?
LM: Thank you for the compliment. Aside from being a great amenity for our guests/members, it paves the way for another part of our business strategy. We will be having evening events and parties involving guest speakers, workshops, and possible dinner parties with up-and-coming chefs. Our design anticipates those uses and additional sources of revenue.
SK: A bar is where people talk, get tea/coffee and bump into other members [which leads to] conversation [and] friendships. It’s a space where we can connect people on a deeper level.
Q: What’s included with the wellness program for members?
SK: Juice [from local companies], in-house yoga and meditation, an organic vending machine, table tennis [and more].
Q: The West LA office is absolutely stunning. When designing it, was there a certain vibe you were going for (i.e. modern, trendy, etc.)?
SK: [My husband and VW co-founder] Oli and I had always dreamed we’d create the SoHo House of workspaces. We wanted to make sure it had street art and wallpaper that’s cool and funky. We had a wonderful architect—Jagar Architecture.
Q: What is one thing you knew had to be in VW?
LM: We had to make sure we captured the views [while] still providing privacy for our guests.
SK: The desks and chairs had to be fantastic, because it’s a workspace and that’s the bottom line. There needed to be glass and it needed to be open.
11845 W Olympic Blvd
West Tower, Ste 1100W
Los Angeles, CA 90064