Toy Factory Loft by Zellnerplus



Los Angeles-based architects Zellnerplus renovated the loft of an old toy factory to create living and working space for a young filmmaker.


The 1,500 square foot loft is situated in Los Angeles and makes use of MDF, plastic, laminated plywood and aluminium.


Photography is © copyright Zellnerplus/Tomohiko Sakai and used with permission.


Here's some text from Zellnerplus:


TOY Factory Loft
Additions to this 1,500 square foot loft residence in downtown Los Angeles provided the Client, a young filmmaker, with work and living spaces.


Two MDF, Thermoclear, laminated Ply and Aluminum enclosures were manually fabricated and erected on site from a set of over 250 unique templates.


ZELLNERPLUS Design Planning Research

Project Team: Gordon Magnin, Peter Zellner

General Contractor: Roman Ribera






Posted on Thursday August 14th 2008 at 1:22 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • B


  • DJ


  • (Yawn.)

  • edward

    What was accomplished with all the angular woodwork? Nothing!

  • jt

    those photos look like the deceptive pictures fat girls post on myspace to lure unsuspecting suitors… turn on the lights peter! (still looks like ass with the lights off)

  • poetic miserablism

  • Tim

    I wholeheartedly agree with edward. It’s really cool to play with angles in woodworks, but it achieved litterally nothing interesting spatially.

  • Rockstar

    This project is a disgrace.

  • Design was accomplished.
    Somebody wanted something that wasn’t orthogonal, and they built it.
    It is sad to see the whole space empty, but it looks like it will be an interesting place.

  • Michael

    What is wrong with you people? Your comments are uneducated sounding and disgraceful. I rather enjoy this simple project. The process is the young filmmaker. It was tailor made for him, who ever he is. The process looks affordable and interesting enough. Common materials used in an angular arrangement offsetting the regular grid of a factory room. The bulging walls have a good quality to relate to the oversized concrete columns. I wouldn’t mind having a cocktail party here while reviewing recent works of the film maker.
    I only have two criticisms for the space:
    The lighting solution leaves a lot left to be desired. I can understand low lighting needed for video work and displaying it. But that large wall feels so empty and untouched. Lights would dramatically help. I could see using a series of track lights like the spots they use in filming being very cool. Old concrete has a great texture, accent it!
    I also do not like the folding door solution. The plane feels a bit off from the the room it surrounds. I can understand given a small budget, but that track in the floor has to go. A more durable completely hung solution would clear out that detail.
    I grow so tired of the empty comments left on these projects. Stop being so superficial and subjective. Analyze the project with what you are given. I can walk down the street and see a project in Sierra Madre by Edward Durell Stone. I didn’t know it existed when I stumbled upon it, or know any of the history of it. But I saw it being renovated as the lobby for a new condo complex. Without drawings, process, explanation, the designers name or intent, I can summarize that it is a well designed building. Why? Because I am able to think. Most people can say something, but how many of you can think? Try it.

  • kolohe

    smells a bit too much like sci-arc…

  • bald skull

    i really like this project. i actually live in LA and have several friend who have these loft shells and none of them do anything interesting with them. bookshelf here, sofa there, end of.
    this is a cool project and probably ended up being exactly what the client wanted. i don’t think the photos or lighting help express things. and maybe a b4 and after comparison would be fittting.

  • monsieur!

    wooo yet more tiresome comments from the collected community
    this is a rad project -its trying something – and more importantly, is pretty accomplished in what its attempting to do

    why is it that people award so highly tiresome crap they’ve seen before ?(witness the veritable circle-jerk that occurs on this board whenever some hyped up modernist bores the world to tears by birthing another white cubed abortion)

    personally my only criticism is that from one pic (5th down) the opening to the kitchen looks a little too much like a bar counter – but thats as maybe.

    so to rockstar: why is this project a disgrace?
    B: whys it “empty?”
    ren koolhaus: “yawns”?

    to edwards : what is accomplished by the angular woodwork?
    its looks relatively reserved and quite aesthetically pleasing – angular construction doesn’t maximise space (nothing can possibly achieve better than orthoganal construction – except a menger sponge in which you could inhabit every internal surface) you’re correct – but it depends really on your agenda for the design>>> what do you attempt to achieve when you design (assuming you’re a designer) ?
    i spose their agenda was something aesthetically appealing within budget – high spec bespoke furniture fit out- – if so then its an excellent project.

    Considering we’ve already hit on the best way of maximising internal space – do you expect everyone to churn out one specific design method -the worlds large enough for plenty of mistakes and within that a couple of hidden genius’ (some of zaha’s early work for instance- however poorly constructed – i challenge anyone to go to vitra firestation and not to be amazed)

    i’m not saying this is genius – but its a worthy piece that doesn’t deserve the derision some people have posted here.

  • monsieur!

    yo micheal – agree about the lighting
    but i really like the track detail on the floor – nice & graphic

  • James

    From Tim “I wholeheartedly agree with edward. It’s really cool to play with angles in woodworks, but it achieved litterally nothing interesting spatially”

    1. If the woodwork was at 90 degrees or flat would that achieve interesting spatially?

    It feels very 90’s. and rather fragmented. but i agree it could just be the photos. plans/sections would be helpful.

    in the end hey at least its not crown-molding and shaker panels.

  • BIFF




  • olgv.

    finally, the “smart” guys have chilled …. c’mon … this project it’s an intervention … simple and acceptable … I’m more happy to se this project instead another zahaistic one :P

  • Tim

    I’m not saying that 90 degree angles would’ve been better (or worse, for that matter). It’s about finding a spatially working solution. It could be that sharp angles make that particular space work, and it could be that 90degrees would improve the space. I don’t know.
    And it’s not the point what I think that would’ve been better. It’s about the fact that these images show a space that is all about form, without consideration of an effect. It’s like a movie: Special effects added to a great scenario make the film really good. But if the scenario is already crappy, a whole bunch of special effects don’t make the story any better.
    This seems to me like shapes for the sake of shapes. Just as bad as straight walls just because “it’s the thing we are used to”.

  • edward

    Photos 5 and 7 are especially depressing. The prow like structure (good ole MDF) which looks low enough to catch the unwary out; the diner lunch counter ; and the rest looking neglected like the money had all been squandered on the 250 templates and tricks joins. It just doesn’t read as an integrated concept.

  • Ipod Eater

    It’s just an interior, it doesn’t need to be all that profound. I think it’s interesting, especially if the owner has a lot of colorful brik-a-brack to adorn the shelves. This architect is still getting started, so I’d hold my criticism until bigger chances and ever more trusting clients come along. Be thankful that there are lower profile guys doing this in more everyday spaces as such.

    Personally, my only edit would be to use more polycarbonate sheathing as a light diffuser, turning the whole thing into some sort of playable lamp shade where different shelves can glow on command. Good designers take things and find how to improve upon the good in something, not yawn at it.

  • jt

    architect is not still getting started, he was churning out the exact same pap 10 years ago. just lame.

  • bioz segundo

    this is for rem , sorry but ur bicentenial bilding for mexico isnt that great
    lack of compposition and , try thinking in mexico city urban context

  • XF

    This is such nonsense.

    I went to school with the architect 10 years ago at the GSD- so that is plainly not true.

    The office opened in 2004/5. This is one of their first built projects. Check your facts or keep just your posts to architecture related comments!

    What is wrong with you people? Can we just keep this discussion civil and about architecture? Why is this getting so personal?

  • jt

    sorry, i guess it was more like 8 years ago when he mounted an exhibition of his work at sciarc. i dont know what he’s built since then, i just remember how embarrassed i was for him. nothings changed.

  • XF

    Ideally these sort of discussions should be focused on the work and not, per several posts other above, immature and clearly personal attacks in the place of calibrated critique and debate about the work.

    Its clear that what’s really most embarrassing here is the total lack of any critical distance on the part of certain participants and, as a corollary, their inability to comment on work in a productive and intelligent manner.

    What’s telling here is the insistence on having the last word…as opposed to productively moving onto the next thread and thereby contributing to this community’s common interests.

    It would be telling, per BIFF above, if these posts would elicit more contributions in terms of recent work or at least discussions of comparable projects …but then that would not achieve the obvious intended goal of being destructive as opposed to being constructive.

  • G

    Someone put time and thinking into this – instate of been behind a monitor criticizing something they don’t even understand, so please show some respect.

    For future references if you don’t have something nice to say just don’t say anything.

  • tickety-boo

    The above comments demonstrate the banality of the web – too many comments which neither enlighten nor critique.

    The work is obviously done by a Nietzschean god who was made of steel,travelled back time in a great big magnetic field, to the 1990s – studied architecture – quickly zoomed back to the present and made a fairly interesting studio interior… I reckon you could have some pretty killer parties there ay… Plus the kitchen bench looks it’ll be great for blow…

  • Joolzy

    I like it!!

    “What was accomplished with all the angular woodwork? Nothing!”
    – I think that’s what make this space interesting!

    Architecture doesn’t always have to be practical, sometimes it’s about feelings and emotions…i’d feel great if i were living there!

    However, if this was my place, i’d buy some furniture and better lighting.

    LOL @ the last comment : )

  • The design is giving me a headache. Someone has been watching The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari too many times.

  • charliehustle

    What inane criticism. Lighting? Furniture? The above photos are not what the space looks like occupied. The images above show what is clearly an empty loft lit up for a photoshoot before the occupant moves in and before any interior decoration has happened. I’ve seen photos of the loft space as it exists and zellner’s addition works great. The owner has filled it with lighting, furniture etc and, given the style of the owner, the angles work. Sometimes people like certain aesthetics and hire architects to deliver them. End of story. Why not have an angular element in what is an otherwise orthaganol space? Its far from a disgrace, its actually a pretty cool project.

  • DAA

    My eyes are hurting.

  • aurelia

    this is a wonderful loft. people do not care of what you all think of this project, or the looks of it. this place ahas a lot pf potential and you all know this. so stop hating on something that deep inside you all know is wonderful