Dezeen Magazine

Lounge and bar at Chief LA

Hollywood puppet theatre becomes Chief LA members' club

A clubhouse for women in business now occupies a 1940s theatre in Los Angeles, following renovation work by JM|A+D and TAP Studio, with interiors by AvroKO.

The three studios collaborated to rehabilitate the former Hollywood puppet theatre to create the Los Angeles flagship for Chief, which offers memberships to women in leadership roles.

Lounge area with green walls
Like Chief's other locations, the LA flagship clubhouse is designed to have a residential feel

"Designed as a space for the most powerful women in business to connect and find community, we re-conceptualized the historic structure as a modern pied-a-terre, reinterpreting the best elements of traditional member's club environments with a bold, lush palette," said the team in a joint statement.

JM|A+D and TAP Studio – both based in California – worked on restoring the theatre building while updating the spaces for their new purposes.

Bar area
The former theatre was converted to include two bars, five conference rooms and multiple lounges

"From scattered wet bars and mothers' rooms to carefully scaled seating and meeting areas, our goal was to develop a female-focused environment that brings the membership network’s mission to life," the team said.

"We dovetailed original building elements with new millwork, pathways, and technology to create an enfilade of communal and enclosed zones designed to host large events, lingering, chance encounters and focused work."

Conference room with long table and sienna brown ceiling
Conference rooms are each identified by a different colour

The interiors incorporate some of the design elements in Chief's New York and Chicago locations, the latter of which was also designed by AvroKO and was named Large Workspace of the Year at the Dezeen Awards 2021.

The visual threads between the different outposts include the use of rich colours and mix of furniture styles to create a residential feel, and incorporating many pieces by female artists and designers among custom millwork and vintage finds.

Dusty pink wall with framed celebrity signatures
Nods to the building's former use include framed signatures of those who performed there

The 14,000-square-foot (1,300-square-metre) LA clubhouse is split over two levels and includes two bars, five conference rooms, multiple lounge areas, and smaller private rooms for meetings or focused work.

An outdoor patio is also available for members to sit among the trees or around a fire pit.

Inside, another fireplace is clad in narrow, glossy ceramic tiles and forms a focal point at the end of the bar.

Each of the conference rooms is identified by a different colour, such as a large room with a sienna-hued ceiling and another that's painted dark blue.

Upstairs lounge
A mix of furniture styles includes custom pieces, vintage finds and many designs by women

Ochre yellow, dusty rose and various shades of green can also be found in upholstery, rugs, artwork and styled accessories.

Nods to the building's previous use are also scattered throughout. "We integrated a wall with celebrity signatures from roasts hosted at the theatre into the design," said the team.

Outdoor area with seating around a firepit
Chief LA also has an outdoor patio for members to enjoy

JM|A+D was founded by architect Jeffrey Miller and also has an office in Oregon. The studio has previously collaborated with TAP principal Tanya Paz on several residential projects.

AvroKO is best known for hospitality projects and also designed the Mortimer House members' club in London.

The photography is by Aubrie Pick.

Project credits:

Architecture: JM|A+D and TAP
Interior design: AvroKO
Civil engineer: KPFF
MEP consultant: Interface Engineering
Audiovisual consultant: VanWert Technology Design
Lighting consultant: Focus Lighting
Food and beverage consultant: Sam Tell