When Lesa Kirk's offices burned down, she had to move fast
It was July 2012 and the founder and principal of Kirk Talent Agencies was in Los Angeles when she got the phone call from a friend who was outside the building, at Second Avenue and Quebec Street, watching flames shoot out the windows.
Within hours Kirk was on a plane, emailing every realtor she knew. After viewing a few disappointing sites the following day, Kirk was walking the neighbourhood around her burned-out former offices when she stepped into a café for a break. Realizing the building was perfect, she made a few inquiries and found out the owner was on site. Before the day was out she had concluded a lease on her current offices at Third Avenue and Columbia Street.
With the help of her designer friend Shannon Powell, Kirk went to work refitting the site. Powell brought a West Coast sensibility to the project, with lots of natural wood, a double-sided fireplace and plenty of local art. Kirk also introduced some Hollywood to the mix, taking Powell on a Los Angeles shopping trip that resulted in a trio of theatre seats, now reupholstered and gracing the reception area, and a number of ’50s-vintage Eames chairs reminiscent of the iconic director’s chair. n
The Agent Will See You Now Kirk and Powell sourced vintage Hollywood theatre seats from L.A., and had them refinished for the lobby. “We like the idea of the actors waiting to see their agents on real theatre seats,” says Powell. Above the seats is Summer Afternoon, a painting by West Coast artist David Burns.
Privacy, Please Because the agents share an open office space, a breakout room was essential for privacy, as it’s needed. The reclaimed wood bench at the boardroom table—along with a smaller version in the sitting area—was one of the few items salvaged from the fire at the past office. “They burned about this much,” says Kirk, holding out her fingers to indicate about three inches of charred wood. Both were filed down and refinished.
Open Information “Making the move, I thought [an open concept] would be a way better way of sharing information—instead of everything being so segmented and instead of repeating a lot of the same information over and over again,” says Kirk. “It’s way better because everybody is working collaboratively.”
Line! To add a personal touch, Powell used chalkboard paint on this Ikea cabinet and hired an artist to emblazon its surface with lines from scripts the agents have had produced. A line that hits home for the agency sits front and centre: “What matters most is how well you walk through the fire.”
Door to the Past The space had originally been a WWII ammunitions factory, and was repurposed over the years, most recently as a sewing factory. The interior needed to be completely redone, but Kirk and Powell retained this original door. “I wanted to showcase that door as a piece of art,” says Powell. They had their contractor scrape “years and years of paint” down to reveal the door’s metal surface.