In our series 6sqft Studio Visits, we take you behind the scenes of the city’s up-and-coming and top designers and artists to give you a peek into the minds, and spaces, of NYC’s creative force. In this installment we take a tour Thompson Square Studios, a private members club-style co-working space in Soho. Want to see your studio featured here, or want to nominate a friend? Get in touch!
After starting his career as an architect in London, Robert Herrick went on to found Visualhouse, a “creative ideas” agency focusing on the architecture and design fields, in 2006. With offices now in London, New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Hong Kong, Visualhouse has produced work from branding campaigns to digital renderings for the likes of Zaha Hadid, Norman Foster, and Rafael Vinoly. In 2013, Robert took his expertise and created the Thompson House Group with the goal of delivering private member experiences in workspaces, hotels, and restaurants.
The Group’s first project was Thompson Square Studios, a “private member club for work and play.” Unlike traditional co-working spaces, the Studio has a membership board that selects tenants from the creative industries based on what they can bring to the collective whole. 6sqft recently caught up with CEO and founder Robert, who took us on a tour of the impeccably designed space filled with copper accents, industrial decor, and sleek yet moody furniture. We also got a look at how Visualhouse operates within the club.
We first met you through your firm Visualhouse. Can you tell us a bit about how the company started and how it’s expanded over the years?
I started Visualhouse in 2006 with the initial focus on creating renderings of iconic architecture. Since then, the company has grown to a full service agency with offices all over the world, focused on creating compelling brand stories for the world’s leading property developments.
What gave you the idea to venture into creating Thompson House Group?
My youth was spent in London, and I was witness to the real birth of the modern private members clubs, which have become the hub of the social scene within the UK capital. Visualhouse has boutique offices around the world and seeing the growth of clubs like Soho House and workspaces like WeWork, the concept for a private members club for both work and play that included all of Visualhouse’s collaborators really resonated. Earlier this year we made the leap and opened up two locations–one here in Soho and one in West Hollywood, California.
Some of the perks members have access to include shared house cars, personal assistants, and helicopter rides to the airport
You mention WeWork and Soho House. How do you feel Thompson House Group is different than these companies?
I think by nature when you start a business like this you’re always going to research the market around you; see what else is going on, but create your own unique recipe so you have something individual and special. Each of the Thompson House Group’s locations is boutique with a unique look and feel. Since we focus on creating a balance between work and play, we like to think we are quite different from others that focus primarily on work or primarily on social.
The New York location, Thompson Square Studios, is a private workspace for the creative industries. Can you give us the lowdown on how the space operates?
Membership currently starts at $250 a month for the local house and up to $4000 for a four-person studio. We serve complimentary breakfast daily to our members and are now partnering with fantastic local restaurants for our full menu, which rotates on a monthly basis. We have a fantastic members events program, from drink evenings to sushi making classes. It’s a lot of fun. The space is also available for private hire, catering to a range of amazing concepts and brands.
The decor is spectacular. Tell us a bit about the collaboration with Restoration Hardware.
Thank you. Being an architect, I designed the space myself and worked very closely with Restoration Hardware on the finishes. We wanted to create a timeless aesthetic that gave a very organic and luxury feel.
Copper plays a prominent role throughout the design scheme. What drew you to this material?
Each of our properties relate to a metal of sorts. Thompson Square Studios is Copper and Hills Penthouse in West Hollywood is Gold/Brass. The copper tones worked really well here due to the chic industrial feel. I’ve always wanted to work with copper and this location was the perfect opportunity.
The screening room via Thompson Square Studios
Can you tell us a bit about how Visualhouse utilizes the various amenity spaces?
The team at Visualhouse really uses the club to its full potential: They utilize the screening room for film editing and viewing our latest releases; the collaborative workspace is fantastic for brainstorming and casual meetings either within the team or through cross pollinating ideas with other members; they also loves to congregate in the heart of the space – the kitchen – chatting away with the baristas. It’s the perfect set up for work and social interactions.
Visualhouse occupies the largest studio space. How is the team arranged?
The team is separated into the various areas of Production, Renderings, Film and Creative/strategy. Each team member sits next to someone who can influence/train them for the better. Personal growth is something that is very important to us and something we look to nurture in all.
There are seven private, boutique studios of varying sizes and layouts
Why do you think Soho is a good home for both Visualhouse and Thompson Square Studios?
For us, Soho is the heart of creative production; it encompasses fashion and a great lifestyle whilst being a highly desirable neighborhood. We feel this resonates well with other members and clients.
Does Thompson House Group have plans to expand, and will any of Visualhouse’s other locations be located in a Thompson House Group space?
Yes, we’re planning on opening locations in Miami and London next year – both cities where Visualhouse is very active. And following that, we will look to grow with a wider network of spaces in other cities too.
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All images via Erin Kestenbaum for 6sqft unless otherwise noted
Neighborhoods : Soho