A studio is no longer just a studio. The rise of the gig economy and the need for multi-channel businesses has changed the way many designers approach their workspace. Interior designers, stylists, photographers and social media influencers from coast to coast are making the most of their spaces, and in turn finding new revenue streams. Yes, they need a place to sketch rooms, compare swatches and orchestrate the logistical elements of a project, but many also need a comfortable lounge to host clients, a photography studio for shooting product or a kitchen to host events.
Los Angeles–based creatives Anne Sage and Caroline Lee were early adopters of the multi-use space idea when they launched Light Lab in 2016. A 1,800-square-foot renovated warehouse in the city’s Atwater Village neighborhood, Light Lab serves as both a testing ground for the designers’ own work and a rental space for photo and television shoots, parties and events. It’s been the backdrop for campaigns for Fancy Feast, Lay’s chips and Crypton, as well as the set for Food Network shows, a Good Housekeeping cover story and Disney Eats content.
Sage and Lee worked with Crypton, makers of intelligent home fabrics, on the original Light Lab interior, and knew they wanted to keep the brand’s high-performance materials in the space to create a bright, current and durable interior that would work for parties, shoots and more. “We had Crypton in the original design, and it was more than useful,” says Sage. “We were so sad when we wanted to redecorate, because our Crypton—even the white upholstery—still looked brand new!”
The duo were no strangers to content creation when they launched the venture: Sage has been a lifestyle and design blogger since 2008, co-founded online design magazine Rue in 2010 and published her first design book in 2015; Lee is a musician and photographer; and the duo also does interior design work together.
Light Lab features a full kitchen, a dining room, a living room, a bathroom and a flexible open area with 20-foot cathedral ceilings. Sage and Lee regularly update the space’s look, but as the studio approaches its five-year mark, they pursued a complete revamp to reflect current trends and implement best practices for operating a multi-use space.
Flexible and generously sized furniture is a must for a space like Light Lab, so Sage and Lee installed the low-slung curved Menlo Park sectional from brand partner American Leather. Thanks to the brand’s trade services and support, including COM capabilities, they upholstered the piece in a nubby cream Crypton fabric. (The duo knew they wanted a performance textile, so they explored Crypton fabrics offered through showrooms like Kravet, Fabricut, Thibaut, Cortina Leathers, Greenhouse Fabrics and United Fabrics.) “It feels really current,” says Lee. “Our old sofa was a dusty pink velvet tufted number that was cool in 2015, but was feeling dated now.” The sweeping curve of the new seating encourages interaction among co-workers or party guests, another key trick to creating successful flex-spaces, which work best when the flow promotes a sense of community. The sectional’s three-piece design also allows for easy rearranging.
The updated lounge also features American Leather’s 1930s-inspired Oscar club chair, as well as a folding screen upholstered in an earthy Crypton fabric by Dana Gibson for Fabricut, which brings the various colors of the space together in a soft abstract pattern. The muted palette provides a versatile canvas for product shoots and brand activations of all stripes.
But it’s the sofa that the designers are most excited about. “It’s low and loungy and sultry and sexy,” says Sage. “And the nubby fabric just begs to be touched. Other finishes we thought at first might be less perishable had faded a bit under the high traffic and frequent catering, but we weren’t afraid to go for it with white Crypton again.”
This story is a paid promotion and was created in partnership with Crypton.