While ticking off the various antiques and rarities to be found in the West Hollywood office of the venture capitalist Phillip Sarofim, the interior designer Miles Redd lowers his voice conspiratorially. “I had to be the one to edit Phillip down, which has never happened before,” Redd whispered. “Paring back is not exactly my strong suit.”
A protégé of Bunny Williams and John Rosselli, Redd and his business partner David Kaihoi are known for maximalist confections and their skill in persuading clients to make space for one more slipper chair to create their signature effect. Sarofim had his own plans.
The 35-year-old is the founder of the forward-looking Trousdale Ventures, which has an eclectic portfolio that includes everything from the cryptocurrency platform Coinbase to the L.A. foodie Shangri-La Flamingo Estate. His headquarters had to live up to the risk-taking vision of his business, his philanthropic endeavors, and his interest in wellness. It also had to conform to the realities of the post-pandemic office and do so with the panache of a budding titan of industry.
He worked with Redd and Kaihoi, who had also designed his personal residence, to imagine a nerve center that was neither a monument to Herman Miller nor a Palo Alto incubator. Nor, needless to say, a playground fit for Kendall Roy. The David Lynchian “red room,” with its silky velvet banquette, may read louche at first glance, but it’s the site of conference calls and podcast recording, not movie screenings. And the conference bar is stocked with such L.A.-approved potions as collagen tea and lemon water, a reminder that we are in California 2022.
“I don’t believe in that kind of work-life blend,” Sarofim says. “This space is meant to be productive. If someone wants to go get a drink, I imagine they are much happier leaving the office to do that with their friends.” (Redd admits to sneaking a bottle of whiskey into the office on the day of T&C’s photo shoot. “It looks cozier than lemon water,” he says.)
There’s a touch of J.P. Morgan’s 19th-century Manhattan study here, with a cheerful dose of midcentury futurism. And while there is a blue chip art collection befitting a young, ambitious mogul—a François-Xavier Lalanne rhinoceros faces off with Roy Lichtenstein’s Sandwich and Soda in the conference room—it was procured via an extensive group text among friends and Trousdale partners sharing eBay and 1stDibs links. “Art is about energy, and there is a lot of good energy here,” Sarofim says. “It is calming. It encourages a free flow of ideas.”
A car enthusiast, Sarofim picked the tropical shade that covers his own office: Bahama Yellow. “It was used by Porsche in the 1960s,” he says. “I have a vintage Porsche in that hue that I am very fond of, so we had it color-matched.”
The yellow pops against a glossy hunter green desk, a 1940s command station hunted down in the executive suite of Hughes Aircraft Company. “It inspires me daily,” Sarofim says. “In his active years Howard Hughes took great risks for the advancement of mankind.”
Point at any object in the room and it may prompt a similar anecdote. There is a compass from the Concorde that reminds Sarofim “to stay on course when life is supersonic,” and a 19th-century giltwood mirror that resembles sunglasses with classic Southern California cool. There’s a sense that the design is informed by the lore and visual motifs of midcentury Hollywood, but it’s not caught in its undertow. “It’s a laboratory,” Redd says. “A collection of things Phillip loves and a reflection of his personality.”
It’s too early to declare that Sarofim & Co. have found the key to the office of the future, but a few creature comforts—a Gio Ponti side chair here, a Paul Kremer rendering there—go a long way toward making anyone working here feel at home.
This story appears in the February 2022 issue of Town & Country. SUBSCRIBE NOW
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