Did you catch our last Gentlemen Journal Report on the ever-inspiring and jack of all trades, Michael Antonia? If so, you've already heard the hype around his latest new project, Office Party, opening soon in the City of Angels. But as you know, we are all creatively stronger in packs and Michael has the best team by his side.
With partners from Shark Pig, this trio has dreamt up exciting plans for the space and aims to host a plethora of events including speaking engagements, brainstorming & networking events, movie nights, dance parties, chef driven dinners, coffee pop ups, workshops and more. Watch out L.A.! There's a new venue in town.
Photography by Jenn Emerling
Hey Michael! Give us the back story of your venue! Where did the inspiration come from?
Michael: I started working in events and nightclubs in the late 90’s in Seattle with Whitney (from Smilebooth). We would transform raw warehouse spaces into event spaces for brands, one off parties, underground raves, and lots of other things in between. While I was doing that, Brian and Jonathan (from Shark Pig) were studying film, making indie films, and throwing their own crazy parties in a bizarre little town called in Iowa called Fairfield. So that’s the background we all bring to it. We want to have a place to throw parties and events, and we understand that you can do that basically anywhere if you just transform the space to fit the experience you want to create.
In the last 10 years, between our companies we’ve done well over 2000 weddings, over 500 corporate events, and we’ve produced over 300 commercial shoots. We’re only throwing those numbers out to say - we’ve worked in a lot of event spaces over the years, and they’ve run the gamut. I mean… Some are mind blowing and some are down right embarrassing. We have seen it ALL.
At the core of our businesses and to some extent our personalities is a focus on collaboration. The challenge is bringing together 6 individual companies that can form like can form like Voltron into a SUPER venue. But bringing our experience and innovative approach that The Flashdance, YEAH brands, and the Shark Pig brands were built on it is really intoxicating. We want to flip this industry on it’s head, and having the chance to do this our way is the biggest, most exciting opportunity we’ve ever had.
Tell us about your vision for your space?
Michael: Our team is a made up of a bunch of multidisciplinary overachievers (a.k.a. we all have A.D.D.) which unsurprisingly is a pretty challenging affliction if you are trying to roll all of your dreams, hopes, and your career into one space… But that is exactly what we are doing. It’s a multi-functional space which is kind of what led to the name Office Party. It’s our office, but it’s also a place to party. That sounds pretty simple, but… It’s not. We need edit bays for post production. We need to simultaneously have a furniture warehouse AND a furniture show room for Yeah! Furniture. We need a shared office space that can have a bee hive of activity in it during the day and a dance party at night. It’s complicated!
But more than any of the architectural features, this is a place where we can be our best selves. We will finally have a place to invite all of the talented people in our crews to gather together, to work and to celebrate. We will finally have our own place to produce our own work. That’s huge. I have had a long running vision of an office space / studio in line with the Eames office that was once in Venice, CA where artists and artisans from all walks work side by side to make life better for everyone around them. It’s a bit lofty, I know. But incredible things happen when you make a hub of energy and creativity. It’s exciting!
What type of events will you hold? Any standout features?
Michael: We really care about people. Whether the format of the event revolves around food, music, film, drinks, or discussions we want to host events with a focus on the people who attend. Yeah, there will be brand pop ups, birthday parties, dinners, celebrations, photo shoots and commercial endeavors, but we hope to make each experience special… Not cookie cutter. One of the ways we plan to do that, is to create a hospitality driven stable of services on site to make the space simple to use and perfectly suited to a wide variety of events. We also can’t help but host our own events. Some of those will be public, some private, and some that are specifically for our community in Highland Park. From speaking engagements, brainstorming & networking events, to movie nights, dance parties, chef driven dinners, coffee pop ups, workshops, and a gang of behind the scenes events to keep plugging away at one day achieving the feeling of the Eames office.
What's your favorite part about your venue?
Michael: All of it. But that’s because it’s only a few months away! I personally am very excited about having my own sound proof studio for recording and practicing, but I also think I will be most proud of transforming the outdoor space which is currently a disgusting parking lot on a busy street, but will soon be a private garden / green space with a small coffee shop / bar, where we can host dinner parties and host our friends and family for celebrations of all sorts. I know Brian and Jonathan are excited to be able to produce shoots in house and finally have a client space that is truly theirs. It’s a different feeling to invite clients into your own building than it is to invite them over to a studio rental. Sort of a different responsibility as well.
Any cool upcoming events?
Michael: Yeah! The grand opening. Wanna come? It will be a legendary party. Info to come!
When do you officially open?