Jessica Alba’s Newest Office for The Honest Company Marries Comfort and Creativity
Architectural Digest, April 21, 2017
The Honest Company has come a long way since Jessica Alba and her business partners founded the fledgling mission-driven household goods company in 2012. Now, with over 100 products for baby, personal care, and cleaning, the company has just expanded into a new office in Playa Vista, California, to accommodate its 450 employees.
“This is my fourth office—for the company, the third office—and when we first started, we had $1,000 to build it,” Alba says. “The second, I think we had barely more than that. We had a more significant budget for this office. There was nothing here, so we had to start from scratch. I wanted to have a more sophisticated look and feel. In the other office, I personally did a lot of the decorating myself with someone from customer service—with a hammer and nails—and tried to ‘pretty up’ the office. But this time we had a professional team.”
Alba called in Mat Sanders and Brandon Quattrone from Consort, who call themselves her “on-call designers from the beginning.”
“This office looks very much like my home,” says Alba. “I used Consort to design every room in my house, one room at a time, piecemeal-ed together. Mat and Brandon were really great collaborators—they really get my vibe. I like vintage and some new things; I like luxe fabrics, but I don’t care about them being designer necessarily. I also need things that are going to be durable because I have kids and animals, and I want everything to feel cozy. I want things you can sit on and put your feet on. And I wanted that same vibe in the office.”
To keep her office from looking like an exact replica of her home, the Consort designers added more contrast. “With the move, we wanted to bring the brand into a new age. They wanted to make it a little more modern, a little more crisp,” says Quattrone. “Her home is a little more traditional, more Spanish-style, a little more of a Beverly Hills abode. We brought in a little more black and white into the office. So I think that’s how those two married.”
Alba’s main objective was creating an environment where her employees are inspired creatively but can also focus on work: “I wanted many unconventional spaces that had a home vibe, but you could also plug in your computer and have meetings with multiple people. We have lots of whiteboards; you know it’s still a work space. But the comfort level is you can throw your feet up, you can get your work done on your own. I just didn’t want it to feel like an old stodgy corporate office. I wanted it to feel cozy and warm like a home, but still have all the conveniences of an office.”
Since the vast office is so spread out and includes not only work spaces but a showroom of products as well, Sanders says the designers had to find ways to “make this massive space feel like a small, cool little space—this was the task that we were challenged with.” From the lounge areas to the kitchen, and even reflected in the entry, “she really wanted that perception of comfort,” adds Quattrone. One way the designers achieved this was being conscious of their color palette in the space. “The first step to planning the décor and palette and office as a whole was not making every room or zone feel foreign to the one next to it but really feeling connected through color,” explains Sanders.
Her own personal office, decorated with artwork created by her two daughters, Honor, 8, and Haven, 5, is as equally relaxed as the rest of the workplace. “I don’t have a desk with a computer in my office. Instead, I have a round table, I have a couch, [and] I have an espresso machine,” she says. “I like to bring people in and we talk things out. We really tackle everything as teams. That’s the kind of boss I am.”
Alba, who last appeared in Mechanic: Resurrection alongside Jason Statham, keeps regular hours in the office despite balancing a career as an actress. Alba notes: “I never think of myself as ‘Jessica Alba the Actress’ unless I’m going to a premiere of a movie and someone is asking me for my autograph. Outside of that, I always think of myself as ‘Jessica who works at The Honest Company.’ I don’t really talk to people about that, so I don’t really know what their perception of me is.”
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By Carson Griffith