Picture Show

Exploring light as it relates to color, the new headquarters for the visual effects studio, The Moving Picture Co., embodies the essence of the films it helps to create.

When UK-based The Moving Picture Co.—a post-production visual effects studio with a project list that includes films like Slumdog Millionaire, Angels & Demons, and Watchmen, to name a few—decided to open its U.S. headquarters, it enlisted the help of Tighe Architecture, a firm committed to creating authentic, contemporary architecture informed by technology, sustainability and building innovation.

The result of the collaboration is a strikingly modern 7,800-square-foot facility located within a generic office building in downtown Santa Monica, CA.

The Moving Picture Co. is highly regarded for its work in the field of color manipulation in film. With this in mind, the design of the office explores the notion of light as it relates to color. Forms and patterns are produced using studies of light. Light is analyzed and modeled three-dimensionally. Frames from the animation are chosen and layered to organize spatial qualities and movement throughout the office environment.

An organic, sinuous spine weaves its way through the suite. An appendaged soffit grows from the serpentine walls and serves as an armature for cable trays, and mechanical and electrical systems. Light portals pierce the organic forms and are equipped with programmable LED lighting. Patterns derived from the animated studies are emblazoned onto the laser cut walls and circumscribe the interior.

Movement is expressed throughout the space in many ways. The lighting scheme reinforces the notion of movement. Groupings of LED lights penetrate the serpentine wall and emit color. The aluminum pieces are custom fabricated to house the LED fixtures. The housings are flush with the outside (public) face of the wall and protrude into the private rooms. The fixtures add texture and create a more intimate scale to the larger context. The lighting is programmable, offering various intensities and color options. The otherwise colorless scheme is ever changing, per the client’s wishes.

Grading rooms, edit bays, conference rooms, open and closed offices, client areas, production spaces, entertaining areas, a tape vault, mechanical rooms, machine rooms, exterior terraces and support spaces make up the program of the facility.

Notably, the project earned Tighe Architecture a Los Angeles Architectural Award from the Los Angeles Business Council in 2009.