Unità seeks to draw inspired talent to El Segundo
Imagine a beautiful Sunday afternoon. You’re surrounded by gorgeous art. Vivaldi is flowing from a cello while a top French chef makes you delicious crepes. No, you’re not in a chic cafe in Europe. This is on your doorstep right here in the South Bay
Welcome to Unità club, “a community of dream followers.” Founders Ego Alpay, Serkan Yalcinkaya and Miray Guldogan created this utopian community workspace in the industrial sector of El Segundo. Each one of them brings something unique, adding depth and culture to the community.
Ego, a former professional basketball player from Turkey, comes from a sales background. A true “people person,” he is the point of contact and face of the business. Serkan is a computer engineer and deals with the business side of things, and his wife, Miray, provided the design of the space.
They aren’t reinventing the wheel of a community workspace, but because they are making art, music and culture are the main focus. Here, a member will discover a brand new way to be productive while being inspired at the same time.
In European culture, classical music and art are a huge part of everyday life. When Ego moved to L.A., he noticed that it seemed so much harder to find than it should be in a place so renowned for its creativity. It became his goal to bring this experience to this great new place he called home, here in the South Bay.
When looking for the right space, they wanted an old building with character. They didn’t want it to be like Abbot Kinney with high-end retail stores. Instead they wanted to create a space that people would come to … to create, not consume.
El Segundo checked so many boxes, as it is a very flexible city that encourages creativity and entrepreneurship. Another draw is that it is so central—15 minutes from Venice and 10 minutes from Manhattan Beach. They are already working on a new building projected to be open for business in February 2018.
On one side of the building, Unità operates as a community workspace where members can either rent a private office or a community desk in an open environment. It is beautifully decorated and comes with a variety of amenities, including meeting rooms and Wi-Fi services in every office and the surrounding indoor and outdoor common areas. Refrigerators and cupboards stay stocked with all kinds of complimentary beverages and Peet’s coffee.
“We don’t give them a desk and turn our backs. We ask, ‘What do you need?’” says Ego. “At Unità, you are not a renter or tenant. You are a ‘member.’” And as a member of this exclusive community, you are granted 24/7 access where everything is included.
“This space wants to keep you connected, comfortable, energized and inspired,” adds Miray. Private offices come customized as executive suites or studios for teams of up to five members. Fixed walls offer privacy, while a minimalist industrial aesthetic creates the perfect canvas to personalize your space and make it your working home. Members can bring clients and collaborators hassle-free (and free of charge) to their office or to the spacious, fully A/V-equipped meeting rooms.
Downstairs is an event space with an open studio for artists to freely work on anything they dream of. A 3-D printer and working photographic studio also help bring creative ideas to life. The studio is state-of-the-art, equipped with a Cyclorama Wall, Sonos surround sound, a PA system, a projection wall and projector, and art installations. Big brands such as H&M, The Glow Brand, Adidas and Anastasia Beverly Hills—among others—have used the space extensively.
And as if that wasn’t enough, the artist studio opens up to a beautiful outdoor courtyard, filled with lights. Best of all, the founders put no artificial limits on the use of this creative space but go out of their way to encourage the artists to do their thing. They often hang the art that is created in the studio. The space is always changing from one week to the next as new art installations rotate.
To help their members’ creativity thrive, they didn’t set a constrictive structure or define exactly how it works; they prefer to curate and create their community organically. They are not about maximizing the space to make more money; they want to make sure the heart and soul of the place remains true to their vision. They want to create a space with a selective group of members who love it so much that they use it not only for work but also as a place to hang out and be inspired. Anytime-access helps encourage the feeling for members that this is truly a second home.
So far, Unità has hosted events with flamenco dancing, meditation, yoga, classical music, art shows and films. Ego has even suggested that members go out to dinner and then bring all their friends back to Unità, throw some blankets and pillows on the floor, pour some wine and watch Game of Thrones on the projector wall. As he says, “You can go have a beer and watch a game anywhere 365 days a year, but we are offering something different, something special. We have created a unique community and experience.”
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