New Orleans’ Contemporary Arts Center Opens a Coworking Space for Diverse Tenants

Elements and Features

Emerging from a 30-inch concrete podium, the ash-wood and steel staircase begins as a work surface, folding up to define an intimate meeting space beyond a wood screen.

Like a painting, the ash-wood and steel staircase anchors The Shop. Equally important, however, are the surrounding elements and features. The space is organized with private offices located along the perimeter. The offices vary in size to accommodate fulltime tenant needs. (The Shop houses fulltime tenants with permanent space, in addition to its coworking space.) Windows between offices provide additional light and create a sense of an open plan while maintaining privacy and security. Additionally, shared amenities like the conference rooms and copy/print center are centrally located, thus alleviating wayfinding concerns. Eclectic graphic wallpaper, light fixtures, furniture and rugs were selected to reinforce the varied nature of the changing media on display in the galleries below.

The heart of The Shop is The Commons, an area on the third floor designed to facilitate conversation and connection. It boasts a full kitchen, beer and cold-brew coffee taps, and communal and recreational space. Comfortable lounge furniture was sourced from a variety of vendors and paired with vintage pieces to bring a living-room sensibility to an office setting. Hot desks that allow multiple workers to use the same workspace at different times and fixed banquettes accommodate diverse types of work. Lighting was organized to delineate a wide variety of seating experiences, in addition to accenting key features, like custom murals that were commissioned throughout the space. Local and national artists were brought in to adorn the walls with the goal of connecting the coworking tenants with the art community. Phone booths were placed on both floors and allow for private conversations and quiet workspace. Some phone booths feature countertops while others have lounge seats. [Editor’s Note: Learn more about the trend of installing phone booths into open office designs in “Trend Alert”.] Decorative sconces and graphic wallpaper create a welcoming, intimate atmosphere.

All these elements merge together to create what is holistically a unified endeavor in support of New Orleans’ community. Diverse tenants now occupy the space, including several independent non-profits, an interior designer, law offices and artists. Residency at The Shop also offers users full membership to the CAC, which CAC representatives report they are keen to enjoy. In only a short time since opening, The Shop achieved its target goal of 100 percent occupancy.

Designed to facilitate conversation and connection, The Shop offers small businesses, entrepreneurs, and arts-based professionals the resources they require to grow and flourish. As CAC representatives hoped, The Shop has been a resounding success.

To achieve the required fire separation between existing occupancy and the new office areas, 4 inches of concrete was laid over the wood floors on the third floor. The concrete then was polished, which complements the raw, industrial character of the space.

Retrofit Team

ARCHITECT OF RECORD: Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, New Orleans

  • Steve Dumez, FAIA
  • Jose Alvarez, AIA, LEED AP
  • Hussein Alayyan, LEED AP BD+C
  • Jill Traylor-Mayo, NCIDQ
  • Emily Heausler, IIDA
  • Andy Redmon, LEED AP

DEVELOPER: Domain Cos., New Orleans, (504) 304-0014

MEP ENGINEER: YKM Consulting LLC, Metairie, La.


GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Palmisano Group, New Orleans

CABINETWORK, CUSTOM WOODWORK AND FIXED SEATING: Construct: Custom Architectural Fabrications LLC, New Orleans


EIFS, ACM Cladding: Amerimix 

Moisture Barrier: Sto Corp.

Storefront and Sliding Doors: Kawneer

Autoclaved Aerated Concrete: Hebel

Built-up Roofing: Soprema

Ipe Deck: Advantage Lumber

Metal-frame Windows: Wausau Window and Wall Systems

Glass: Viracon

Skylights: Birdview Skylights

Entrances: Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope

Metal and Wood Doors and Exit Devices: ASSA ABLOY

Fire-control Doors, Security Grilles: Won-Door

Special Doors: Modernfold Inc.

The Shop boasts an intimate outdoor rooftop deck.

Upswinging and Bifold Doors: P C Henderson

Locksets, Closers and Pulls: Yale

Security Devices: Kisi

Acoustical Ceilings: FilzFelt and Ultima from Armstrong Ceiling & Wall Solutions

Suspension Grid: Suprafine from Armstrong Ceiling & Wall Solutions

Paints and Stains: Benjamin Moore

Wall Coverings: Eykon, Maharam, NLXL and Trove

Plastic Laminate: Laminart

Solid Surfacing: Caesarstone and Cosentino

Special Surfacing: Offecct and FilzFelt

Floor and Wall Tile: Iris Ceramica, Daltile and Crossvilleh

Carpet: Tandus Centiva and Masland

Office Furniture: Knoll and DARRAN Furniture

Reception Furniture: custom

Chairs: Johanson Design, Global Furniture USA, Sandler, HOWE, Bernhardt, Article, Room and Board, Gus*, Zuo, Andreu World, Nuevo, Grand Rapids Chair Co., Industry West, Hay, Blu Dot, Soho Concept, CB2 and 1stdibs

Tables: OFS, DARRAN Furniture, Hightower, Gus*, Berco, Misewell, Article, Goodwood NOLA and CB2

Upholstery: Maharam, Knoll, Camira, Valley Forge Fabrics and Designtex   

Rugs: CB2, Restoration Hardware, BluDot, Surya, and Room and Board

Interior Ambient Lighting: Zuo, Schoolhouse, Lambert & Fils, Avenue Lighting, Kichler, Roll & Hill, Circa Lighting, Workstead, Jayson Home, Modernist, Flos and Prudential Ltg.h

Downlights: LiteForm, Eaton and Prima Lighting

Tasklighting: Lumato

Exterior Lighting: Bruck Lighting

Dimming System, Lighting Controls: Legrand

Lavatory: Sloan and Elkay

Urinal: Sloan

Faucets: Sloan and Chicago Faucets

Building Automation System: Siemens

PHOTOS: Neil Alexander

About the Author

Hussein Alayyan, LEED AP BD+C
Hussein Alayyan, LEED AP BD+C, is an architectural designer with New Orleans-based Eskew+Dumez+Ripple Architects. He has acquired a significant portfolio of domestic and international work that reflects his interests in many building typologies, including residential, civic, interiors and urban design.

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