Occupant: Eli Broad
Title: Chairman and
Company: SunAmerica Inc.
Designer: Barbara Barry of
Barbara Barry Inc., Los Angeles
Style: Modern, minimalist
Getting off the elevator on the 37th floor at SunAmerica Center in Century City, Eli Broad’s taste in art grabs the visitor almost immediately. A gigantic conglomeration of overlapping sheets covered in silvery graphite splashes across the walls and hangs out into the space above the stairs that lead up to Broad’s 38th-floor office.
Broad, one of the world’s top art collectors, was personally involved five years ago in choosing the piece, which is titled Drawings and was created by artist Nancy Rubins. It is part of SunAmerica’s corporate collection.
While a number of works from the collection line the walls at SunAmerica Center, in Broad’s own office the art is limited to four small pieces set against simple white-oak furniture and soft wool drapery.
Broad’s office was designed to be a center of calm in his busy world, designer Barbara Barry says. In some ways, the almost-residential office is very much a portrait of Broad himself straightforward, low-key and pragmatic, a quiet space in the face of the awesome view outside the window: West Los Angeles from Point Dume to Palos Verdes.
“It’s all very quiet, so the overall summation of the room has strength to it, like Eli does,” Barry says. “It has a very timeless quality I strove for. Streamlined, not derivative of any period.”
L.A.’s richest man says he spends more time in the light, comfortable office than he does anywhere else in the world.
“Some people say I’m an A-type person and create enough activity,” Broad jokes in explaining his minimalist environment. “I’d rather have something calm, easy to live in, and in relatively good taste. Something that was serene, calm, something I could hang some art in, something that was functional.”
Barry, known for her uncomplicated interior layouts, designed Broad’s New York apartment, as well as the Santa Monica home of Kaufman & Broad Chairman and CEO Bruce Karatz.
The first thing one sees upon entering Broad’s office is a table and chairs where Broad meets with visitors. Small, practical details include space to spread out reports and a pull-out writing board for visitors on the other side of Broad’s desk. A larger table is hidden away in a conference room to the side, where Broad can slip out to take calls outside the earshot of visitors.
Though some might be stunned by the view, it’s not necessarily the sweeping vista that catches Broad’s attention.
When maintenance workers put out spikes to keep the birds off the ledge outside his window, Broad asked that they be removed so a falcon that had nested there would return.