Inside Kevin Hart’s Bold and Artful West Hollywood Office

There’s a quiet, meditative affirmation that Kevin Hart likes to repeat himself: “Oprah was in this bitch!”

Okay, he actually says it to everyone, not quietly at all, but it’s true. A year ago, the comedian’s production company, Hartbeat, took over the Oprah Winfrey Network’s 40,000-square-foot West Hollywood office building. And after a whirlwind redesign, Hart now wheels and deals in the very room where Oprah once considered running for president (okay, there’s no evidence of that actually being true, but we can imagine it).

“There’s an energy in this room,” Hart says in a new video tour from AD. “Every once in a while, The Oracle herself speaks to me. I’m trying to get a real mold of Oprah’s hand so I can slap Oprah five every time I leave out. The question is, How am I going to get it?”

But, if Hart likes to luxuriate in Oprah’s lingering spirit, Kai Williamson of Studio 7 Design Group says he was ready to rethink the previous occupant’s “palette of off-white and creamier palette, inspired by coastal design,” as the designer puts it. Hart had something a bit edgier in mind.

“I love the feel of modern [design],” Hart says. “I want open spaces. I want a lot of glass. Because in an open space, when you see people being collaborative and communicating and talking, guess what you’re going to do? You’re going to do the same thing. Energy feeds off energy.”

Hart asked Williamson to take on the project after working with her on his LA restaurant, Hart House, and it was a doozy of an assignment. Hartbeat’s former office was only around 9,000 square feet, less than a fourth of the size, and the team wanted to move into the new space fast. So Williamson had just six weeks to create the design—making both architectural and material selections—before handing over the plans to get construction permits.

Building a design around Hartbeat’s core colors—red and black—took some imagination. “I just want to say, I’m very proud of the use of red as a palette, because it’s a tricky color,” Williamson tells AD. But rather than shy away from the challenge, Williamson made a bold proposal. “When you first show a client red marble, they look at you like it’s outrageous,” she says. “But we showed them how this Rosa de Banza marble could be a core design element, really anchoring the main space. We wanted to celebrate modern design elements and use saturated and bold natural elements, to give it a sense of warmth.” Sure enough, everyone loved it.

Williamson also wanted to go bold when it came to artwork in the space, and she worked with Creative Art Partners to curate an impressive collection of pieces from artists—many of them from Africa and the diaspora—like Serge Attukwei Clottey, Gideon Appah, Feni Chulumanco, and Moffat Takadiwa.

Williamson always knew that one of the most meaningful spaces in the building would be the screening room, where the team watches and workshops their productions. “That’s the space they’ve grown in as a media company,” she says. So she chose a color palette that was different from any other room in the building, and Hart thinks he knows why.

“I think Kai made this room blue because she loves clouds,” he says dreamily. “Light clouds that ultimately turned dark after rain. She’s a deep thinker.” Or, as Williamson says, “Blue felt more unexpected, and it had this kind of calm, serene feel.” Calm, at least, until after the screening when, when Hart says the team will often head to the bar area for a toast.

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