Freehand LA is a 226 room hotel, housed in the historic Commercial Exchange building in Downtown Los Angeles. Created by Sydell Group, Freehand LA offers 167 private accommodations in addition to 59 shared rooms, ranging from a spacious Corner Suite to a Super 8 Bunk Room.
The hotel expands Freehand into the luxury space with the addition of superior rooms and suites, as well as amenities including doormen and room service. In keeping with the brand’s ethos, the hotel combines the social culture of a hostel with innovative design by Roman and Williams, exceptional food & beverage, and a strong sense of community.
Extensive public spaces include a restaurant, a rooftop pool & lounge which will be home to the award-winning Broken Shaker, a communal lobby area with salon-style cocktail service, grab & go coffee by Café Integral, and a concept store by Venice’s Flowerboy Project. Later this year, Sydell Group will open The NoMad hotel, one short block away, creating a complimentary experience and furthering Downtown LA’s cultural and culinary renaissance.
Inspired by the history of the Commercial Exchange building and the revitalization of Downtown Los Angeles, Freehand LA embodies a sense of urbanism that is uniquely Californian. Developed by Rudolph Rosenberg in 1924, the Commercial Exchange building played a significant role in the expansion of Los Angeles’ metropolitan core. It is where local businesses, like the Owl Drug Company, had its first retail drug store – and where Edgar Rice Burroughs, the creator of Tarzan, had his publishing headquarters.
Sydell’s long-time Freehand collaborator Roman and Williams bridged the gap between these two eras to create a conversation between past and future, layering a modern interpretation of LA’s evolving urban landscape over meticulously restored interiors. Outfitted with handcrafted furnishings, vibrant tapestries, earthy decorative elements and murals by local artists, Freehand LA is a relaxed, California oasis in a bustling, urban setting.
Guest rooms are outfitted with vibrantly colourful textiles and dynamic accents including custom light fixtures, case goods & upholstery, and painted tile. Similar to rooms at the Freehands in Miami & Chicago, Freehand worked with local manufacturers and artisans to create custom furniture and decorative elements with a focus on the American craftsman aesthetic.
A mural by LA art collective CYRCLE adorns the building’s lightwell, and amenities including toiletries by Argan, a full minibar with a variety of local snacks and gifts, bathrobes, slippers, and room service add to the Freehand LA’s elevated experience.
MunnWorks LLC specialise in the manufacture of bespoke mirrors, created to meet the unique specifications of hospitality designers worldwide. Operating globally, the company has built up a fantastic reputation for breathing life into new ideas and creating unforgettable experiences.
On Freehand LA, MunnWorks LLC produced a large quantity of full-length and vanity mirrors framed in American white oak. Additionally, the company manufactured a series of coat and towel racks to match the framed mirrors, creating a curated experience.
MunnWorks LLC Marketing Manager, Brent Terry, said:
“The designers of Freehand LA have a reputation that engages with local manufacturers for an American-craftsman aesthetic. We were thrilled to be a part of such a project, producing all their hardwood frames in our New York facility.”
Another standout element of Freehand LA is the hotel’s restaurant, The Exchange, which pays homage to the restored 12-story blade sign (the largest in LA) under which its entrance proudly sits. The restaurant is led by the team behind Bar Lab, who brought the beloved 27 Restaurant to Freehand Miami, and Angeleno chef Alex Chang, best known locally for his Paladar dinner series at USC.
Similar to 27 Restaurant in Miami, where dishes explore the city’s many flavours through a Latin lens, the menu at The Exchange explores the multicultural flavours of urban LA through an Israeli lens – incorporating flavours & practices from Chang’s Asian & Mexican background, with a strong focus on local produce. Outfitted with communal tables to mimic the menu’s shared format, Exchange’s interiors are inspired by the experience of being outdoors – with plants and terrariums tucked throughout the restaurant in a nod to the California desert. Original mosaic tile “owls”, which represented the former entry to the Owl Drug Store, have been restored and are featured throughout the restaurant.
Gabe Orta & Elad Zvi of Bar Lab introduce a new cocktail concept in the hotel’s lobby, called Rudolph’s Bar & Tea. Set in the Commercial Exchange Building’s original foyer, the bar will exude a relaxed sophistication, with sourced vintage furniture and decorative objects, and a menu built around tea-infused cocktails, vintage spirits, and light bites.
Bar Lab are also bringing the acclaimed Broken Shaker bar to the hotel’s rooftop. Similar to the Miami outpost, the West Coast iteration is a departure from city nightlife with lush greenery, vintage furniture, and a laid back vibe.
The Broken Shaker LA is an urban retreat, with a rooftop pool, city views, and a garden overgrown with trees paying homage to the California hills. The bar’s menu features a variety of cocktails infused with homemade elixirs, fresh herbs and produce, and street-food inspired snacks that bring coastal flavours to the city. Known for marrying playful, hand-crafted cocktails with hospitality, The Broken Shaker has been nominated for two James Beard awards, named one of the “The World’s 50 Best Bars” in 2014, 2015 & 2016 – and was awarded the Best American Hotel Bar at the 2016 Tales Of A Cocktail Spirited Awards.
Off the hotel’s lobby is an outpost of the popular Venice shop, Flowerboy. Created by local interior designer Sean Knibb (a long time Sydell collaborator) and inspired by his grandmother’s flower store in his native Jamaica, Flowerboy will carry fresh flowers and wares including pottery, candles, fragrances and jewellery.
Freehand LA is also partnering with the Sabah Dealer on Little Sabah West, a traveller’s general store in an alcove to the left of the hotel’s entrance. Run by the creator of the popular Sabah shoe, Mickey Ashmore, Little Sabah West will carry Sabahs, travel guides, vintage books, art & photography.