Name: Lorenzo Diggins Jr/The Essential Man
Location: The Unique Space | Downtown Los Angeles (Arts District)
Size: 180 square feet
Years lived in: A little over a month — Rented
Last week I took a visit to the new Unique Space in downtown LA, where I met Lorenzo Diggins, creator of The Essential Man and got a tour of his new workspace. TEM was established in 2010 first as a blog, and now after launching his lifestyle brand, Lorenzo is enjoying the perks of his new office/showroom in the heart of the arts district.
What I love most about TEM headquarters is its bright, airy quality and how it's equal parts showroom and working office. The mood board and the bookshelves are packed with ideas and inspiration which are clearly translated into Lorenzo's work (which he has displayed all around.) I look forward to seeing all the incredible things he has whipped up, including his new line of chambrays. As a part of the Unique Space, Lorenzo is surrounded by like-minded LA based artists and makers — a wonderful community and growing support system to keeping local businesses flourishing.
ABOUT THE ESSENTIAL MAN
"The Essential Man (TEM.) launched in 2010 as a personal blog from menswear designer Lorenzo Diggins Jr., where he shared his perspective on life and how it ultimately translated through style. Early on, Diggins realized that his continuously growing and captive audience provided the perfect platform to launch the men's lifestyle brand that he had always dreamt of creating. The first assortment of products were a 5-panel camp cap, a pocket notebook, a canvas tote, and a graphic tee, all of which have become staples for each collection. Diggins’ attention to the smallest details is what has wooed loyal customers to TEM. From the contrast fabrics all the way down to the clean packaging, TEM. focuses on subtle details, quality craftsmanship, and minimal design. In an effort to give back to the city that bred him, all of The Essential Man products are made in Los Angeles."
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: I definitely have a minimal aesthetic, but I also appreciate good statement pieces and pops of color.
Inspiration: I wanted my design space to reflect who I am as an individual but also give visitors insight into my vision for the brand. I’m all about visual communication, and my goal is to do the least amount of talking when it comes to my brand — I want the products to speak for themselves through the craftsmanship, design choices, fabrics. So my inspiration was to create an atmosphere to where hypothetically, if I wasn’t in the room to explain my vision, someone would still have a good idea of what TEM. is all about.
Favorite Element: I really love the exposed brick — it gives the space character.
Biggest Challenge: So far the biggest challenge has been figuring out how to utilize the tall walls and high ceiling. I am still thinking about minimal ways to take advantage of the wall space without making it feel too cluttered.
What Friends Say: I’ve only been here a little over a month, so I mostly hear that they are impressed with what I’ve managed to do with the space in a short period of time.
Area where there is room for improvement/future projects: Currently, I’m working on shirting, and as soon as I have more (finished product) to display, I’m going to install a fixture for the showroom wall (the wall with 3 TEM shirts hanging) to properly display the shirting and other goods I’m working on.
Proudest DIY: I am definitely more tech savvy than handy. The fact that I have an office filled with furniture that was not pre-assembled, I would consider this whole space one big DIY project!
Biggest Indulgence: My goal for the space was not only to keep it minimal in design, but also in $ spent! I forsee the showroom wall display potentially being the biggest indulgence.
Best Advice: Keep it simple and make sure to have the essentials: (high speed) internet, Macbook, iPad, Wacom pen tablet, portable external hard drive, Canon g15/Canon t31, and a printer. All of my other nerdy gadgets can stay at home.
Dream Sources: Every time I visit A+R on La Brea, I’m inspired — literally that whole store is curated to my liking.
Resources of Note:
Wacom Pen Tablet (for designing tech packs)
iPad Mini (My electronic assistant—keeps me organized)
Wacom Bamboo Stylus (NO finger prints/smears on my iPad.)
15inch MacBook Pro
G Tech External Hard-drive (very essential)
Internet Router (TEM HQ)
iHome Speakers (I always need music playing when I'm designing)
HP Printer (Black Friday Purchase)
Desk Legs: IKEA
Desk Top: Custom cut Birch Wood from Home Depot
Bench: Flea Market find
Desk Chair: IKEA Vilmar chair
Workspace Chairs: IKEA ADDE chair
Inspiration Wall Chair: Inherited
Pillow: TEM. Home (This is a sample I made of scrap fabric from a cap I produced in the past - select pieces will be released in 2014.)
Hangers: Container Store
"I'm and artist and I'm sensitive about my s***" poster: (From a project I’m doing with this print company,SY.LA)
Plants/Succulents: Housewarming gifts
Plant Pots: Housewarming gifts
Card Holder: Made Solid LA
Storage: IKEA Gorm Series
Drawer Units: IKEA Lennart Drawer Unit
Magazines: Kinfolk, Kindling Quartlerly, Monocle, and specifically the Kendrick Lamar Issue of GQ (seeing him on the cover of a widely spread publication and being from a similar place and having a similar upbringing is so inspiring for me.)
Thanks, Lorenzo + Traci!
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(Image credits: Bethany Nauert)