Commune Design is a Los Angeles-based design studio founded in 2004 with a reputation for holistic work across the fields of architecture, interior design, graphic design, product design, and brand management. The firm has designed residential, commercial and hospitality projects worldwide, a wide array of home and lifestyle products, as well as graphic and branding concepts for the fashion, arts and entertainment industries.
The studio values the strength of the collective mind, believing that authentic creativity and innovation come from collaboration. The true virtuosity of their work comes from their collaborations with each other as well as with other members of the community. Since its inception, Commune Design has worked with artists and craftsmen across the U.S. and beyond.
Founded by Roman Alonso, Steven Johanknecht, Pamela Shamshiri, and Ramin Shamshiri, Commune Design is noted for its eclectic assemblages that work in harmony with their surroundings, while paying homage to historical, traditional, and international design. The firm’s environmental sympathies are expressed in their conscientious selection of materials and echoed in their appreciation for original architecture and its elements.
Roman Alonso was born in Caracas, Venezuela. Upon graduation from Boston University with a Bachelor of Science in film and art history, Roman began working in publishing at Connoisseur and Mirabella magazines in New York. He then moved on to public relations and marketing, first at Barneys New York where he was the Director of Corporate PR and then at Isaac Mizrahi & Co where he was Vice President and Image Director. In 1998, he co-founded Greybull Press in Los Angeles, an art publishing company focusing on photographic books.
Steven Johanknecht grew up in upstate New York. Following studies in Communication Design at the Rochester Institute of Technology, Steven spent a year in Rome at Temple University graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Tyler School of Art. He moved to New York City where he became Vice President of Display and Store Design for Barneys New York during twelve of the store’s most influential years. He later worked as the Vice President of Retail Design for Donna Karan, Retail Image Director for Banana Republic and Design Director for Studio Sofield.
Pamela Shamshiri was born in Tehran, Iran, and raised in Los Angeles. Upon graduation from Smith College with a Bachelor of Arts in architecture and art history, she attended New York University where she earned her Master of Fine Arts in production design. In 1998, Pam returned to Los Angeles and co-found Sham Interior Design & Events with her brother, Ramin. She traveled around the world working as a production designer on films and music videos with directors such as Lasse Hallström, Spike Lee and Phil Morrison and for commercial clients including Nike, Vogue, Sony, AT&T and the Bronx Zoo.
Interior Design Projects by Commune Design
Angeles National Forest, 2019
The intent was to blend a variety of inspirations within the original hundred-year-old historic cabin. The firm looked at Swedish and French chalets, Japanese and Shaker design details all through the framework of utility and function. Every bit of space was utilized creating places to stash gear and organize clutter for a weekend trip… All materials and furnishings were transported down a narrow canyon path by pack mule or hand-built wheel barrel.
Santa Cruz, California, 2020
This residence, located on a bluff above a surf break in Santa Cruz, California was designed in collaboration with Feldman Architecture. The house, lined inside and out with Monterey Cypress salvaged locally by Evan Shively at Arborica, was handcrafted with a keen eye for detail by RJL Construction. Other natural materials; including soapstone, plaster, concrete and unlacquered copper and brass, were chosen for their propensity to patina with time, particularly in the salt air. A conceit based on a ‘professor who surfs’ provided inspiration for interiors filled with a number of commissions from a long list of artists, artisans and designers including Stan Bitters, Tripp Carpenter, Tanya Aguiniga, Doug McCollough, Alma Allen, BBDW, Sam Malouf and Nakashima Workshops; mixed with custom upholstered seating, vintage furnishings, found objects and lots of books. The goal was to achieve spaces that feel free-spirited but intellectual, casual and highly practical yet fully considered.
San Francisco, California, 2019
Designed in collaboration with Feldman Architecture, this 5000-square-foot residence in San Francisco was handcrafted from the ground up. Inspired by modernist Scandinavian architecture, the house has a limited material palette of lime-washed Norman brick, black terracotta tile, plaster, copper, blackened bronze and salvaged local redwood, walnut and elm. All cabinetry, doors, windows and railings were handcrafted as well as all decorative elements including the Stan Bitters fireplace in the outdoor living room. The young clients wanted a home “to grow old in” with interiors that are classic, inviting and layered with commissioned furniture pieces, custom rugs and vintage furnishings.
Santa Monica, California, 2018
Renovation of a 3,000-square-foot apartment in a 1960s building in Santa Monica, California. The floor plan was reconfigured to connect all rooms and open them up to views of the Malibu Coast. Everything in the property was fully customized to the client and their request to “bring in the outdoors” was achieved through the use of a color palette inspired by Le Corbusier’s Maison La Roche.
Marin County, California, 2017
Renovation of a ten-acre vacation compound in Northern California, including the main house, originally built in the 1930s, two tents and two cabins. The goal was to enhance the interiors with handcrafted millwork and furniture pieces by local artisans, as well as a large selection of objects and furnishings, ultimately creating an elevated camping experience for a family of six.
Beverly Hills, California, 2017
Renovation of a historic Spanish Colonial 7,500 square foot home in Beverly Hills, including all interiors and reconfiguration of the second floor to carve out a large master suite, including his/her dressing areas, bath and office. The interiors reflect the owner’s love of color and mix of furnishings. Hand stenciled motifs and custom tiles added further personalized touches.
Berkeley, California, 2016
Interiors for a historic Craftsman built in 1915 in the Berkeley Hills and later renovated by Studio Geiger. The client wanted interiors that were “beautiful but practical at the same time” for themselves and their two young daughters to enjoy on a daily basis for many years to come. We brought in natural light and layers of pattern and color, as well as a mix of American handcrafted furniture and early 20th century Scandinavian, Brazilian and Austrian furnishings.
Los Angeles, California, 2015
Interiors for a historic Spanish Colonial home in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles. Our intent was to pay respect to the existing architecture, original hand-painted ceilings and scale of the rooms while introducing contemporary furniture pieces and art collections.
Paris, France, 2015
Interior renovation of an artist garret apartment in the 17th arrondissement in Paris. The overall design intent was to blend the attitude and style of both California and Paris for a client who splits time between both locations. The compact size of the living space was unified by creating built-in oak millwork and paneling throughout. A Corbusier-inspired staircase leads to a balcony guest space.
Los Angeles, California, 2018
Renovation of a 1200-square foot apartment in a 1960’s building in the Los Feliz section of Los Angeles, California. The intent was Bauhaus meets mid-century, using a simple approach with all materials, finishes and details. The space was unified by using a combination of white and red oak for floors and custom millwork throughout. The same white Carrera marble is used in the kitchen and bathrooms. Interior furnishings are a combination of styles and colors with consideration of the landscape and views of the mountains outside.
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