New Orleans – After the devastating blow of a massive hurricane and the effects of the US housing crisis, Louisiana has become a promising canvas for entrepreneurs and innovative start-ups. New Orleans’ investment in cultivating tech companies has led to a rebranding of the city's historic centre as the Silicon Bayou. The clever nickname emerges from a burst of co-working locations, such as the recently opened The Shop, that offer space for a growing number of burgeoning companies.
Designed by architecture studio Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, the group uncovered the top two floors of a 1920s building to reveal its sprawling architectural history. The former warehouse – home to the city’s Contemporary Arts Center since the 1970s – has invited The Shop to create a positive environment for individuals and start-ups focused on technology, arts and cultural-based businesses. The exposed brick and pinewood beams are supplemented with murals from Californian-duo Cyrcle, along with a speckling of artworks integrated throughout the two floors. The expansive levels reference an ecosystem similar to that of the city: after being stripped back, the people summon the spirit to rebuild.