On a recent afternoon at Spring Place, the new members-only club in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood, the atmosphere was so hush-hush that even directions to the bathroom were whispered.
In the reception area, one prospective member strained to hear her tour guide assure her that “everything is steeped in the arts” at Spring Place, a playground for the creative class that doubles as a workspace.
To be sure, a number of immaculately dressed creative types were working—huddled together in private, sun-soaked conference rooms or hunched over Macbooks in a large communal space outfitted with midcentury furniture—which partially explained the library voices.
Sipping wine in one of the dining rooms, the same creative types also kept their voices lowered when discussing everything from weekends in the Hamptons to the Spring Place “ecosystem.”
It has been less than a month since Spring Place officially and quietly opened, and the club seems dedicated to making sure things remain quiet.
There was little media buzz about a party debuting the club’s 11,000 square foot rooftop several weeks ago, bar a Page Six gossip item claiming Leonardo DiCaprio and some Victoria’s Secret models were among the 2,000 guests that night.
The anti-publicity drive seems to be predicated on the idea that the less the public knows about Spring Place, the more likely jet-setting creative professionals will seek it out as a space where they can host meetings with clients and cavort with other jet-setting creative professionals.
Spread across three floors in the same building as Spring Studios—the multimedia events space that houses New York Fashion Week shows, the Tribeca Film Festival, and the Independent Art Fair—Spring Place is a collaborative workspace and social club for these high-rolling creative elites, particularly those in the top tier of the art, fashion, and design worlds.
When explaining Spring Place’s vision and “ecosystem” to prospective members and other guests, staffers frequently cite a kind of partnership with Spring Studios. “Their clients are our members, our members are their clients,” as the refrain goes.
“The idea is to sell a community of people that already exists,” said co-founder Francesco Costa, speaking on the phone from his home in London. “They travel among cities. They all know each other and have active social lives. Our job is to provide a workspace that has the same aesthetic they’re used to, and to provide the right business connections so that a young creative director can meet with a photographer, or a movie producer can meet with talent.”
Spring Place aims to be a cut above a growing crop of member clubs that mix business and pleasure, from the British-born Soho House, now a global franchise, to Neuehouse, a stylish co-working space in New York and Hollywood, with a location in London set to open next year.
Unlike Soho House, which caters to hipster youths and creative-ish people who can afford the dues, Spring Place cares less about age than influence. They don’t want the space to be crawling with twentysomething men and women working on screenplays—or crawling with anyone, for that matter, since people tend to join private clubs to get away from crowds.
Neuehouse may be a beautifully designed workspace, but it doesn’t have as many social perks as Spring Place. Nor does it have the benefit of being part of the Spring Studios community.
If membership fees are any indication of a club’s status, then Spring Place comes out way ahead of its competitors. After passing all the screening tests and paying a $2,000 initiation fee, “local” members pay an additional $900 a month for access to everything the club offers, or $600 for members under the age of 30. Other members pay $3,600 for 36 all-access days (a “traveler” membership), or to take advantage of the club’s social scene all year round.
The lowest-tier membership at Spring Place costs more than Soho House’s annual $2800 “every house” member fee ($4,300 for those who wish to join the ultra-exclusive, new Little Malibu House, where members must pay a $1,500 premium in addition to the $2800 “every house” fee). Neuehouse annual fees start at $1800.
Spring Place hopes to be a refuge for the Leonardo DiCaprios of the world, i.e., megacelebrities—“a place where you can work or have a drink without people stopping and wanting to talk to you,” said Costa, confirming that DiCaprio was indeed at the rooftop party. But the famous faces one might encounter at Spring Place are incidental to its mission: the club wants to be exclusive, but “not in a snobbish way,” according to Costa.
The overarching goal is to facilitate collaborative efforts between people who work in art, fashion, design, and entertainment. “If we give you a beautiful office, you can generate more business with other members who work in your field,” Costa said.
That ambitious vision plays out in the sprawling space—1,400,000 square feet over three floors, two for business and one for pleasure—with its soaring ceilings, Brazilian-brutalist concrete walls, blackened steel, and midcentury furnishings.
The whole place looks like it’s been freshly and tenderly wiped down with a diaper, as do the well-dressed, beautiful people whirring around inside. A pretty face and an expensive-looking, downtown-chic wardrobe is seemingly part of the job description for those working on site.
At reception, three striking young women behind the front desk; bright wood floors; and a handsome sitting area with all manner of fashion and design magazines arranged in a tidy yet creative display.
If you’ve arrived in New York from Berlin and need a personal assistant for a day, a concierge will find you an eminently capable one in-house. She’ll also arrange a messenger to rush-deliver your photo proofs to a client and book you a table at a restaurant that only takes reservations months in advance.
Other first-class amenities elevating Spring Place above a crop of stylish workspace-member clubs include temporary showrooms, executive boardrooms, insulated booths for private calls, a reference library, and tech support.
All of this suggests that Spring Place is more grown up than other members-only clubs for creative professionals.
As one anonymous member put it, Spring Place is “more sophisticated and more clipped” than Soho House, where he’s also a member. He argued that even the chinaware and glassware were nicer at Spring Place. It occurred to me during my visit that the sight of two staffers wielding Marvis toothpaste—the aesthete’s preferred brand—to remove a stain on a bespoke table by Martino Gamper is not something one would see at Soho House.
Indeed, Spring Place isn’t just a networking playground with a pool. The concept is more streamlined, the people more serious.
Still, there’s an entire floor where members can let their hair down, including a restaurant, bar, and lounge open from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Members can rent out one of two private dining rooms (the fashion designer Jason Wu recently did so for an intimate, jungle-themed dinner celebrating the launch of his new Grey collection).
There’s also a music room for karaoke and performances, and a sunken, all-red private screening room with a floating fireplace (Leonardo DiCaprio watched an NBA game there with his model playmates and friends).
While Spring Place has already attracted a slew of marquee names in fashion and entertainment—actor Adrien Brody, models Eva Herzigova, Constance Jablonski, Irina Shayk, and fashion designer Maxwell Osborne—most of the 200 members they’ve accepted so far are well-heeled creative and semi-creative types.
The club plans to open bigger locations in Red Hook and Los Angeles next year, both of which will have pools in addition to workspaces, and offices that they’ll rent out to other companies. More locations are in the works in London, Sao Paolo, Hong Kong, Milan, and Paris, in the city’s Marais and Saint-Germain neighborhoods.
The first New York members were admitted on May 1, and Costa said they now expect to admit an additional 100 members per month (there’s already a wait list), all of whom are vetted by an “executive membership committee” comprised of 30 people who are “quite influential in the creative industries” and who meet every two months to “evaluate member criteria.”
What exactly are those criteria?
“People who are mostly professionally independent or who have managed big companies and who will use Spring Place as a platform to generate more ideas,” Costa said, adding: “We want them to have jobs.”
The admission process involves meeting with prospective members to show them the space, then meeting a second time to have a final chat with someone on the membership committee or with co-founder Imad Izemrane, who is also president of Spring Place in New York.
During one of these final meetings, overheard during my visit on Tuesday, the conversation covered the kind of things one expects two phenomenally-wealthy businesspeople in creative spheres would discuss: their fancy mutual friends (chairman of LVMH in Asia); their fancy New York City zip codes (the prospective member is moving into the building “right across the street!” from the power player at Spring Place); and their fancy summer plans and sun-kissed skin (“it’s all that beautiful Sag Harbor sun.”)
At the end of this final interview, the Spring Place power player unofficially welcomed the prospective member, a woman who runs her own boutique brand management agency and splits her time between Paris and New York, declaring her the “perfect person” for the club and complimenting her “really good energy.”
“I don’t want to get too spiritual, but I really believe in energy, like most people do,” he said, just loud enough to make out over the music in the dining room. “That’s why we get along without knowing each other. And that’s what this place is hopefully going to become.”
This oblique, cheesy pitch about good vibes temporarily obscured the more superficial standards for entry to Spring Place—namely, who you know and how much money you make.