Lightcone Infrastructure (the organization that grew from and houses the LessWrong team) has just finished renovating a 7-building physical campus that we hope to use to make the future of humanity go better than it would otherwise.
We're hereby announcing that it is generally available for bookings. We offer preferential pricing for projects we think are good for the world, but to cover operating costs, we're renting out space to a wide variety of people/projects.
We determine pricing on a case-by-case basis, but a good approximation is $100 - $250 per person per day for retreats conferences and $25 - $75 per person for parties.
We offer some groups large discounts (including free), if we think what you are doing makes the world better. Do really reach out to us if price is an issue. We will often be able to work something out.
You can use your own caterer, or we can provide catering. Our default caterer offers meals from $20/meal to $50/meal that most visitors have found decently satisfying.
We engage in some price discrimination. If we think your best alternative to our venue would be much more expensive, we may charge more than our listed price. We try to find a fair price that splits the difference between our own costs and the value you get out of the space.
We also provide more bespoke services, for an additional charge (see below). Overall we try to be reasonable about pricing, and don't expect to make much profit on the space.
Some testimonials from people who have run or been to events here:
We had an incredible time at [Lighthaven] last week - many of the participants remarked how beautiful and cozy the campus is, and the atmosphere was extremely conducive for creative thinking and problem solving. All the little details from having lots of post-it pads and markers to mini fridges and fluffy slippers show how much thought was put into designing the space. Thanks especially to the Lightcone staff, including the cleaners, who responded quickly to all our strange requests, like packing vegetables in the fridge. We hope to be back at [Lighthaven] again at our next event, if there are vacancies!
– Shao Wei, organizer of "Finding the Right Abstractions" workshop run by the Topos Institute
The venue was really great, things went really smoothly, and I’m excited to use the space again in the future for similar events.– Alex Vermeer, MIRI head of Process and Projects
The venue was really great, things went really smoothly, and I’m excited to use the space again in the future for similar events.
– Alex Vermeer, MIRI head of Process and Projects
[Lighthaven] felt rambly and wondrous and fun without being pretentious? Felt like an incredibly-well-executed, 11-of-10 house party venue (laudatory) crossed with Disneyland.I am still learning about cool things and spaces in the venue that I missed (there was a robot sand table?)– Manifest attendee in the Manifest feedback form
[Lighthaven] felt rambly and wondrous and fun without being pretentious? Felt like an incredibly-well-executed, 11-of-10 house party venue (laudatory) crossed with Disneyland.
I am still learning about cool things and spaces in the venue that I missed (there was a robot sand table?)
– Manifest attendee in the Manifest feedback form
the venue itself is fucking gorgeous. i heard something like that ~2/3 of the time as i was walking guests of honor in & giving them a tour. something like “wow, how did you find this place?” or “damn, you guys got a good spot.”– Saul Munn, lead organizer of Manifest
the venue itself is fucking gorgeous. i heard something like that ~2/3 of the time as i was walking guests of honor in & giving them a tour. something like “wow, how did you find this place?” or “damn, you guys got a good spot.”
– Saul Munn, lead organizer of Manifest
Man, I really like the aesthetics. Other people seemed to also.“Well appointed” is the phrase that keeps coming to mind for me. Lots of things I needed were nearby when I needed them. Having supplies in multiple areas is a good call and I think your supply list is pretty good.The layout was also good for movement, good for thought.The math and science decorations were great.Vibe: it felt like you were happy to have us there and happy to help. That’s a nice and unusual thing!– Caitlin Elizondo, Head of People Operations at the Centre for Effective Altruism
Man, I really like the aesthetics. Other people seemed to also.
“Well appointed” is the phrase that keeps coming to mind for me. Lots of things I needed were nearby when I needed them. Having supplies in multiple areas is a good call and I think your supply list is pretty good.
The layout was also good for movement, good for thought.
The math and science decorations were great.
Vibe: it felt like you were happy to have us there and happy to help. That’s a nice and unusual thing!
– Caitlin Elizondo, Head of People Operations at the Centre for Effective Altruism
For an additional charge we can provide (among many other things):
Our team has a lot of experience running all kinds of different events, from small 15-20 person dinners to 1000+ person conferences, to 2-month fellowships and research programs.
We can’t guarantee we can provide everything you need, but if you are facing some kind of problem or obstacle in the course of preparing or running your event, we can probably help you.
The AtriumUpstairs has a common space and 7 bedrooms. Downstairs is great for parties and weekend conferences (though not available during weekday business hours).
The Bayes House20 bedrooms, it can host sessions of up to 60 people. Includes the surrounding gardens (200+ capacity).
The CottageStorage and laundry. You can store things here during events.
The DenFront of building has 7 offices/event-spaces. Back of building has 4 of our nicest and most secluded bedrooms.
The Extension4 small session spaces and/or bedrooms, a gym, and a 60 person session space.
The FarmhouseCommon space surrounded by beautiful gardens and a nice outdoor bar.
The GuesthouseAn additional house a block away, with 10 additional bedrooms.
While this post is mostly about our event space offerings, we will also run our own events, fellowships, research programs and we and many of our collaborators are working on a daily basis from Lighthaven.
I expect the number of people working here to grow over time as we try to make this place into the center of a bustling community that will hopefully somehow make the future of humanity go better. If we can do it while we provide services that fund a good chunk of our ongoing operations and engage in the capitalist enterprise and produce surplus through trade, even better.
I have been to two conference-style events here, in both cases staying on site. It's a pretty great venue. Lots of natural places to gather comfortably in various sizes, relaxing atmosphere with lots of green, mix of indoor and outdoor, lots of rationalist-style snacks and items lying around, catering has been solid.
Only caveat is that the largest place to put an indoor presentation or meeting caps out lower than some conferences are going to want - for Manifest it was right at the edge and they set up a video feed outside.
(And it is where it is, in Berkley, for better and for worse, of course).
For anyone else who was wondering: it's physically located in Berkeley (mentioned on the website but not in the post).
Manifold market is now up for people to predict how much revenue Lighthaven will bring in over the next 12 months!
I didn't realize this at first, but the linked website has a lot more photos.
It’s a bit tricksy because we’re adding more over time.
Also re: the images on the website, is it intentional that images in the gallery view (i.e. when clicking on an image) are so small? It seems a bit weird that the image width in the gallery is apparently fixed to 800 px, to the point that I can't make out many details, and yet most raw images are much much larger.
It looks like we were accidentally limiting the size of the modal gallery. I just changed the styling so they should appear larger (may take a couple minutes for the site to update)
This is much better.
Are all the bedrooms like the ones you displayed? They weren't all like that when I visited, but that was a while back.
The variance in different rooms is quite large, but we also did a pretty huge amount of work making rooms nicer. So my guess is it's a mixture of "rooms look a lot more like the ones shown here than when you last visited" and "some rooms do just look very different than this".
We have a bunch of different bedrooms of various sizes/shapes/prices. We'll probably get more info up about them over time. (The current website is basically the minimal version we felt good about launching with after a couple days of work)
If you're running an event and Lighthaven isn't an option for some reason, you may be interested in Atlantis: https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/pvz53LTgFEPtnaWbP/atlantis-berkeley-event-venue-available-for-rent
Very cool! I'm curious: what are some concrete use cases here?
Rationalist(adjacent) stuff is somewhat obvious, but I wonder how far it extends. Like, do you envision a local Python meetup maybe wanting to use the space? Random individual rationalists wanting to sleep over for a few days for fun? Google paying to have their Search team go on a retreat and mingle with smart people?
My guess is that the ultimate hope here is for:
Mostly because all events have some fixed overhead, and it's not quite worth it for meetups or groups that are smaller. The reason we bought the place was to do various on-mission stuff, the reason we're marketing it outside of that is for making sure we have enough funding to do our other mission-aligned stuff.
But, this is all my off-the-cuff thoughts, not a considered company policy or anything.
Kind of a silly question, but: how much did such a compound cost to buy/renovate, and how much does it cost to run? Just asking because I’m curious, and because it’s just past the threshold of "sufficiently bigger/with more amenities than a regular house that I can’t trust my extrapolations"
We've written a bit about the costs involved with buying/renovating the space. The property plus renovations cost around $20M. This is mostly driven by very high Bay Area property prices and labor costs.