Posts tagged with "Office Interiors":

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Fogarty Finger frames the Meatpacking District with glass, white oak, and black marble

Located across the street from Chelsea Market on 14th Street is a towering 270-foot-tall office building clad in sleek black metal panels and a glass curtain wall. Designed by CetraRuddy Architecture and opened last fall, 412 West 15th Street is the kind of new stately architecture that turns heads in New York’s largely brick-laden Meatpacking District. Spanning 130,000-square-feet across 18 floors, it offers tenants incredible views of its surrounding historic structures as well as abundant access to natural light.  Boston real estate firm Rockpoint Group and local company Atlas Capital called upon Fogarty Finger Architecture to design a corporate interior for a finance company within the newly-built tower, which the Tribeca-based studio finished up earlier this year. Led by Robert Finger, co-founder of Fogarty Finger and director of its interiors division, the main goal of the office project was to build a comfortable and hospitable space that framed powerful perspectives no matter where a worker might be sitting.  Read the full article on our interiors and design website, aninteriormag.com.    
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Elkus Manfredi breathes new life into Charles River Associates’ Chicago office

Rectifying the aesthetic gaffes of the past is not always an easy task. For the transformation of Charles River Associates' Chicago office, it was a question of converting a previously disjointed, dim-lit, and crowded office into a daylight-filled, expansive workplace. Boston-based architecture firm Elkus Manfredi Architects refurbished the two-level, 35,620-square-foot complex into a unified outpost for the international consultancy firm. Hoping to not make the same stylistic mistakes as the property's previous designers, Elkus Manfredi opted for a scheme that champions a timeless aesthetic. "Just because there is a trend, it doesn’t mean you have to follow it," explained the firm's senior workplace strategist & designer Linda MacLeod Fannon. "Charles River Associates' Chicago team truly investigated what was right for them versus what everyone else is doing.” Working closely with the company's internal team, Elkus Manfredi put forward a paradigm-shifting intervention that caters to different activities, tasks, and points of interaction. A balance of private and public areas was introduced, allowing the company's employees to accomplish quiet, focused, heads-down work but also to engage in spontaneous interactions. Read the full article on our interiors and design website, aninteriormag.com.
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AMAA embraces industrial decay with its own factory-to-office conversion

Over time, everything is romanticized and appropriated as nostalgic pastiche. Whether it be pastoralism—the idealization of rural life by a privileged elite in search of perceived simplicity and retreat—or the age-old bourgeois aspiration of emulating bohemian culture. For contemporary Europe, this sentiment comes with the mitigation of its manufacturing past. While, the glamorization of rustic life is indulgent, ignoring the harsh realities, the desire to rhapsodize the aesthetic qualities of machine-age architecture comes out of necessity: what does a society do with vast swathes of a crumbling postindustrial landscape. For some, the answer has been to convert old factories into sprawling cultural complexes. For others, it has been to raze these depilated zones and develop new architecture. A handful of historical industrial buildings, throughout Europe, have received a listed or heritage status in recent decades. Strict governmental regulations determine how these landmark-sites are renovated and adapted for new use. But what should happen to the rest of Europe’s less-glamorous industrial architecture? And what have studios, such as AMAA, done to adapt them? Read the full story on our interiors and design site, aninteriormag.com.
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ZGF Architects designs choose-your-own-adventure office space in Portland

Expensify is an expense management software company, so it’s fitting that its newest office in Portland, Oregon, is set inside one of the city’s historic bank buildings. Located on the corner of Southwest 5th Avenue and Stark Street, the 103-year-old First National Bank, or the “marble temple,” does not look like the home of an emerging tech enterprise. But the San Francisco–based brand has outfitted the four-story atrium and other spaces to respond to its need for flexibility without compromising the integrity of the structure.

Designed by ZGF Architects, the office reflects Expensify’s self-described “choose-your-own-adventure” work setting. Employees have an array of seating options, from a 41-foot-long communal table to a plush swing set, a classy boardroom, and a speakeasy-style salon with leather booths by Restoration Hardware—all except for personal desks. This goal of creating a 100 percent agile workplace drove all design decisions both large and small, according to Alan Gerencer, principal of ZGF.

Expensify also wanted its office to be a place where employees could directly connect with each other and the national landmark building. Gerencer explained that the interior was completely shelled out when they began work. “It was bare concrete,” he said. “Our effort was to define this space and still respect what was existing.”

To do this, ZGF referenced both the obvious and minute details on the building’s exterior as well as its Art Deco, skylit interior. For example, the firm imagined a set of floating conference rooms immediately visible from the bank’s main entrance that resemble a tree house. Built with glass and blackened steel, the triad of windows on the boxy structures mirror the bank’s expansive vertical windows. Angular chandeliers from Nemo Lighting, reminiscent of the opulent hanging lamps found in old banks, gleam inside. Additionally, the oak flooring by Kährs and millwork used throughout the entire office pay homage to the patterns of oak leaves and acorns on the historic bank vault doors.

Even the oak wood–clad private booths on the third floor, designed for quiet work and conversation, feature a Scandinavian gabled roof design that’s defined with the exact shape and proportions of the classical X-shaped balustrades and grilles nearby. All of these varied work areas allow employees to interact with the historic space on many different levels.

Because Expensify is leasing the office space, ZGF laid out the interior architecture to “gently touch” its historic core. “This whole structure could essentially be removed,” Gerencer said, “and no one would ever know Expensify was there.”

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Studio O+A’s design for the Slack Headquarters puts employees’ heads in the clouds

When Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield approached Studio O+A to design his company’s new San Francisco headquarters, he talked about wanting a design that would embrace the natural beauty of the West Coast, from the Cascadian forests of his youth to the California mountains where he loves to hike. It was up to the designers to figure out how to pack the wonder of landscapes like Joshua Tree and Yosemite into the 132,269 square feet of office space spread across six floors of a midrise downtown building. Sure, you can hear them saying, no problem.

The Studio O+A team came up with a neat conceit: The headquarters would be organized like the Pacific Crest Trail, with each floor mimicking a biome that a hiker would travel through on his or her journey. The lowest floor is covered in the warm brown tones of the Southern California desert, with potted cactuses to match, and successive floors above climb through climes, culminating in a forest-themed level with dappled overhead lighting and birch bark screens. The design is meant to orient workers as they navigate the building, a helpfulness inspired by the ethos of hiking, according to Primo Orpilla, Studio O+A cofounder and principal. “There’s a certain trail etiquette about helping people along the route—it’s about learning and discovery, and we used that as a design philosophy.”

Rather than mimicking nature literally, Studio O+A loosely translated landscape features like waterfalls and mountain lakes into custom details like cascading seating steps and sculptural lighting installations. Circular meeting nooks on the forest-themed floor are inspired by rings of trees known as “fairy circles.” To finish these designs, the team selected materials “you might not expect inside,” said Verda Alexander, cofounder at Studio O+A. “We were able to bring the outside in…with plants and materials like concrete block and gravel.”

The Slack office is an evolution from Studio O+A’s earliest work for tech giants such as Facebook, for which the firm stripped back warehouses to their raw industrial bones. “That was workplace 1.0,” Orpilla said, “and this is workplace 3.0.” While parts of the Slack office do flaunt exposed structural surfaces, overall the design is more additive than subtractive—more focused on building the company’s unique visual identity than creating a tabula rasa.

Such evolution is part of how Studio O+A keeps its designs original, even after working on dozens of tech offices. “We aim to never repeat details; we want the work to be special,” Orpilla said. “People come back to spaces like that.” Not that it’s easy to constantly rethink the way people work. “It does drive us crazy,” Orpilla said, “but it’s a good crazy.” Nothing a nice hike wouldn’t fix.

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BIG shows off its new full-block office in DUMBO

Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has completed its move to Brooklyn, setting up shop in a new 50,000-square-foot office space only a stone’s throw from the Brooklyn Bridge. BIG has consolidated its 250-person office onto a single full-block floor near the top of 45 Main Street in DUMBO. Designed by BIG’s in-house interiors team, the office is full of furniture and lighting fixtures from the Danish design firm and frequent BIG collaborator KiBiSi. The move to a larger office meant that the studio was able to quadruple the space allocated to its two fabrication and assembly spaces. Completed pieces can then move to an extra-height, skylight-lit room for displaying large-scale models and mockup furniture. A gallery on the south side of the floor connects the office’s eastern and western wings. The chairs inside of the glass-enclosed conference room are color-coded in reference to the studio’s monograph Hot to Cold and range from mild to vibrant, a flourish repeated in the perimeter-lining bookshelves. Rounding out the new office’s perks is a private roof deck that the studio can use for events and conference meetings, which is separate from the building's 9,500-square-foot green roof designed by James Corner Field Operations.
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Studio Gang's new Guggenheim Foundation HQ artfully makes space

Frank Lloyd Wright’s design for the Guggenheim Museum’s open, spiral atrium is fitting for an institution that’s wrapped up in democratizing art for the world. The space exudes an air of transparency and collaboration that’s translated across the museum's various exhibitions, big and small. What’s not on display are the behind-the-scenes spaces where the Guggenheim Foundation employees dream up the exhibitions seen on the white walls of the iconic mid-century building. For decades, the 200 people employed by the Foundation have sat confined to compact working quarters in a downtown Manhattan office building that inconveniently forced employees to waste time traveling to the Upper East Side museum by train. Now, thanks to an interior by Studio Gang, the Foundation’s new offices match the architectural efficiency of the museum and provide better accessibility all around. Located high up within the former US Steel Building, known today as One Liberty Plaza, the 30,000-square-foot headquarters features a bright, open office-plan that brings together the Foundation’s 18 departments and hundreds of staff members for the first time in the institution’s existence. To create as much room as possible, Studio Gang gut-renovated an entire floor plate in the column-free tower. The design team then integrated various types of workspaces into the design, including single-use cubicles, conference rooms, lounge areas, a reading room, and a canteen, to encourage new modes of formal and casual collaboration. They also outfitted the interior with a muted color palette and chose sustainable materials to regulate noise and heat, creating an overall atmosphere of calm and focus.  “One of the biggest problems the Foundation previously faced was that the departments couldn’t interact easily; they physically couldn’t see each other,” said Margaret Cavenagh, principal of interior architecture at Studio Gang. “So we decided to think about the new design as a series of city blocks with anchoring spaces.” Studio Gang placed individual workstations up against the windows or walls, giving employees ample opportunity for daylight, while collaborative spaces and private offices backed up against the core. A main circulation route, going east to west, was placed to serve as a laneway between the two ends and features the Foundation’s massive library and archival collection along its walls. “Once we had this urban-scale street running through the space, corners became plazas, and the open areas and collaborative spaces became easier to get to as well,” she said. Office design is an often overlooked form of architecture, but Studio Gang gave careful planning to each and every detail and kept some of the building's original elements. The original polished concrete gave the floors a clear and clean appearance, which helped maintain the modernist, industrial aesthetic of the structure. The exposed ceiling was amplified in style by integrating ceiling fins made of recycled water bottles from Turf Design. This helped create a unified look above and improve the acoustics. Upon entering the Foundation, Studio Gang displayed a massive model room, Cavenagh’s favorite spot. It features splayed-out models of the Guggenheim Museum itself, where curators and designers create mini mock-ups and layouts for exhibits. This sets the tone for an active, but manageable mood within the spacious environment. In the old office, employees used to be stepping over each other and there wasn’t room for quiet work or loud collaboration; the new office gives employees the best of both worlds. “We’re always doing interiors work thinking holistically about the space as an extension of architecture,” said Cavenagh. “We’re passionate about how we build for the future. The Guggenheim is stepping into a new chapter of growth and we hope this office will help them work smarter and feel better about their daily environment.”
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WeWork is using user data to chart their meteoric expansion

With a quarter million members in 283 buildings across 75 different cities (and another 183 locations in the pipeline), WeWork is on an expansion tear that’s grown to include retail, education, and maybe even full neighborhoods somewhere down the line. With the company’s first ground-up building, Dock 72, nearly complete in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, AN spoke with the designers and researchers who are making WeWork’s growth possible and tried to divine where the company is going next. In a conversation on the future of data and workplace design at the William Vale Hotel in Williamsburg, Devin Vermeulen, creative director, and Daniel Davis, director of fundamental research, discussed how WeWork is “refining the future of the open office.” Most architecture firms design offices as one-off projects and rarely collect feedback once the spaces are occupied, but because WeWork both designs and manages their co-working spaces, the company can collect post-occupancy data. Through the collection of data via user feedback and integrated sensors, the company has created a massive pool of information from which to build its design guidelines. Planning a floor layout within the constraints of existing buildings can prove challenging, and WeWork is constantly tweaking and updating its offices based on tenant feedback. Every WeWork location outputs a massive amount of what Davis calls “data exhaust,” the information collected as a byproduct of tenants going about their day. Davis points out that data is just a proxy for user interaction, and the feedback collected through WeWork’s room booking app or surveys is just one metric of how their occupants feel. The design of each location changes accordingly based on a user’s needs. Underutilized conference rooms can either be reconfigured to make them more appealing—cramped rooms can be reorganized, and dark rooms can be lit differently—or repurposed into different uses entirely. There’s no reason that a lesser-used conference room can’t be turned into a lounge if it draws tenants. Feedback is aggregated and forms the core of WeWork’s design guidelines worldwide. The key to translating those guidelines across 22 countries is that, as the senior vice president and head of design at WeWork, Federico Negro, describes, only 90 percent of the guidelines are used across all offices. The remaining ten percent varies to adapt to local markets. When WeWork expands into a new city or state, it hires local architects to adapt its traditional model. This might mean a long communal table in Scandinavian offices as everyone gathers to eat lunch together, or larger meeting rooms in China, where one-on-one meetings are eschewed for team gatherings. The local architectural team is vertically integrated with the maintenance staff and utilizes feedback on trash routes, the ease of changing light bulbs, and other practical considerations when creating a layout. As hyped as the bromance between Bjarke Ingels and WeWork cofounder Adam Neumann has been, the Danish architect won’t be contributing much to the company’s day-to-day architecture work; the first “chief architect” will be focusing his attention on marquee projects like the WeGrow pilot school. The ultimate goal of the collaboration is to help WeWork expand into neighborhood planning, something outside of their current design scope. WeWork’s furniture and lighting solutions may appear similar to what's used in other spaces, but everything at WeWork is designed and fabricated by in-house teams. The resultant pieces are tested in WeWork offices, tweaked, and rolled out as kits-of-parts for designers to mix and match as they see fit. On a recent visit to WeWork’s New York City headquarters in Chelsea, the sixth-floor lounge had recently been revamped with plants, technicolor couches, and custom lighting fixtures. The airy palette might have seemed novel to those familiar with the company’s darker coworking spaces of five years ago, but as WeWork grows and matures its aesthetic, what works in the headquarters will ultimately trickle down to its older locations. Negro describes the process as rolling out design like “software updates." Circulation has been given special emphasis in the company’s design considerations, according to Davis. While his team’s algorithmically-generated desk layouts may optimize the number of seats in a WeWork office, guiding people to navigate those spaces in a certain way helps encourage face-to-face interactions. The most obvious intervention is the staircase; at the Chelsea location, the stairs have been relocated to the center of the floor and connect to floating “sky lobbies." Each floor is anchored by its stair, and circulation flows around it out of necessity. That circulation can help guide and divide the energy of the floor, keeping raucous lounge get-togethers distinct from the more subdued private call booths or conference rooms. The company is continuing to expand into both new industries and client groups. During the time of writing this story the company announced that it would be jumping into the real estate brokerage game with WeWork Space Services. Enterprise clients like IBM now compose 25 percent of WeWork’s tenants and represent a new design challenge for the company, but having core information from its prior tenants is helping the design team navigate the transition, said Negro. As open offices continue to evolve, architects and interior designers have tweaked layouts and materials to optimize worker comfort and balance privacy concerns. Will the increasing availability of data help designers refine their solutions in the same way WeWork has done?
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Harvard study suggests open-office layouts hurt communication

Open-plan offices are all the rage. Companies continue to strip away walls, push desks together, and create higher energy environments in the name of fostering face-to-face interaction, but a new article titled "The impact of the ‘open’ workspace on human collaboration" published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences presents findings that suggest that open office designs might actually reduce in-person interaction. The article reports on a study conducted by Ethan Bernstein and Stephen Turban of Harvard Business School that is the first to quantifiably measure human interaction before and after implementing an open-office floorplan. The researchers tracked productivity among 52 individuals and discovered that taking away physical barriers caused employees to erect their own methods of isolation. The sample population was outfitted with badges that would measure the frequency and length of conversations, and that data was combined with email and instant message tracking. At the end of the 15-day study, researchers had found that employees spent 72 percent less time interacting in person and instead sent 56 percent more emails and 67 percent more instant messages, and that those messages were 75 percent longer on average. The company also reported that overall productivity had decreased after the layout change, which researchers attributed to less information being conveyed over email than in person. This dramatic change in interaction patterns was attributed to employees' increased visibility and lack of privacy. Once coworkers were able to see each other’s screens and more easily overhear conversations, they reportedly wore headphones more, cutting down on approachability, and tried to look busy at their computers, which meant sending more emails. Ultimately, the report found that the projected increases in productivity and promised spontaneous meetings ran up against the fundamental human need for privacy. Researchers also cautioned that while removing barriers would seem like an intuitive way to have employees engage with each other, mandated social interaction was much less efficient than occasional meetings. The downsides of designing office- and barrier-free workplaces, other than the acoustic challenges, aren’t new. AN questioned the trend in 2013 after a series of articles raised concerns that the privacy-communication tradeoff wasn’t working in employees' favor. A growing number of workers are also searching for quieter environs and wellness spaces outside of the office. While it’s unlikely that this report will be the final nail in the coffin of trendy industrial workplaces with rows of undifferentiated benching, it may help architects and interior designers keep privacy in mind when designing these spaces in the future.
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Fogarty Finger designs a domestic office for a financial firm in Flatiron

Most of us would prefer to keep our work and home lives separate, but as the line between office and living room continues to blur, the professional world is increasingly trading staid benches for plush couches. New York-based Fogarty Finger, together with Kevin Dumais, have recently completed a top-floor office in Manhattan’s Flatiron district that brings a homey touch to what would otherwise be a sprawling floorplate. 119 Fifth Avenue, smack dab between Union Square and Madison Square Park, might seem like an odd location for a wealth management firm. It’s not Wall Street, but as Fogarty Finger cofounder Robert Finger describes, financial firms are beginning to scout for locations that set them apart from their competitors. In the case of 119 Fifth Ave., the client requested a different type of workplace that would feel more like an extension of his home; he even brought in his own furniture, said Finger. The result, an 8,000-square-foot office for only six employees, uses soffits, residential furniture, and soft natural lighting (the ceilings are high enough for clerestory windows) to avoid feeling cavernous. Taking advantage of the office’s top floor location and soaring ceilings, Fogarty Finger and Dumais highlighted the historic cast iron building’s skylights over the central gathering places by framing them and illuminating them from within at night with installed lights. The building’s original ornate elevator frame and French windows were kept and restored as well. The design elements help further delineate the office’s programming. A more traditional office space adjacent to the reception lounge has been carved out with filing cabinets, cone-shaped overhead lights, and a specialized desk system, and the carpeted floors of the meeting rooms denote the transition from one discrete area to the next. Doors and partitions were specifically arranged to allow views framing the entire length of the floor, and contemporary art was strategically placed throughout to break up the larger spaces.
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A new wave of social and relaxation spaces bridges the gap between work and home

As anyone used to late-night emails knows, the nine-to-five workday is a thing of the past. But while innovative companies have traded cubicles for open, flexible office plans, people are seeking even more elastic social spaces that foster wellness and connection—both in the office and out. Consider them an updated version of the "third space," common areas where people go to unplug, reenergize, and decompress. "When we first got involved in workplace in the '90s, our interest was, ‘How can design contribute to creative communities?’" said architect Clive Wilkinson, whose Los Angeles firm has designed the interiors of the Googleplex campus and offices for other leaders in tech and media. "We were in a prehistoric era when cubicle farms still ruled. We’ve come so far since then," he continued, citing the shift from the afterthought coffee rooms of the 1980s to the "Starbucks workplace" of today’s laptops-and-lattes company cafes. "A large part of the social space in the workplace today is somewhere between a boutique hotel and your home," Wilkinson explained. "Depending on the type of client, it can go more one direction or the other." The aesthetic shift is due in part to the influence of designers like Philippe Starck, whose hospitality designs brought a glamorized domestic environment into public spaces, but it’s also a result of the premium put on today’s knowledge workers, noted Wilkinson, who is writing a history of offices tentatively titled The Theater of Work (Frame Publishers). In one of his firm’s current projects, a new headquarters for Utah bedding-manufacturing company Malouf, an entire building will be designated for nonwork areas, including an Olympic-size swimming pool, barbershop, and spa. It’s not just in the office where people are feeling the change in work culture. "There’s a real flattening now between what is considered work with a capital ‘W’ and all the other side projects that people are interested in," said Richard McConkey, an associate director at Universal Design Studio (UDS). "There's not such a clear division between work, home, life, cultural projects, and hobbies anymore; that's why all these multifunctional spaces are occurring." UDS has developed on a number of projects that blur the lines of live-work-play, including MINI Living, the car brand’s Shanghai entry into the coliving concept of small private spaces surrounding shared semipublic spaces. But the UDS project that perhaps best represents the growing thirst for gathering is London’s Ace Hotel, the lobby of which has been called one of the city’s most popular coworking spots, although it isn’t officially one at all. Ian Schrager’s Public hotel in New York is similar in attracting nonguests to spend their days there, usually with laptop or phone in hand, even during off-business hours. "The classic 'third space' is between work and home,” said architect Melissa Hanley, cofounder, CEO, and principal of San Francisco architecture and interior design firm Blitz. "I think of it as, ‘Where’s the place I naturally gravitate to, because I feel best there?’ That can be a pub or a coffee shop; it could be the decompression or ramping-up zone." To bring that energy back to the workplace, Hanley’s firm has created game rooms and social hubs—it even has a speakeasy in the works for a client. But while the ping-pong tables of the past may have been a distraction, today’s game rooms, cafes, and bars are reflections of a company mission. “Work is happening even in these ancillary spaces. These third spaces we're creating are in support of the company’s bottom line," Hanley said. So what advice would she give to a prospective client? "There's just such an incredible amount of data in support of creating more human-centered spaces in the workplace—the benefits are innumerable." That’s why, from Silicon Valley to Shanghai, there’s a new crop of businesses catering to the need for a retreat somewhere between work and home. Beyond the traditional barbershop, clubhouse, or nail salon, these next-gen spaces tap into the growing wellness trend: Chillhouse, a monthly membership spa in New York, offers massages and manicures in an Instagram-friendly space focused on self-care; Nap York allows visitors to catch a snooze on an Airweave mattress for $10 a half hour. Then there’s Calm City, the roving meditation studio in a renovated RV, founded by Kristin Westbrook. An avid meditator who had trouble finding a private place at her hectic Rockefeller Center office, Westbrook was inspired by the food truck trend to create an oasis of calm for stressed-out New Yorkers located just outside their offices. "I've always wanted a Superman’s phone booth on every corner, a pod that you could go jump in and be transformed," Westbrook said. That break can be a crucial antidote to the stresses of the day. "Human beings are social creatures, and with many of us working longer hours and living alone in large cities, the feelings of loneliness are certainly very real and powerful," wrote Anita Cheung, cofounder of Moment Meditation, a modern mindfulness club in Downtown Vancouver, B.C., in an email to AN. "Membership in a club and a consistent (and manageable) schedule of activities outside of the ‘nine to five’ allow people to develop other facets of their lives beyond who they are at work, as well as instill a greater sense of community." That’s part of the mission of the Battery, a private member’s club in San Francisco that has taken a cue from the social clubs of the past to create a place for connection and conversation—no business or tech talk allowed. "We try to provide a little bit of an escape from your day-to-day operations," said founder Michael Birch, whether it's a moment for a cocktail, a pause between meetings, or just a place for serendipitous conversation. To facilitate that human connection, designer Ken Fulk imagined the interiors as sumptuous settings for the club’s wide range of programming and events—a mix of large, high-energy spaces to be around people, and smaller, more intimate groupings. "I think people are seeking real connection again," Birch said. "People have disappeared a little bit onto the online world. We very much discourage technology use in the club: We don’t allow people to have laptops out after 6 p.m., we don’t allow photos, and we don’t allow people to talk on their telephone other than inside a telephone booth." The relationship between work and life can be even more blurred in spaces that blend the two like never before. Take New York coliving and coworking space The Assemblage, which has two addresses in Manhattan (and a third on the way), as well as The Sanctuary, a retreat center outside Bethel, New York, near the site of the 1969 Woodstock festival. Though workspace is at the core of The Assemblage's offerings, the company encourages members to get out of their offices and connect over communal breakfasts and lunches. It also features "intention altars" and offers wellness programming like meditation, breathwork, and yoga, "all under one roof, so that individuals can experience this fluid living/working and balanced lifestyle," wrote Magdalena Sartori, the company’s chief creative officer. "Erasing that distinction between work and life empowers individuals to create their own schedule and lifestyle," she added. But as we trade the typical greige workplace environment for a more holistic, humanistic approach, are we simply going farther down a work-obsessed rabbit hole from which you can never clock out? When even the workplace pretends to be a third space, one filled with simulacra of the outside world, are we worse off than we were before? Maybe not. If the offices from the Industrial Revolution to the year 2000 were "rehistoric," as Clive Wilkinson put it, how will people look back at the way we work today—with increasing flexibility to break away from our desks—100 years from now? "They’ll think that we woke up, that suddenly this was the beginning of a work age," Wilkinson said of the turn away from military- or factory-inspired workspaces. "We’re almost at the place now where we’ll remain stable for the next 100 or 200 years, because I think humans have finally understood how communities work in a workplace, how they need to support each other and communicate.”
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Architect Brandon Haw hews a stunning dermatology office out of fiberglass

A massive light-filled loft on 5th Avenue is a prime canvas for interior architecture. Unless, of course, the client brief requests eight treatment rooms, a nutrition center, two cryotherapy care centers, a reception area, a retail area, and a few support spaces to go along with it. Then, things get considerably more complicated. These were the opportunity and the accompanying complications architect Brandon Haw faced when he was tapped to design the New York Dermatology Group (NYDG) Integral Health and Wellness flagship office by his friend Paolo Cassina, the Italian designer. “We grappled with the idea of how we could put this much activity in this wonderful, big space and yet somehow hang on to the light and volume,” Haw said. “With that in mind, I began to play around with the idea of these light, ethereal curtains around the treatment rooms. As the idea of the curtains started to gel, we asked, ‘What if we created a pod and put that in the middle, so that you come into the reception area along the very large windows overlooking 5th Avenue and then follow that line of windows around to your treatment room?’” Haw began sketching a wavy line suggestive of such a curtain and was considering a modular screen system when he and Cassina spoke with Fabio Rombaldoni of Sailing, who had worked on a number of residential projects as well as yacht interiors. The trio came up with the concept of using a yacht-hull maker to fabricate four different panel molds that joined together seamlessly to form an organic, wavy pod in the center of the space. “It was custom-made by hand in Italy, and it was quite amazing,” Haw explained. “The panels are imbued with color and the consistency by the process itself with no external spraying or painting.” The opalescent white fiberglass panels were mapped out in Italy at full scale like a giant puzzle and then exported to the United States where they were assembled. Haw and his team paired the subtle, shimmery white pod with bronze fittings and used the existing industrial dark-wood flooring. Then they lowered the ceiling plane by creating a bespoke wood baffle so that the eye would be drawn up to the edge of the 11-foot-tall pod and then to the sleek wood planks. To continue the airy aesthetic in the enclosed treatment rooms, Haw selected pulverized quartz flooring that is bright and a little sparkly but extremely durable and easy to clean. To outfit the rest of the office, Haw and Cassina delved into what they felt a wellness space should be: “sumptuous, luxurious, comfortable,” Haw said, where people feel “comforted, but at the same time get a sense of clinical efficiency.” To truly embody those descriptors from wall to wall, Haw and Cassina designed a line of contract sofas, seating, and side tables specifically for the NYDG office that will be commercially available later this year. The furniture is sleek, with unexpected cutouts and an emphasis on smaller love seats, which accommodate one or two persons, rather than long sofas. (You might have a friend with you, but when was the last time you cozied up with random fellow patients? Exactly.) “The way I come at architecture and design is all about the use of the space and lifting the spirits of the people functioning within the spaces—both the clients who are coming in and the employees who are there every day. Timeless elegance was at the forefront of this project, and there was a great attention to detail.” This attention to detail and creative process make the paradoxical space—open and private, light and dark, comfortable and clinical—look and feel just right.