Contract - Interiors Awards 2014: Office: Large

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Interiors Awards 2014: Office: Large

24 January, 2014

-By Murrye Bernard. Photography by Frank Oudeman


BBDO NY
Designer: HLW
Client: BBDO / Omnicom Group
Location: New York

“This office is comfortable but sophisticated. It’s a very good example of office merging with hospitality. The cheeky entrance is tied to the idea of the agency, and it’s a perfect announcement of the mission of the agency.” -Jury


Not every New York ad agency can trace its roots to the iconic Madison Avenue, which has become synonymous with the industry. BBDO—the world’s second largest advertising network, one of the most award-winning, and speculated to be an inspiration behind the AMC television show Mad Men—left that famed street many years ago to call 1285 Avenue of the Americas home. But with an office that seemed staid and dated, BBDO called upon HLW to update its three floors, totaling 227,000 square feet, to look like a hip downtown loft rather than a typical Midtown corporate workplace.

For David Lubars, chairman and chief creative officer at BBDO, the goal of the renovation was to have CEOs of Fortune 500 companies walk in and say, “Wow!” John Mack, a design partner at HLW, says his office came up with the tagline for the project: “Making Midtown Cool.” And it does feel cool—updated spaces reflect the company’s global and progressive image—despite a modest budget, which was mostly earmarked towards infrastructure.

HLW called for two of the floors, which were previously compartmentalized, to be stripped down to the building’s concrete shell. The designers chose to leave the imperfect concrete floors exposed, as well as large portions of the concrete ceiling to gain height, but ductwork is carefully concealed. Existing offices at the ends of the floors were left as-is, as was the core, which was painted various shades of gray to make it fade into the background. Elmwood Reclaimed Timber walls, floors, and conference tabletops were incorporated throughout to add texture and warmth.

The hub of the headquarters is the pitch room and a large cafe. Located on the sixth floor around the corner from reception, a wood podium, known as “The Deck,” functions as a waiting area and lounge, but also serves as pre-function space for the adjacent pitch room. The setting for all major client meetings, the pitch room features a large video screen and plenty of pinup space. Fritz Hansen Swan Chairs, occasional tables, and stools allow for intimate set-ups, and recessed banquettes at the back provide strategic splashes of BBDO’s signature red in the mostly neutral space.

Located on the seventh floor, the cafe is the only pantry to serve all three floors. “It was a conscious decision, because they wanted everyone in one space that serves as a command hub,” Mack says. Sliding doors allow the space to expand into an adjacent conference room to accommodate office-wide meetings. A charcoal wall in the cafe is animated by white graphics, which HLW designed with BBDO to reflect the company’s “10 rules of thumb.” Cafe tables and chairs, as well as bar seating, provide ideal settings for coffee breaks or lunchtime chats. The designers were inspired by the atmosphere of the lobby of New York’s Ace Hotel, which invites people to linger.

This laid-back vibe seems to continue in the open work areas, which are broken up by living room-like groupings of sofas and bookshelves. Throughout the work areas, as well as in the reception area, tongue-and-cheek graphics on walls and floors poke fun at advertising lingo. But these spaces are also designed in line with BBDO’s mission, an obsessive focus on “the work, the work, the work.” The 970 employees are arranged in teams, and creative and sales departments occupy separate floors. But they are each invited to adapt their spaces to suit their unique work styles. The workstations—Steelcase FrameOne—are long benches with Terra Mai reclaimed wood tops. This open and undivided configuration provides a “framework for personalization,” Mack says.

BBDO may have inspired Mad Men, and in turn, a scene on the show at the end of fifth season featuring Don Draper sitting alone at a bar inspired the design of the new incarnation of BBDO’s bar, Central Filing. Employees access daily happy hours through a wooden door relocated from the original BBDO office on Madison Avenue. Inside the dimly lit room, walls painted with dark red and black stripes surround tufted sofas and a bar with a base made from—what else—old filing cabinets. And Guinness—one of the agency’s clients—flows freely from a special tap.




Interiors Awards 2014: Office: Large

24 January, 2014


BBDO NY
Designer: HLW
Client: BBDO / Omnicom Group
Location: New York

“This office is comfortable but sophisticated. It’s a very good example of office merging with hospitality. The cheeky entrance is tied to the idea of the agency, and it’s a perfect announcement of the mission of the agency.” -Jury


Not every New York ad agency can trace its roots to the iconic Madison Avenue, which has become synonymous with the industry. BBDO—the world’s second largest advertising network, one of the most award-winning, and speculated to be an inspiration behind the AMC television show Mad Men—left that famed street many years ago to call 1285 Avenue of the Americas home. But with an office that seemed staid and dated, BBDO called upon HLW to update its three floors, totaling 227,000 square feet, to look like a hip downtown loft rather than a typical Midtown corporate workplace.

For David Lubars, chairman and chief creative officer at BBDO, the goal of the renovation was to have CEOs of Fortune 500 companies walk in and say, “Wow!” John Mack, a design partner at HLW, says his office came up with the tagline for the project: “Making Midtown Cool.” And it does feel cool—updated spaces reflect the company’s global and progressive image—despite a modest budget, which was mostly earmarked towards infrastructure.

HLW called for two of the floors, which were previously compartmentalized, to be stripped down to the building’s concrete shell. The designers chose to leave the imperfect concrete floors exposed, as well as large portions of the concrete ceiling to gain height, but ductwork is carefully concealed. Existing offices at the ends of the floors were left as-is, as was the core, which was painted various shades of gray to make it fade into the background. Elmwood Reclaimed Timber walls, floors, and conference tabletops were incorporated throughout to add texture and warmth.

The hub of the headquarters is the pitch room and a large cafe. Located on the sixth floor around the corner from reception, a wood podium, known as “The Deck,” functions as a waiting area and lounge, but also serves as pre-function space for the adjacent pitch room. The setting for all major client meetings, the pitch room features a large video screen and plenty of pinup space. Fritz Hansen Swan Chairs, occasional tables, and stools allow for intimate set-ups, and recessed banquettes at the back provide strategic splashes of BBDO’s signature red in the mostly neutral space.

Located on the seventh floor, the cafe is the only pantry to serve all three floors. “It was a conscious decision, because they wanted everyone in one space that serves as a command hub,” Mack says. Sliding doors allow the space to expand into an adjacent conference room to accommodate office-wide meetings. A charcoal wall in the cafe is animated by white graphics, which HLW designed with BBDO to reflect the company’s “10 rules of thumb.” Cafe tables and chairs, as well as bar seating, provide ideal settings for coffee breaks or lunchtime chats. The designers were inspired by the atmosphere of the lobby of New York’s Ace Hotel, which invites people to linger.

This laid-back vibe seems to continue in the open work areas, which are broken up by living room-like groupings of sofas and bookshelves. Throughout the work areas, as well as in the reception area, tongue-and-cheek graphics on walls and floors poke fun at advertising lingo. But these spaces are also designed in line with BBDO’s mission, an obsessive focus on “the work, the work, the work.” The 970 employees are arranged in teams, and creative and sales departments occupy separate floors. But they are each invited to adapt their spaces to suit their unique work styles. The workstations—Steelcase FrameOne—are long benches with Terra Mai reclaimed wood tops. This open and undivided configuration provides a “framework for personalization,” Mack says.

BBDO may have inspired Mad Men, and in turn, a scene on the show at the end of fifth season featuring Don Draper sitting alone at a bar inspired the design of the new incarnation of BBDO’s bar, Central Filing. Employees access daily happy hours through a wooden door relocated from the original BBDO office on Madison Avenue. Inside the dimly lit room, walls painted with dark red and black stripes surround tufted sofas and a bar with a base made from—what else—old filing cabinets. And Guinness—one of the agency’s clients—flows freely from a special tap.

 


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