The three-story, 83,000 square foot design is the first office space for Condé Nast Entertainment, one of the fastest-growing divisions of Condé Nast. TPG created a workplace environment which blurs the lines between work and play, while seamlessly incorporating technology, affording team members the ability to work anywhere within the space.
The design features a rustic, industrial aesthetic, achieved through the use of poured and polished concrete, open ceilings with exposed ductwork, and custom canted feature walls that mimic a worn metal. The use of funky residential furniture throughout the office creates a comfortable and homelike ambiance, which is evident in the common lounge featuring textured elongated couches and worn leather chairs. The lounge, located in front of west-facing floor-to-ceiling windows, features expansive views of One World Trade Center, which establishes a visual connection to CNE’s parent company.
The space promotes the themes of fluidity, mobility and flexibility. On each floor, there is a conference room with moveable walls adjacent to a café, allowing the space to be opened up to hold a full staff meeting (or a party). Further, not only is the entire office connected to ensure that any work can be accessed digitally, but many conference rooms and living rooms also feature writable chalkboard and whiteboard walls, allowing creativity to be captured and developed in any space or platform.
When TPG Architecture first began working on the Condé Nast Entertainment (CNE) project in 2013 at 222 Broadway in New York City, the designers were given the mandate to create a space that was comfortable, homey and would allow for long work days and nights. The second piece of information that was relevant to the design was implicit, not stated directly: that CNE is one of the fastest-growing division of Conde Nast’s business, with expected growth in employees, revenues, services and product offerings in the next three years.
With that knowledge in mind and given that Condé Nast had signed a lease for three floors (15, 16, 17), totaling 83,000 square feet, TPG Architecture designed offices that include not only desks, but also many other spaces to work and hang out: welcoming common areas with couches and upholstered chairs, lounges, kitchens, casual meeting spaces and many kinds of conference rooms. Open breakout spaces lend flexibility to a fast growing company; planned growth through 2015 has already, in late 2014, been achieved. Walking through the space there’s a feeling of fluidity, mobility and flexibility, in large part because these transitional workspaces cater to not only the full time staff (most of whom work from a laptop) but also to a large cadre of freelancers and other consultants.
One such standout space is the common area on the 15th floor which not only features textured elongated couches from Arper and A&G Merch, and rich worn leather chairs by Restoration Hardware, but is set into a room with floor-to-ceiling windows facing directly west, which means they look out onto expansive views of One World Trade, the Financial District and the Calatrava-designed MTA transit hub. A Spell coffee table and pendant lighting by Graypants and Roll & Hill, all add to the magic of the space.
The eclectic vibe of the space comes in part from residential furniture that lends a funky, never-want-to-leave-the-office feeling, including tables from West Elm, Bernhardt, Zuo Modern, and the Future Perfect, and chairs from DWR and Knoll (to name a few).
All of this works toward the company’s secondary design goal of creating a space that also acts as a recruiting tool by making prospective employees feel that this fun, cool office is a great place to work. In this sense, Fred Santarpia, EVP/Chief Digital Officer (now of Condé Nast) had a vision for workspaces that would feel like a “San Francisco loft” with a rustic, industrial feeling, and large, open work areas. TPG achieved this via the use of poured and polished concrete floors; open ceilings that expose ductwork, wires and raw materials, and a custom canted Vitruv feature wall by DFB that accents the entire space and mimics an industrial, worn metal. They also specified several industrial pendant light fixtures including Delray ‘sticks’ in some open work areas, Urban Archeology chains at circulation areas, Restoration Hardware in the cafes, Schoolhouse Electric cage bulbs at the elevator lobby and Concrete Foscarini pendants at reception areas. TPG worked with Lane Furniture.
With 20+ conference rooms spread out over the three floors and private offices and meeting spaces on the perimeter, pretty much every space has either writeable chalkboard walls or whiteboard to encourage spur of the moment creativity. The living rooms and phone rooms were painted with chalkboard paint, and the conference rooms and offices have whiteboard. Connectivity was a critical element to this design project. The client wanted to be able to access any material that staff was currently working on from all conference rooms and meeting spaces. They expressed a desire to celebrate and promote their work and original content everywhere inthe space. This resulted in TVs in all conference rooms, regardless of size, open meeting areas, reception/elevator lobby, and in the open area on all columns which also have whiteboard paint.
The Technology Group, which focuses on the tech stack, works on the 15th floor while the group on the 17th floor creates apps, websites, and handles other product development. The Condé Nast Archives group is also located on the 15th floor, holding the complete company archives for photography and print going back more than 100 years. There is also a studio and voice over booth for CNE to create original content on-site.
Floor 16 is where CNE, a division of Condé Nast created to develop and produce film, television and digital video content based on the company’s iconic brands, lives. With 17 digital video channels spanning brands from Vogue and Vanity Fair to Wired and Bon Appétit, as well as an industry-first platform devoted to the best in digital video, THE SCENE, CNE is a premium digital video pioneer. CNE worked with CMS AudioVisual consultants to make sure each technology component was top of the line and easy to use. Since laptops prevail, the office is equipped with universal WIFI and each conference room works with Google hangout. Also, with about 16 TVs on the 16th floor alone, it was paramount that not only were the company’s products on display but that each TV was able to connect to the main server for instant access to each team’s work.
Off the elevator lobby every floor has a great café/lounge space as well as one main space with moveable walls that open to hold a full staff meeting (or party!). Each has dropdown screens for presentations and speakers in the ceiling. These spaces were also designed as alternate workspace settings, providing multiple places to meet for small groups or counter/table space for individual work.