A new show in town
Sheila Kim -- Interior Design, 10/1/2003 12:00:00 AM
The four-time Tony award–winning production of Cabaret. This year's Tony-winning musical Nine. Not only are these some of Broadway's biggest names, but they're also on the client roster of the Eliran Murphy Group, a New York advertising agency. Despite its colorful clientele, however, EMG's offices were standard and drab—and an obstacle to potential business.
All that changed when EMG moved to a larger space, 10,000 square feet on the fifth floor of a prewar office building, and hired Guillermo GomezArchitect to oversee the renovation. "They needed more edge," says principal Guillermo Gomez. EMG was game, as long as acquiring that edge cost no more than $59 per square foot. So the architect proposed opening up the core—a "rat maze" of closed offices, he recalls—while keeping structural work to a minimum on the perimeter. Then packing in colors via workstations, lounge furniture, and carpet.
As first impressions are key, Gomez went for sophisticated minimalism at the entry. He used acid-etched glass both for the exterior logo wall and for the 6 1/2-foot-long top of the drywall reception desk. From reception's only seating, three of Ron Arad's red Tom Vac chairs, visitors can view the agency's portfolio projected onto a sidewall. Carpeting here and throughout is a circle pattern that shifts from gray and green to silver and gold, depending on the angle of light.
In the core of the floor plate, Gomez replaced the closed offices with 10 custom workstations for EMG's creative staff. Work surfaces are plastic laminate; shelving is laminated plywood. Partitions are translucent Lumasite acrylic screwed onto drywall painted in a Piet Mondrian palette: red, yellow, and a complementary orange. Along the partitions, galvanized-steel pipe routes power cables from the ceiling and walls to each employee. "The roughness of the metal contrasts with the purity of the colors," says Gomez.
For account management staff and art directors, the architect built private offices along the perimeter of the space. These offices are walled off with acid-etched glass—a clear band running at the eye level of someone seated at a desk. The glass allows sunlight to reach the corridors between the offices and the core, and additional illumination comes from fluorescent tubes installed atop the core's partitions and in ceiling coves.
Gomez's work has already received rave reviews. In fact, some of EMG's recently signed clients, the producers of an off-Broadway musical called The Thing About Men, have decided to project images of EMG's office in a prominent scene. Bravo!