Group Effort pix
Liz Arnold -- Interior Design, 5/1/2007 12:00:00 AM
In the president and CEO's office at the Corcoran Group in New York, Mark Goetz's sofa, covered in Paul Smith's wool pinstripe, backs up to Tricia Guild's flocked wall covering.
A plasterboard canopy curves over the built-in reception desk in concrete and walnut, with signage in brushed aluminum.
In reception, a lacquered wall panel backs a gilt-framed mirror; below it, a sofa in Guild's embossed velvet is flanked by matching armchairs.
Leather on the president and CEO's lounge chair by Charles and Ray Eames pops against the stained-walnut paneling; also walnut, the desk and credenza are by Lauren Rottet.
In the conference room, a polished-chrome halogen chandelier hangs above a custom marble-topped table and Eero Saarinen's leather-covered chairs; faux suede upholsters the far wall.
Along the main corridor, three projectors create a slide show of Corcoran projects and events; LEDs are installed at baseboard level.
Aluminum frames double-glazed doors fronting the eight executive offices.
A walkway of epoxy-finished concrete cuts through the nylon carpet tiles in the office area.
If you feel transported when you step into the New York headquarters of real-estate agency Corcoran Group, then A/R Environetics Group has accomplished its mission. "We had a mandatory screening of 2001: A Space Odyssey," principal David Jon Rush notes. That homework was assigned by Corcoran's director of corporate affairs, responding to a new phase in the agency's 34-year history.
Since founder Barbara Corcoran stepped down in 2005, the agency has been redefining itself. This office had to unify her legacy and a vision for the future while simultaneously accommodating a newly expanded 40-person staff previously scattered on four floors. A gut renovation of the 10,000-plus square feet, half of a former Herman Miller showroom, allowed Rush to delineate function areas: reception, a conference room, an open "studio" with workstations divided into bays for the sales and marketing teams, and enclosed perimeter offices.
Despite a low slab height, Rush dropped the ceiling to conceal ductwork and add recessed lighting. Cove lighting produces the illusion of skylights, plus greater height. Along the vaulted main corridor, LEDs installed at baseboard level wash the concrete floor in six different shades, from blue to pink and orange. Sunshine enters through the glass walls fronting north-facing executive offices.
President and CEO Pamela Liebman's corner office epitomizes the staid-versus-spunky, old-meets-new approach. Paneling, a desk, and case goods in dark-stained walnut say traditional. A sofa's Paul Smith pinstripe says trendy. Good-taste modern comes in the form of a glass-topped table by Isamu Noguchi and a classic lounge chair by Charles and Ray Eames—only the chair's leather upholstery is hot pink. Ditto for the oversize floral flocking on an accent wall.
A similarly fanciful pattern, this time in red and pink, upholsters the reception area's settee, part of a seating arrangement in the style of Louis XV. Meanwhile, a pair of armchairs are covered in fuchsia faux suede. That same au courant material appears in the conference room.
Using a neutral palette with a color blast was how Rush referenced the look of the agency's new advertising campaign, featuring a black or white background with a six-color bar that represents residential real-estate markets. "It's about simplicity, space, and material," he says. At the no-nonsense workstations, task chairs sport upholstery in six punchy colors. Back in the conference room, a black marble ellipse of a tabletop and the metallic-gray leather on the Eero Saarinen chairs provide a sober complement not only to that fuchsia wall but also to a sparkling polished-chrome chandelier that's pure Stanley Kubrick.