One From The Vault pix
Like the Grateful Dead said, the San Francisco bank that Your Space Interiors re-purposed for Vanguard Properties is coming around, coming around, in a circle
Zahid Sardar -- Interior Design, 2/1/2006 12:00:00 AM
At Vanguard Properties, located in a former bank in San Francisco, Your Space Interiors turned the safe-deposit vault into a dining room. Where the boxes' radial-polished stainless-steel doors were missing, principal Charles de Lisle plugged the gaps with mirrored glass. Crystal chandeliers hang above a stainless-steel table and chairs with webbing made from seat belts.
The refurbished atrium skylight.
One of the lounge's vintage Louis XVI–style chairs, reupholstered in linen and repainted.
The atrium's plaster molding.
Behind the steel reception desk, with its chrome lamps, stands a screen covered in custom silk-screened cotton canvas; the fabric conceals acoustic panels attached to a steel skeleton anchored beneath the marble floor.
On the back of the reception area's screen, a flat-screen monitor shows videos of San Francisco scenes and Vanguard residential buildings under construction. The two screens serve as the focal point of a lounge furnished with custom sectional seating, plus side tables made of Douglas fir blocks.
James Nunemacher's mezzanine office features leather-wrapped Cab chairs by Mario Bellini, a custom desk of painted MDF, a photomural of the Bay Bridge, and an original window.
For extra office space, De Lisle built a mezzanine set on steel posts. The mezzanine wraps the atrium, where the steel-framed conference room juts into the open space.
The workstations' eucalyptus-veneered privacy panels, which double as cubbies for coats.
The original bank clock, in the back of the main floor.
Charles and Ray Eames chairs grouped around the conference room's oak-topped table.
Mechanisms inside the main vault's door, almost always left open.
The door's outer face with its marble surround.
Memorabilia that De Lisle found at flea markets and displayed in the hallway to the restroom.
Vanguard's new headquarters is a 1913 cement-stucco building on a busy block of the culturally diverse Mission District.
A vintage settee, repainted and reupholstered in linen, now sits on the intact marble floor of the bank-vault dining room.
PROJECT TEAM: MARION PHILPOTTS-MILLER; JONATHAN STAUB; LISA MCCLUNG; LYNN ARRIOLA. CHAIRS (DINING ROOM): PERSING ENTERPRISE. TABLE: ROBERT YICK COMPANY. CHANDELIERS: S.Y. ROSEWOOD FURNITURE ARTS. CUSTOM WALL COVERING (LOUNGE, RECEPTION): ANNE KIRK TEXTILES; ACOUSTICAL INTERIORS (INSTALLATION). CHAIR FABRIC (LOUNGE): MAHARAM. CHAIR FINISHING (LOUNGE), DESK FINISHING (OFFICE), SETTEE FINISHING (DINING ROOM): INTERIOR FINISHING. CHAIRS (LOUNGE), SETTEE (DINING ROOM): THROUGH SWALLOWTAIL INTERIORS. CUSTOM DESK (RECEPTION): CUSTOM METAL FURNISHINGS. LAMPS: THROUGH MARTIN. CARPET (GROUND LEVEL, OFFICE): INVISION CARPET SYSTEMS. TASK CHAIRS (RECEPTION, OFFICE), FILE CABINETS (OFFICE AREAS), CHAIRS (CONFERENCE ROOM): HERMAN MILLER. FLOORING (LOUNGE): FONSECA MARBLE TILE. CUSTOM SECTIONAL: SUTTER FURNITURE MANUFACTURING CO. BLACK, GRAY, STRIPED SECTIONAL FABRIC: DESIGNTEX. WHITE SECTIONAL FABRIC (LOUNGE), TASK CHAIRS (OFFICE AREAS): KNOLL. GUEST CHAIRS (OFFICE): CASSINA. CUSTOM MURAL: OBERON DESIGN. LAMPS (OFFICE, OFFICE AREAS): ARTEMIDE. CREDENZA PLASTIC LAMINATE (OFFICE), DESKTOP PLASTIC LAMINATE (OFFICE AREAS): ABET. CUSTOM PARTITIONS: PARAGON FRAMES. TABLE (CONFERENCE ROOM): NIENKMPER. CUSTOM ART FRAMING (HALLWAY): MICHAEL THOMPSON FRAMING. RECESSED CEILING FIXTURES: KURT VERSEN COMPANY. LIGHTING CONSULTANT: OHM LIGHTING. STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: SANTOS URRUTIA STRUCTURAL ENGINEERS. GENERAL CONTRACTOR: BANNER DEVELOPMENT COMPANY.
Amid the taco stands, discount clothiers, and ragtag markets in San Francisco's Mission District sits an imposing neoclassical building, a 1913 Crocker Bank branch that's a relic from the era when banks lent not only money but also hope to a devastated city rebuilding after the 1906 earthquake. "It's an edgy location, but that appeals to me. You get the feeling of what's coming next," says real-estate broker James Nunemacher, whose Vanguard Properties recently moved its headquarters there. Now, the bank is back in the home business.
When Your Space Interiors principal Charles de Lisle first saw the single-story space, it had tellers' booths grouped under a central skylight. Most of the original details were intact: coffered 28-foot ceiling, wide bands of plaster crown molding, Ionic columns, and marble flooring. The ground-level and basement volumes were impressive, but there were two problems. First, Vanguard required more room than the 8,000 square feet available. Second, Nunemacher says, "The construction defied logic. There were 3-foot-thick concrete walls around the main vault—the rest could have fallen in the next quake."
With a budget of $1.5 million, a third of it earmarked for seismic improvements, De Lisle aimed for theatrical juxtapositions of new and old. A prime example is the reception area, formed by placing a monumental bronzed-steel desk in the previously undefined space facing the entry and erecting a tall screen behind, cantilevered vertically from steel beams below the floor. The screen is also steel, sandwiched in acoustical panels to muffle echoes in the open space, then wrapped, front and back, in turquoise cotton silk-screened with a Mariano Fortuny–inspired bronze floral. On the other side of this divider is a central lounge where centuries collide again—starting with the floral screen's built-in flat-screen monitor, which shows videos of local landmarks and Vanguard developments. Seating, meanwhile, mixes vintage Louis XVI–style chairs and sectional sofas.
Elsewhere, De Lisle opted for white-walled minimalism and strict Miesian geometry. The lounge is flanked by workstations' eucalyptus-veneered privacy panels, repeating along each side like 6-foot-high piano keys. They also represent De Lisle's efforts to stretch space. "Sections of the panels are hollow, so all employees have a cubby for their coats," he explains. Desks are simply faux-wood plastic-laminate work surfaces sitting on white file cabinets. Lighting involves just desk lamps and fluorescent tubes built into the top of the acrylic panels that divide cubicles from each other. "That way, the ambient light is part of the architecture," he says. "Looking down the row, you see what looks like fluorescent railroad ties." Far above, he recessed small square fluorescents in the ceiling coffers while carefully preserving the handsome molding.
The ceiling was high enough to insert a full second level, but that would have diminished the sense of openness. Instead, De Lisle gained 3,000 square feet by wrapping a mezzanine around three sides of the interior; he cleverly anchored the structure to the new seismic braces and supported it on slender steel posts. Identical posts hold up the glass-box conference room that hovers above the back of the atrium—unobtrusive by day but a lantern at night. Inside, De Lisle kept furnishings minimal: an oak-topped table and mesh-covered chairs.
He changed tack in the old safe-deposit vault, taking advantage of the rich interplay of original textures to design a dining room opulent enough to rival many restaurants. "I thought the vault would make a perfect party room," he says. (As opposed to the staff kitchen initially suggested for that location.) The stainless steel of the beautiful vault doors and safe-deposit boxes imparts an expensive sheen. Where boxes were missing, he plugged the gaps with mirrored glass that ricochets light. He then added two Venetian-inspired crystal chandeliers, a Louis XVI–style settee, and—as a contemporary counterpoint—an indestructible stainless-steel table for 16.
De Lisle removed the main vault, underneath the floating conference room, to make room for an elevator shaft, spending three weeks cutting through the thick sheets of protective steel embedded in the concrete walls, ceiling, and floor. Though the foot-thick vault door filled with intricate lock mechanisms remains, it stands open for people to walk through. The new elevator shaft, also a seismic brace, connects the two office levels to a roof garden and the reconfigured basement, equipped with computer servers. Nunemacher hopes that this project will act as a catalyst for more attractive changes in the Mission District. "Real estate has come to represent what the banking industry used to be. It's an economic barometer," he says. At least for now, he's laughing all the way to his bank.