Woods Bagot, New York

Designed by: Woods Bagot
For client: Self Floor area: 1000.00 M² Year of completion: 2017
Submitted for: Small Office of the Year

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© Brooke Holm

In the spacious lobby, shelving hangs above long tables. Soft drapery and comfortable furniture invite relaxed exchanges.

About the Project

Sarah Kay, who leads the Global Workplace Interiors sector, and Wade Little, head of the Global Hotel sector, designed the firm’s Financial District home as a mix of technology-enabled spaces to accommodate the agility of today’s creative class. Their goal was to make a place that would spur collaboration and showcase design—both as inspiration and a product of the firm. The studio embraces the cultural benefits of the agile (fast changing), collaborative, and diverse (lots of choices of space) workspace. There are social spaces that facilitate chance meetings, collaboration hubs, and nooks for concentration or private conversations. Reflecting Woods Bagot’s blurring of the hospitality, residential, and workspace sectors, the design mixes New York City grit -- raw columns, exposed pipes, concrete floors with natural cracks and stains -- with couches, soft drapery, and plants. The workplace is equipped with tools both pioneering and timeless – virtual reality and colored pencils, 3D printing and flexible pin-up surfaces, video conferencing and soft furniture, and an industrial-strength espresso machine. The aesthetic is raw and authentic, with the bones of the building available for everyone to see. Like Woods Bagot projects worldwide, the studio prioritizes the human experience, aspiring to be a place people look forward to coming to.

What’s unique about it

Functionality and user-friendliness are entwined in the studio. Its function as a place for making and showing work is seen in the multiple pin up areas, open shelving, and model room. Employees choose between a variety of environments to suit their activity. Visitors are welcomed by a spacious lobby with a contemporary hospitality feel, rather than the corporate reception desk barrier.
Innovation: The studio is equipped throughout with innovative technology that enables seamless communications between the firm’s 15 offices worldwide: the “DI Portal” (the internal Instagram), video conferencing in each workshop with suspended microphones that don’t pick up the rustle of paper, VC on all laptops and phones, a VOIP phone system that’s integrated into the computer system, Skype chat, Slack channels, VR, 3D printing.
Use of materials supports artistic merit, and vice versa. A neutral palette of black, white, and soft greys allows the models and drawings to shine, while a mix of materiality from unfinished concrete floors to textured and refined finishes -- wood, steel, and leather -- gives the space a compelling edge that is both raw and sophisticated.
Concept/Inspiration: The design was inspired by the dense and gritty Manhattan location. Every inch of space is maximized, though the work spaces are generous. The layout draws on the city’s organization into avenues and streets.

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© Brooke Holm

During lunch, the kitchen is a humming social space. Outside of mealtimes, it provides an alternative place to work. Long views and glass walls create an atmosphere of transparency.

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© Woods Bagot

The floor plan

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© Brooke Holm

The activity-based workplace enables mobility, offering a variety of ways and places to work.

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© Brooke Holm

The kitchen’s palette of industrial and refi ned materials gives the space an edge that’s both raw and sophisticated.

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© Brooke Holm

The employees gather in the kitchen to eating, socializing, and work. Above the counter is suspended shelving, and on it, an industrial-strength expresso machine

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© Brooke Holm

Detail of a workshop

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© Brooke Holm

The virtual reality lounge

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© Brooke Holm

Stained-wood work benches form the spine of the studio’s ‘street,’ reflecting the Manhattan context.

Location of project:
Woods Bagot

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