MDA Design/Completes NYC Office of London-Based Financial Institution
Interior design firm Montroy Andersen DeMarco (MADGI) has completed a new corporate workplace at 280 Park Avenue in Manhattan for one of the world’s foremost global insurance and banking groups headquartered in London. The lobby space features an elaborate lighting design with low-set fixtures on the walls that cast an uplight glow, as well as overhead circular pendant lamps arranged in clusters of three. Behind the reception desk, there is an architectural feature wall made of gray handmade pigment and plaster with a three-dimensional texture. Photo by Tom Sibley/Wilk Marketing Communications
Contemporary Workplace Elegance: Montroy Andersen DeMarco Designs U.S. Headquarters for a Major Global Financial Group At 280 Park Avenue in Manhattan
Design forges a forward-looking vision that blends dynamic collaboration and refined style for a premier insurance and banking organization’s main U.S. office in New York City.
New York – Interior design firm Montroy Andersen DeMarco (MADGI) has completed a new corporate workplace at 280 Park Avenue in Manhattan for one of the world’s foremost global insurance and banking groups. The MADGI-designed space is a smart, modern office that fosters collaborative engagement, while also reflecting the sophistication and history of a market-leading organization.
The 14,000-square foot, full-floor space – on an upper floor of the LEED Gold Certified building’s 29-story East Tower – is the new U.S. headquarters for the London-based firm, right in the heart of Midtown Manhattan.
“The client articulated its desire for the design to evoke the dual identity of a storied past and dynamic, forward-looking vision for the firm,” said Steven Andersen, partner at MADGI. “We had clear goals to represent a brand steeped in legacy and tradition, but also to showcase its outlook as a leading-edge, vibrant and innovative company. We chose to break from the classic wood-paneled walls of a traditional banking institution and created a dramatic and invigorating interior. We also broke up the hierarchal partitioned office layout to embrace an open, flexible configuration that empowers teamwork, cooperation, and creativity.”
“The open-office concept was a critical theme that guided many of the design’s stand-out features,” explains Ajay Waghmare, project manager at MADGI. “We designed the entire work area with an airy, spacious feel that takes advantage of expansive views of Midtown Manhattan. The office features very large, open spaces with high ceilings, flooded by natural light through full-height windows,” he adds.
“The clearly outlined client expectations helped ensure the interior design hit the right note,” commented Eleanor Boehm, designer at MADGI. “We were bringing together tradition and energetic, innovative culture, so our design challenge was to ensure it was both upscale and contemporary. We did not want the tech loft kind of setting, or an industrial look. We wanted functional as well as refined, a respected brand with a modern, understated identity,” she added.
The open plan was an effective delivery mechanism for those goals, with the design eschewing the typical corporate corner offices or C-suite citadel in favor of an expansive, collaborative setup, shared Waghmare.
“With 25 people on the floor, there is a lot of room for everyone and they will still have the ability to work effectively as a team,” he said. “The design has extra space for entertainment and meeting facilities, a multi-function pantry, and flexible workstations. It has as expansive, energetic feel.”
The open floor plan also allowed MADGI to maximize natural light, but required additional measures to create spaces with privacy. According to Boehm, “With floor-to-ceiling windows, we endeavored to offer as much access to daylight for employees and visitors as possible throughout the entire floor by incorporating full-length glazing. To ensure privacy for meetings in an open office plan, we also introduced premium acoustical treatments for the four meeting rooms and a boardroom, with double-glazed, high-grade sound insulation from Tagwall.”
The design highlights functionality and flexibility, with meeting spaces the tenant can reduce in size or expand, a pantry convertible from lunch space into workstations or to host social events, and robust audio-visual infrastructure. “The client requested sufficient space for meetings and larger gatherings, as well as cross-company events with headquarters and other offices it operates across six continents,” Waghmare explains.
The project team also included Benchmark Builders as general contractor; Robert Derector Associates as MEP engineer; Spectra Audio Design as audio-visual consultant; and Vornado Realty Trust as owner of 280 Park Avenue.
Design and Layout
The mixture of legacy and modernity starts right in the elevator landing lobby finished with dark-colored metal wall panels, which opens into a 630-square-foot reception area with signature details. The lobby space features an elaborate lighting design with low-set fixtures on the walls that cast an uplight glow, as well as overhead circular pendant lamps arranged in clusters of three.
“Behind the reception desk, there is an architectural feature wall made of gray handmade pigment and plaster with a three-dimensional texture,” added Waghmare. “It also features the company logo in black metal matching the elevator lobby panels.”
Another circular lighting fixture marks the passage from the reception area into the guest waiting lounge, where a cabinet-like feature wall serves as a space for showcasing artwork and memorabilia, with special lighting for such displays. The lounge features stylish furniture in classic blues and grays, and opens up into the pantry area, which then leads on the south side of the floor plan to the boardroom and meeting spaces, and on the north and east sides to the workstation area.
The multi-functional, 245-square foot pantry features a counter area that can double as lunch tables or temporary workstations. A similar multipurpose theme allows the four meeting rooms to roll back moveable walls to become two larger spaces.
The main work area clusters into pods of five to six workstations, including several dedicated for visiting staff or partners, set under a slotted wood panel acoustical ceiling. The flooring consists of carpet tile in the workstation and meeting room areas, and a fine grit polished concrete in the reminder of the space. Other amenities include a 140-square foot wellness room, restrooms, and employee storage space.
Tying the many interior areas together, the lounge allows the guests to look out through glass walls onto the entire floor, connecting them to the bustle. “The waiting area is positioned to allow visitors to view the entire layout of the office, looking over to the workstations, meeting rooms, and pantry. By letting the guests see how work takes place in the office, it communicates honesty and transparency,” Waghmare says.
About Montroy DeMarco Architecture
Based in New York City, Montroy Andersen DeMarco (MADGI) is a prominent interior design firm predominantly serving commercial, retail, and multi-family markets in the greater New York area. MADGI’s affiliate Montroy DeMarco Architecture (MDA) provides architectural services to commercial and multi-family clients. Three principals lead the studios: Steven Andersen; Richard J. DeMarco, AIA; and Daniel Montroy, AIA. The affiliated studios employ 30 architects, interior designers, LEED professionals, project managers, and support staff. Building Design & Construction magazine ranks the firm as the 132nd largest designer in the United States. Engineering News-Record lists the firm as the 81st largest design firm in the New York/New Jersey region.
MADGI’s markets include office and corporate interiors; retail, entertainment, residential and mixed-use new buildings (both market-rate and affordable housing); hospitality; commercial building conversions and market re-positioning; landlord services; and sustainable/LEED design. Headed by principals, the specialized studios have served as designer for some of the most innovative – and challenging – projects in the city. The firm is known for its design quality and expertise in cost control, technology, and addressing complex zoning regulations.
The firm was the design force behind the headquarters offices of a multitude of global corporate bluebloods and technology firms such as the Japanese advertising and digital marketing giant Dentsu, National Futures Association, TravelClick, Mediabistro, and Mimeo, among others. MADGI’s recent corporate interior work also includes the 150,000-sq.-ft. East Hanover, N.J., U.S. headquarters and laboratories and the 75,000-sq.-ft. Manhattan offices and testing labs of Givaudan Fragrance. The studio has designed over six million square feet of office and common use space for both tenants and for leading commercial landlords in New York City, including CBRE, Colliers International, George Comfort & Sons, Atlas Capital, and Equity Office.
MDA recently served as the architect for two of the most prominent restaurants and tourist attractions in Manhattan: One World Observatory – the 90,000-sq.-ft. observation deck and retail space atop the new World Trade Center, and the renovated landmark Rainbow Room on top of 30 Rockefeller Plaza. The firm’s retail projects include multiple store locations of U.S. Polo Assn., Camper, and Zara; two New York City locations of Bill’s Bar & Burger; the Rogue and Le Coq Rico restaurants in Manhattan; the Discovery TSX retail/entertainment space in Times Square; and showrooms of Jordache and Pem America.
MDA’s architectural, executive design, and design collaborations’ portfolio also includes the 230-room citizenM New York hotel in Times Square; the 183,000-sq.-ft., 17-story 20 East End Avenue luxury condominium; The Dillon Townhouses and Condominiums, a 205,000-sq.-ft residential complex at 425 West 53rd Street that received an AIA New York State Award of Merit; the 11-story 560 West 24th Street luxury condominium; the 82,000-sq.-ft. Soori Highline luxury condominium on West 29th Street; and the market repositioning of the 100,000-sq.-ft. 160 Fifth Avenue office tower in Manhattan as well as the $330 million redevelopment of The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights luxury senior living community in Brooklyn, NY and the 10-story, 85-apartment Silver Star residential/retail mixed-use building in Long Island City, NY. Additional information: www.montroydemarco.com and www.madgi.com
Source: Informed Infrastructure Magazine / Writer: Parul Dubey / Photo Credit: Tom Sibley/Wilk Marketing Communications
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It's been great working with Tishman Speyer, Shimoda Design Group, HM White, and the entire Morgan North team on this exciting project. Check out these photos from our walkthrough. Enjoy the mini tour!