Show and Sell
At Total Office Interiors in Baltimore, Riley & Rohrer makes contract furniture its own top sales rep
Anne Guiney -- Interior Design, 12/1/2002 12:00:00 AM
Total Office Interiors was having trouble living up to the company name. This family-owned Baltimore dealership, which specializes in Haworth contract furniture, was absolutely awash in unhip fake-wood paneling, fluorescent lighting, and dropped ceilings. So architect Paul Van Riley and interior designer Dianne J. Rohrer, partners in the Baltimore firm Riley & Rohrer, stripped the mid-century space down to its 14-foot ceilings and mushroom-capital columns. To maximize space and budget, the two partners proposed a "working showroom," where functioning offices set up right on the floor would be equipped with the very Haworth products for sale.
Near the entry, an egg-shape enclosure made of perforated-steel panels in a painted steel frame simultaneously hides the service core and holds the reception desk and information systems. Floor-to-ceiling scrims in front of the large windows filter natural light and block the view of a less-than-scenic industrial neighborhood outside. Among the gestures ordering circulation through the 17,000-square-foot space, three intensely red walls direct foot traffic toward public areas and hide back-office functions. And the grand columns, once hidden behind drywall, are now reflected in the shiny—and inexpensive—black vinyl floor tile.