Keep on Moving
Judith Davidsen -- Interior Design, 3/1/2008 12:00:00 AM
In just three years,the St. Louis office of Momentum Worldwide grew more than 30 percent, winding up with staff scattered around the city. It was clear that this advertising and marketing agency—a term that doesn't even begin to cover the ever expanding virtual and real-world functions involved in the business today—needed a single site where differentteams could gather, a location designed to promote optimal creative interaction on behalf of clients such as the Anheuser-Busch Companies, Kraft, Intel Corporation, Microsoft, Verizon, and American Airlines.
Lawrence Group Architects, New York, helped evaluate candidate properties, then outfitted the chosen space: 57,000 square feet on two long, narrow, loftlike floors encircled by ribbon windows. The project took about a year and cost $76 per square foot, excluding professional fees.
Bar joists and metal deck structures are evident all over. Beneath them, color-coded boulevards, avenues, and streets meet at junctions where the members of nor-mally isolated teams, say a graphic designer working with Kraft and an account manager on the Intel job, can spark new ideas simply by bumping into one another. A glance at the floor plan shows an abundance of corners, nodes, and points of interest.
Red leads the way. “Immersion, for me, starts right at the elevator,” principal Tom Lekometros says. When the doors open, visitors walk immediately under a curved drywall canopy artfully carved out to let the sun shine down from a skylight. From here, red wafts down the main stair and through conference rooms, indicating the client-accessible areas that account for 25 percent of the space. “We looked really hard at choreography,” Lekometros adds.
Pistachio green shows up in the lengthwise corridors of the staff areas. Golden-yellow linoleum flooring identifies short side aisles joining the creative and production teams. In a planning reversal, lower-downs work in window spaces—four workstations and a meeting table apiece—while managers occupy the interior.
One large conference room is used for yoga classes and events, including the obligatory annual Super Bowl commercial-viewing party. There are also six casual congregating areas ranging from tête-à-tête to eight-person size. These are strategically placed—one of the larger ones, for instance, is between the main stair and a kitchen. “There's an energy when creative people get together talking about basically nothing,” Lekometros says. He calls it “neural networking.”
Slide shows, movies, and print and broadcast work, all intended as creative stimuli, are projected on a huge white polycarbonate sphere suspended above the main stair. And electronic billboards add an element of showmanship throughout, starting behind the reception desk. They can be programmed almost instantaneously for what Lekometros refers to as an “immersionin a client's imagery”—a handy effect when it's time for that big pitch.
As a perk for employees who spend most of their waking hours in the office, Momentum provides a workout room and showers. Executive creative director Greg Sullentrup also reports that a bubble-hockey game made the move here from one of the agency's former offices. “It's not unusual to see someone on a scooter zipping down a hallway,” he continues. “And we're hoping to get the basketball hoop put up outside.”