Game Show Network's Los Angeles office plays its cards right
Edie Cohen -- Interior Design, 11/1/2004 12:00:00 AM
It was a clever PowerPoint presentation based on the quiz-show classic Jeopardy! that sealed the deal when Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum's Los Angeles office made its pitch to the Game Show Network. However, HOK's proposal didn't outline a plan for a particular space for the cable television company, which distributes old-time favorites and produces new shows such as Celebrity Blackjack and Whammy! The All New Press Your Luck. That's because executives at GMS had yet to find the right location in which to consolidate five generic offices in Culver City.
"But all the planets quickly aligned," says HOK vice president Brett Shwery, principal in charge. It just so happened that, two years before, HOK had completed a Santa Monica office for IBM's e-business division—real estate that Big Blue was now hoping to sublet. And the space basically fit the bill for GSN: 33,000 square feet on the ground, third, and fourth floors of a four-story building in the desirable Westside media district. Plus, HOK's fit-out for IBM already included a data center and a raised floor to handle complex cabling. A site tour also revealed that the majority of existing furnishings would be appropriate to the fledgling cable company's efforts to impress investors and clients while defining itself as hip, smart, and fun-loving.
The reuse-and-recycle method of rebranding enabled HOK to complete the project in eight months and shave more than $800,000 from its cost, bringing the final total down to $2 million. Perhaps equally important, the approach allowed the architects to act as champions of ecological responsibility.
Throughout, HOK kept the envelope intact. Ceilings are still exposed—with serpentine baffles strategically placed for sound control. Flooring is still black, white, or black-and-white, yet judicious bursts of color go a long way in changing the atmosphere. Faced with white Carrara marble floor tile in reception areas, HOK just added midnight-blue carpet rounds.
One such carpet round, near reception on the ground floor, is now populated by the white scooped forms of Christophe Pillet's leather-covered chairs. For the entertainment quotient, zero in on a foosball table and pinball machine. They allow personnel to decompress after meetings in the adjacent main conference room, set off by pivoting acoustical panels of perforated maple. At one end of the ground floor, AVID editing bays and the existing data center profit from IBM's raised flooring.
Most of the 100-member staff occupies the third floor, and its 70/30 open-to-closed ratio represents a significant cultural shift for the company. "To make the space work, we took them out of private offices," says design principal Pam Light. To make the project's reuse premise work, HOK simply reconfigured the inherited Knoll workstations.
GSN president and CEO Rich Cronin, a Nickelodeon alum, claimed most of the fourth floor for executives, so managers—once dispersed in far-flung buildings—now sit just steps from one another. Outside the floor's central circular conference room, ringed by a cantilevered bench covered in white leather, the icy-pure setting is tempered by azure and olive painted accents and the orange and royal-blue wool seats of Eero Saarinen's Tulip stools. On the carpet round demarcating the executive reception area sit inherited Egg chairs by Arne Jacobsen, now re-covered in hand-stitched silver vinyl.
Cronin's suite has access to a private terrace, but the famed L.A. sunshine isn't exclusively a perquisite of the corner office. A terrace off the executive café offers an alfresco option for discussing the next big game to hit the small screen. Stay tuned.