Investing in Image
Mimi Zeiger -- Interior Design, 11/1/2006 12:00:00 AM
Not far from the red neon signs of Radio City Music Hall, a flagship Charles Schwab investment center is poised and modern—a graphically arresting counterpoint to a much flashier neighbor. The limestone colonnade of Schwab's 1973 building frames the new interior. Overhead floats a glowing white box branded with the brokerage's logo: Nylon-polyester, stretched taut over a space frame, acts as a sophisticated three-dimensional billboard. At eye level, plasma screens stream visual messages to the man on the street. "The Schwab Way: Built for individuals. (not institutions)," one of them reads.
The project is among five retail branches in New York and eight in San Francisco that all resulted from a collaboration between graphics and interiors teams led, respectively, by associate partners Lonny Israel and Tamara Dinsmore. "We were working side by side the entire time. From the development of a space plan to lighting conditions and color, just about every component was touched by both disciplines," Israel says. "The idea was that every element would communicate the Charles Schwab brand." That concept carries through from the "town square" for public seminars to the office area where the workstations are. Text panels are in straightforward color combinations, such as blue and white, to underscore the investment company's trademark openness. The graphics are also scalable, so they can be applied seamlessly across mediums, from a small video screen to a large wall.
Opposite: At Charles Schwab on New York's Park Avenue, the flat-screen monitor of a painted aluminum "information totem" presents news of market activities and upcoming seminars.
From top: Stretched over an aluminum frame and internally lit by metal halides, Schwab-branded nylon-polyester serves as a billboard behind the limestone colonnade of a Harrison, Abramovitz & Harris building in New York's Rockefeller Center. The graphics team produced animation studies for broadcast across plasma screens at all 13 branches. Basic colors for signage include the blue and white used in San Francisco.
Clockwise from top left: Scalable graphics can be applied not only to a mural but also to a 42-inch video screen, for example this one on Park Avenue. Custom walnut workstations line a window wall in Rockefeller Center. In San Francisco, glass panels shield computer stations where customers can check accounts. Digital supergraphics have replaced paper posters at many locations, including Park Avenue. The graphics' layering is intended to suggest movement and depth.
PROJECT TEAM (GRAPHICS): BRAD THOMAS; ALAN SINCLAIR. PROJECT TEAM (INTERIORS): STEPHEN APKING; GENE SCHNAIR; BRAD SKIPTON; DAVID LOO; KEVIN KRAGE. FLOORING INSTALLATION (PARK AVENUE): WILKSTONE. CEILING TILE: ARMSTRONG. CUSTOM GLASS PANEL: GLASPRO. CUSTOM FURNITURE, MILLWORK: DESIGN AND PRODUCTION. CHAIR (PARK AVENUE), BENCH (SAN FRANCISCO): STEELCASE; DESIGNTEX (UPHOLSTERY). STRETCHED FABRIC SYSTEM (ROCKEFELLER CENTER): EVENTSCAPE. CUSTOM GRAPHICS FIXTURES: FLUORESCO LIGHTING SIGNS. FLOOR TILE (SAN FRANCISCO): INTERTILE. CARPET: MONTEREY CARPETS. CARPET (PARK AVENUE): LEES CARPETS. CHAIRS (ROCKEFELLER CENTER): GORDON INTERNATIONAL. CUSTOM WORKSTATIONS: IDX CORPORATION. DOOR HARDWARE: ROCKWOOD MANUFACTURING COMPANY. CARPET TILE: INTERFACE. DRAPERY FABRIC (PARK AVENUE): KNOLL. LIGHTING CONSULTANTS: FOCUS LIGHTING (PARK AVENUE, SAN FRANCISCO); SUZANNE POWADIUK DESIGN (ROCKEFELLER CENTER). MEP (ROCKEFELLER CENTER): AMBROSINO, DEPINTO SCHMIEDER. GENERAL CONTRACTORS: JOHN GALLIN SON (PARK AVENUE, SAN FRANCISCO); STRUCTURE TONE (ROCKEFELLER CENTER).