A Tree Grows in Advertising
Edie Cohen -- Interior Design, 5/1/2005 12:00:00 AM
On its web site, Dastmalchi Enterprises claims it's not just another advertising agency. That's clearly apparent upon entering the company's Newport Beach, California, headquarters designed by Tag Front. Surrounding the office's central employee lounge area are 45 pine trunks, anchored in a bed of jagged slate rocks. "We wanted staff to want to come to work," says Tag Front coprincipal Mehdi Rafaty.
The trees—both a fortuitous find (fakes would have cost $1,000 each) and an efficient recycling gesture (they were already dead from a beetle scourge)—are just one example of the innovative Tag Front spirit found throughout the 17,000-square-foot rectangular-shape plan. Ingenuity was a necessity. Dastmalchi, which has done TV, radio, and print ads for such companies as Sprint, T-Mobile, and Volkswagen, often invites potential clients on-site for meetings. "The environment encourages and speaks of my team's creativity," says CEO Alex Dastmalchi.
Before taking in the staff lounge, clients are awed at reception. Announcing the custom desk of hot-rolled steel are floor-to-ceiling glass panels laminated in a vermillion film. Behind it, bubbled-aluminum panels cover the windows, generating a shadow show across the concrete floor. A seating composition—including Tag Front's Bent Over sofa, which won the Interior Design Future Furniture competition in 2002, and Patricia Urquiola's Springfield cocktail table—backs up to glass panels emblazoned with stainless-steel signage.
Beyond is the conference room, enclosed on three sides by Tag Front's custom red-tinted resin panels. A 12-by-10-foot glass table system by Hannes Wettstein is surrounded by a bevy of B. Fattorini's Arj chairs. At one end, built-in steel-clad cabinetry conceals audio-visual equipment; at the other, a glass wall slides open to the arboreal lounge.
The 750-square-foot raised platform doubles as a presentation area accommodating up to 300. During lounge mode, however, Gaetano Pesce's Up 2000 lounge chairs, a Toshiyuki Kita Saruyama sofa, and Tag Front's Swiss ottoman furnish the green-carpeted "playground," as it's dubbed by Tag Front coprincipal Mandi Rafaty.
When it's time to get down to business, the 32-person staff heads to the open work area, an industrial space with exposed ductwork, beams, and columns. Custom workstations are composed of phenolic side panels and linoleum counters. Twenty-four private offices line the perimeter.
Alex Dastmalchi's office, all 1,800 groovy square feet of it, embodies all the trappings of success, including a built-in bar and shower. The design team divided the suite into two zones via a trio of pivoting sandblasted polycarbonate towers encasing TV and sound equipment.
One side is the work area, its Jean Nouvel desk adjoined by a steel column hosting eight mini TVs, and conference area, with a custom table topped in sandblasted polycarbonate. On the other, is a lounge with a modular sofa upholstered in ecru synthetic suede.
Along the windows and north wall, the architects erected a lattice screen of steel poles threaded with thin slats of padauk and acrylic slats. Part layering, part enclosure device, it's another of Tag Front's clever solutions.