Getting more play time
Rebecca Flint Marx -- Interior Design, 10/1/2003 12:00:00 AM
If matte paint and polished wood floors have become a kind of secular SoHo religion, then the New York office of Face the Music represents exuberant sacrilege. With an aluminum racing stripe bisecting high-gloss white walls and vibrantly red wall-to-wall stretching as far as the eye can see, the 8,600-square-foot loft is a triumph of ingenuity over conformity. Which is fitting, given that Face the Music—a producer of compositions for television commercials and film—belongs to an industry based on progressive thinking.
"It's a place to be creative, with clarity and vision, but it's also this big playroom," designer Nolé Marin says of the office and its expansive lounge. The latter is dotted by white vinyl-covered seating, a red-topped pool table, a huge glowing aluminum-wire sphere, and a sleek white lacquered turntable console that could easily be the controls of the mother ship. Indeed, the lounge looks sufficiently—and intentionally—retro enough to make Barbarella and the hapless astronauts of 2001: A Space Odyssey feel equally at home.
It started out much more Dilbert. Previously a showroom and office for fashion label Club Monaco, the interior was defined by rows of desks and a badly warped wood floor. Nevertheless, Marin was intoxicated by the loft's vast measurements. "In New York, that much space was just mind-blowing," he says.
A magazine fashion director without previous interiors experience, the fledgling designer was brought in by FTM partner Adam Joseph, a longtime friend. Marin made it his priority to take advantage of the office's sheer size, removing the desks and building perimeter offices instead. He also tore out the existing light fixtures, which he remembers as "horrendous canisters," and replaced the offenders with simple globe pendants arrayed in symmetrical rows.
What truly transformed the space, of course, was the carpet. Although it makes the office's boldest statement, the choice derived as much from economy and function as from stylistic considerations. "We were on a tight budget, and we needed something for soundproofing," says Marin. Rather than sink the company's savings on redoing the floor, he decided to hide it. The carpet's color is taken from FTM's red-and-white logo.
With such an unexpected foundation to build on, Marin opted for a unified selection of furniture and accessories. Everything—from custom love seats in the Ludwig Mies van der Rohe mode to the kitchen's stainless-steel flatware—contributes to the construction of an overall image. The result is a place where musicians and clients can conduct business or simply relax. And, says Marin, it can only get better: "We just unpacked the video games. That's going to be fabulous."