Aric Chen -- Interior Design, 5/1/2003 12:00:00 AM
Don't expect to find basketball hoops or giant beanbags at the New York office of AgencySacks. "We're not one of those brash, young ad agencies," jokes Andrew Sacks, the agency's rather young president. When Sacks recently moved his 25 employees to an office in the fur district, he was looking for a space that encouraged the kind of creative interaction on which advertising agencies rely. Nevertheless, the environment had to feel appropriate to the firm's stable of luxury clients, such as Stark Carpet Corporation and the Peninsula Group of hotels. "Our work is very much about detail, and our office needs to reflect that," explains Sacks, who—searching for economy and sophistication—enlisted MR Architecture + Décor for the 4,000-square-foot job.
Spanning one side of a 1920s tower, the floor plan is roughly rectangular. Principal David Mann placed Sacks's office at one end, the conference room and two semiprivate offices at the other. Reception and an expanse of workstations lie in between. In order to separate the central work- stations from the flanking offices and conference room but still take full advantage of the sunlight admitted on three sides, the architects used tall sliding doors of translucent Lumasite acrylic, framed in a dark matte-stained mahogany.
"The space was empty when we began, which enabled us to make it much more open and bring light all the way through," says Mann. To supplement the natural light and soften the harshness of fluorescents, he installed standard fixtures upside down.
For the furnishings, Mann developed a program of subtle juxtapositions. Dark sisal covers the floor in office spaces, while the sealed concrete remains bare in circulation areas. The swooping lines of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's Brno chairs and the organic forms of George Nelson's Bubble lamps and Pierre Paulin's Orange Slice chairs contrast with the squared-off forms of Florence Knoll lounge seating and MR's own furniture. Custom pieces in blackened steel are reminiscent of Donald Judd: the reception desk, the glass-topped conference and coffee tables, the desk and wall units in Sacks's office. MR also devised workstation partitions in welded blackened steel.
In reception and Sacks's office, select pieces of upholstered furniture make a small yet powerful statement in vibrant reddish orange. ("I always liked orange," Sacks says simply.) The 40-foot-long wall that runs down one side of the main space is painted in that same unexpected accent color. Most other walls and the ceiling are painted taupe, promoting an atmosphere that's intentionally restrained. And remarkably grown-up.