Shock of the Hue
Architecture firm Core makes a colorful statement at the command center of Porter Novelli's interactive group in Washington, D.C.
Jen Renzi -- Interior Design, 11/1/2002 12:00:00 AM
When Porter Novelli's interactive group, which provides Web-based services to marketing clients, leased new offices in Washington, D.C., local architecture firm Core was charged with designing a youthful and energetic space that adhered to the building's sustainability guidelines. But another sort of green sensibility proved just as influential to the interiors scheme. "The colors push the envelope in a very graphic way," project designer Kathleen Claire Ngiam says of the 3,000-square-foot space, defined by curving citrus-green walls and electrified by saturated red and blue accents. "It's a little nightclubby, a little trippy." Indeed, clubbers might feel right in their element peeping through the conference room's bubble window or camping out on Verner Panton's kooky, snakelike Phantom lounge in one of the two breakout areas.
And what is that blanket of freshly fallen snowflakes on the ceiling? To maximize height, the architects left the 9 1/2-foot ceiling's wiring and ductwork essentially exposed, treating the entire plane with a layer of K-13 acoustic-insulation spray in arctic white. "It cleans everything up and creates a rather surreal effect," says Peter Hapstak, principal in charge. Made of recycled cellulose fibers, it's also eco-friendly.
Despite the fanciful furnishings and treatments and the juiced-up colors, delivering a functional layout was the overriding concern for Core. "They're a small, tight group that likes to work together. Interactive pretty much spells it out," says Ngiam. As a result, the collaborative work environment has just six private offices along the perimeter. For maximum flexibility, Core selected wheeled Werndl workstations, with acrylic panels to enhance the penetration of light. Counterintuitively, storage units were kept to a minimum. Explains Hapstak, "The group gets a lot of promotional junk. We didn't want anybody to have too many places to accumulate stuff." Nonetheless, Porter Novelli's ever resourceful employees have found ample room to display such colorful tchotchkes as a SpongeBob SquarePants doll and miniature Hoberman sphere, keeping the mood bright during crunch times.