inside - Crain's New York Business

A Special Advertising Supplement to Crain’s New York Business
WORKING’ Christopher Hosford
Special Advertising Section
ew York companies increasingly are moving
away from office spaces featuring cubicles and
perimeter offices, and adopting unconventional layouts,
residential-type furniture and wide-open interior spaces.
These are moves toward what is known as “activitybased working,” creating offices that promote employee
comfort along with enhanced productivity.
There’s another side effect: These changes can
produce office interiors that are simply spectacular to see
and work in.
A prime example is the new office of Gerson
Lehrman Group (GLG), at 60 E. 42nd St. (One Grand
Central Place, the former Lincoln Building), designed
by San Francisco-based Clive Wilkinson Architects. The
consultancy moved in June from traditional offices on
3rd Avenue in Turtle Bay, and was determined to create
interiors in its new 65,000-square-foot space that worked
as impressively for visiting clients as for employees.
The lobby, a vast two-story atrium with a skylight,
is dominated by a central staircase and flanked by open
workspaces, couches, easy chairs and cozy, glass-enclosed
collaboration rooms.
An open coffee bar is off the atrium, complete with a
professional barista who serves employees their favorite
coffee concoctions while they work on laptops at the bar
or on nearby couches. Employees have no assigned seating
and work within a concept known as “hoteling”—that
is, their workspace of choice lacks personal items; the
things they bring to work are stored in assigned lockers.
If employees need privacy for personal matters, they can
retreat to enclosed “phone booths.”
“It completely deconstructs the typical idea of an
office,” says Richard Socarides, GLG spokesperson. “We
wanted a very modern space which sends a message to
both our employees and visitors, that this is a place of
innovation, and that something new and big is happening
here,” he says.
Another representative office is the headquarters of
ad agency Horizon Media, at 75 Varick St., designed
by architecture firm A+I Design. A first phase was
completed in mid-2010, with more phases to come.
The 150,000-square-foot space, across three floors,
features collaboration areas with couches and tables
arranged against tall windows. These are separated from
the interior work space by wide corridors lined with
cushioned benches for ad hoc teamwork. Conference
rooms and executive offices are set against the central
Similar to the GLG space, Horizon’s office is
dominated by a grand staircase that cascades in a straight
line through all three floors. It leads down to The Dunes,
an open public space with terraced, cushioned seating
where employees can gather to collaborate or relax. A
compelling feature of Horizon’s office is a massive open
terrace on the building’s 14th floor, an amenity one
would expect in a luxury penthouse apartment.
“The search for office space and
decisions about design aren’t all
quantitative,” says Bradley Zizmor,
an A+I principal. “There are more
basic questions, such as, ‘What does it
mean to come to work?’ and ‘Where
are you most productive?’ It opens
up the reality that humans are more
creative when they work in a variety
of situations and areas.”
A+I worked closely with office furniture company
Steelcase Corp. to customize Horizon’s modular
furniture, cabinets and storage units.
“The essence of activity-based working is about
taking your workplace and really making it a destination,”
says Vanessa Bradley, Steelcase advanced applications
manager and interior designer.
“Ideally, it can become a hub, a magnet that helps
employees want to work there,” she says. “We believe you
can drive engagement by creating a variety of spaces for
employees to choose from, and then giving them the
power to choose.”
Microsoft Corp.’s new offices at 11 Times Square
include 205,000 square feet across six floors. Designed
by architecture firm Gensler and newly opened in
February, the space has no private offices and no
assigned spaces.
Microsoft’s “work anywhere” concept extends
to tables and chairs near the windows, various long
tables, multiple banquettes with smaller tables and
private single-user “pods” that block out sight and
sound for greater privacy. As at Horizon Media, there
is a large, wrap-around open terrace available for
employees to work en plein air.
“Senior leadership wanted spontaneous
collaboration, not planned collaboration,” says Keith
J. Milone, Microsoft real estate portfolio manager.
“We think it’s an environment that enables workers to
reach their fullest potential.”
We congratulate our client
on breaking ground for
Trinity Academic Center
a $40 million, 80,000-square foot, LEED certified building
on Trinity Washington University’s campus that will feature
state-of-the-art science and health labs and classrooms
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Special Advertising Section
g the
g team to smooth
your office
ffi move
By Christopher Hosford
It’s time to move your
office from one building to another. Do you
have the right team in
It’s not an idle question. The move of any
office, particularly a large one, requires the close
cooperation of a whole raft of experts, both inhouse and outside the firm. Ensuring that everyone
critical to the operation is on board, and that they
collaborate fully and effectively, can mean the
difference between a successful move that facilitates
future productivity gains … and disaster.
“You can’t work in a vacuum,” says Francine
Smith, an interior designer at Hunt Woods Manor
Design Group, in Mount Vernon, N.Y., who
specializes in commercial real estate space.
“It’s best if the client can identify
subject-matter experts for each
department or need. You don’t
want to find out too late that
IT needs a 10-by-10 room for
wiring that wasn’t planned for.
And some departments might
not even exist yet, depending on
how long the company will be
in its new space. You want to be
flexible and plan for growth.”
The lineup of team members can be long and
inclusive. For example, the team facilitating Gerson
Lehrman Group’s (GLG) June move into its new office
space at 60 E. 42nd St. included the following: acoustics
consultant, audiovisual consultant, architect, budget
analyst, building occupancy permit expediter, food
service consultant, general contractor, graphic
designer, lighting consultant, mechanical engineer,
move specialist, office designer, project manager
and structural engineer.
Information technology was represented in the
person of Dennis O’Brien, vice president of IT and
office operations.
“Of course, you start with a real estate broker
(continued on page S6)
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(in GLG’s case, that was CBRE Group Inc.) who knows
the client and its positioning, where employees and
clients are coming from and their ease of travel, and
more,” O’Brien says. He also cites the value of a project
management firm (here, Gardiner & Theobald), in
particular in negotiating the price of materials, among
other myriad duties.
“Having the IT person on point at the facility is
important,” O’Brien says, speaking of his own role.
“The real key to combatting snafus is to be on site
constantly,” he says. “That way, I was able to hear the
daily chatter and make decisions ASAP, when needed.”
The role of the broker goes beyond a search for
available space; ideally, he or she would understand
the different “personalities” of building management
and how best to negotiate with them. Brokers can
bring some specialized knowledge as well.
“Typically, if a client has a question on the
financial end, one of our MBAs will look at the
profit and loss, cash flow, capital expenses and how
the lease will be viewed over 10 or 15 years,” says Joe
Cabrera, eastern regional vice chairman at Colliers
In searching for likely new office locales, Cabrera
says his team often does a “commutation analysis,”
studying where current employees live.
“If you have 500 people
who have always
worked in midtown,
for example, we’ll do
an analysis of who
goes into Penn Station
versus Grand Central,
to narrow down the new
location possibilities,”
Cabrera says.
“And if that midtown organization wants to move
up near Columbus Circle, they better be prepared for
employees having to endure an extra half hour to 45
minutes of commuting time, and the resulting loss of
Brendan Rafferty, facilities director with 3-D
printer manufacturer MakerBot Industries, has
become accustomed to moving office spaces:
Within the last year, he’s helped the fast-growing
Brooklyn-based company open three retail spaces,
two new offices and several additions to its factory,
in addition to managing kiosks at various Home
Depot stores.
“The facilities director can quarterback the
entire move,” Rafferty says. “Once you find the
location, you work with the landlord to draw the
lease, make sure legal reviews it and determine
that finance thinks the costs are doable. You make
sure the security deposit is taken care of, that the
insurance policy is set for the new space and that you
have enough work stations and power to support
them. I’ll make sure everyone is moved safely and
quickly, hire a cleaning company and follow up if
anything is broken.
“It’s a fun job to have,” Rafferty says, not even
stopping to catch his breath. “I’m really enjoying
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