Five of New York City's coolest offices: Google, Shutterstock, AOL Ventures, BBC Worldwide and NFL
Design Junction takes place in New York on 15-18 May. To whet the appetite before the contemporary design show gets underway, London-based design and fit out specialist Peldon Rose has picked out five of the Big Apple’s coolest office spaces ahead of the anticipated event.
1. Google, Chelsea Market
Chelsea Market is a huge building, taking up the space of entire block in a hip neighbourhood on the west side of Manhattan Island, just over the road from Google’s main NYC headquarters.
Google occupies around 400,000 square feet of the Chelsea Market building, while other portions of it are leased to companies such as MLB.com and the Food Network.
What really makes the building special is its incredible food market, which is located on the first floor and open not just to employees (who can actually get free food over at the headquarters) but to members of the public as well.
There’s an oyster bar, some of the best-regarded bakeries in the country, specialist coffee shops, a dizzying array of delis and a whole host of restaurants. Lifts up to the offices are the only signs of the tech giants that live upstairs – it’s surprising that anyone makes it up there!
2. Shutterstock, Empire State Building
Stock photography and footage company Shutterstock has been based in New York since they it was established in 2003. The company moved to its current offices in the iconic Empire State Building back in 2014.
Although located in a building that dates back to 1929, Shutterstock’s new offices were designed for the 21st century, and the results are seriously cool.
Staff were put at the heart of the design process. Studies were conducted on staff commutes, meeting sizes and downtime preferences over the course of seven months.
The final product is a free-flowing and open plan set-up, with hallways, nooks and corners providing spaces for staff to tuck themselves away without having to completely zone out of the communal buzz. It encourages collaboration but also allows for individual endeavour.
The whole office is plugged in to the company’s operations, with real-time data screens, social matrixes and live site analytics. Elsewhere, yoga, meditation and games rooms allow for changes of pace throughout the working day.
3. AOL Ventures
AOL Ventures, which is the venture capital arm of mass media corporation AOL, does not conform to the stuffy corporate image that you might expect. Their offices are located on Broadway in New York’s East Village, and they have a stripped back, industrial design that makes them look like a Brooklyn loft apartment.
Exposed brick, polished floorboards and soft lighting give the place a laid back flavour that’s perfect for creatives. Desks and workstations are located by huge windows, so workers benefit from the natural light.
The considered and well-proportioned open spaces contain areas for more intimate work that don’t cut people off from the communal office. And of course there’s a great games room with retro video games and comfy beanbags.
4. BBC Worldwide, Avenue of the Americas
The minimalist design of the BBC Worldwide offices on the Avenue of the Americas was achieved by a highly considered design approach by international architecture and design firm Perkins Eastman. BBC Worldwide was relocating to a slightly smaller space (40,000 square foot from 45,000) spread over a single floor rather than three.
There are plenty of meeting venues for all sorts of purposes, from casual seating areas to more traditional conference rooms. Teams can work together at large tables, streamlining how they generate ideas.
There are smatterings of bling, like the long chesterfield sofas and marble benches, but this is played down with the overall stripped back feel created by exposed pipe work and vents.
5. NFL Head Office, Park Avenue
The National Football League’s Head Office is a great example of how to achieve strong branding without compromising on cool. Brand identity and consistency is important for the whole business, and so was a key component of the brief put to Ted Moudis Associates, the design consultancy behind the offices, which opened in 2012.
It is a huge, 190,000 square feet space spread over four main floors, each of which represents one of the NFL’s “Four Pillars”: the game, the team, the fans, and innovation. Grid layouts are broken up with angular ceiling planes, carpet inlays and other architectural quirks, reflecting the dynamism of the game.
As well as multiple meeting and conference areas, the offices include some seriously cool spaces that would be the envy of any office. We particularly love the artificial turfed rooms surrounded by TV screens and projectors, as well as the huge outdoor terrace that seems to float within the Manhattan skyline.