April 1, 2010
Mix It Up: Materials & Products
Taking a cue from the client’s desire for a less corporate look, Studios’ interiors team looked for authentic textures and finishes.
Before designing Grey Group’s headquarters in New York, Studios Architecture spent a lot of time in the gutted space, exploring the remnants of the building. Because the Grey creatives were adamant about avoiding a corporate look, the interior-design team was drawn to the warmth of traditional materials: terra-cotta, mosaic marble tiles, red concrete flooring. At the client’s insistence, the designers revealed the original concrete floors in much of the space. “Every time we had to patch or infill a part of the floor with another material, it was like a chicken-pox scar that just became part of the space,” says Tom Krizmanic, a principal of Studios. “We had a lot of discussions about how raw to leave things. How raw is raw?”
Juxtaposing modern elements with existing ones was another im-portant decision. The designers eschewed historicist pastiche in favor of simple, authentic materials—the cork is raw cork, the wood is reclaimed wood. They avoided materials that Krizmanic calls “too cool,” settling on a mix that gives the large office a surprisingly residential feel. “Grey didn’t want the space to feel like a forced funky thing,” Krizmanic says. “So there is no Astroturf; there are no red-leather rooms. In the end, it’s pretty clear what’s new and what’s old. It was our job to find the balance between them.”
“Mix It Up” sidebars: