interior with a tiled bar, some large plants and tables for working or socializing

In Brooklyn’s Tallest Office Tower One Floor Offers a New Way to Work

The designers of One Willoughby Square aim to attract tenants that have embraced hybrid work with a hospitality space that’s accessible to the whole building.

As employers find new ways to entice their workforces back to the office, many are choosing real estate that offers more than just standard open-plan floorplates, underground parking, and basic gym facilities. Developers and their architects are introducing new concepts that go beyond the gimmicky sleeping pods, slides, and thematic cafeterias that certain companies totted in past decades.

For Brooklyn’s brand new One Willoughby Square (1WSQ) Class A business block—designed by FXCollaborative—New York mainstay JEMB Realty Corporation called on interdisciplinary firm Vocon to outfit a 15th-floor amenity space. Incorporating lounges, outdoor terraces, and acoustically rated multi-purpose flex rooms, the 5,400 square-foot suite was designed to feel like a private club while remaining accessible to all of the building’s tenants. It serves as a sort of third place; Areas within community buildings that are not defined as home or workspaces.

amenity center interior with leather chairs and wood paneling

“It’s a space that can be used for anything from focused work time, a connecting location where employees can comfortably meet with colleagues and be part of a community, host events and close deals with potential clients,” says Thomas Vecchione, Vocon New York’s managing principal. “As the landscape of the conventional workday changes, our strategy also needs to evolve. How do you encapsulate the essence and comfortability of working remotely in the office? 1WSQ’s amenity space evokes warmth, softness, and attention.”

By designing a workspace like a hospitality destination, Vocon is setting out to change the corporate design landscape and meet new demands. With a palette of bold and muted tones, rounded edges, and layered details, the firm sought to create an environment that will be used frequently, and that won’t end up empty after the novelty wears off. Anchoring the space is The Garden Smart Bar, which is clad in sapphire brick, a scheme that evokes 1WSQ’s sleek exterior. “We wanted it to be effortlessly functional and beautiful,” Vecchione adds. “The space’s finishes are mostly neutral, allowing design accents to shine. We mixed in warm metals, woven and tucked fabric walls, playful terrazzo, and plants in the center of the bar. We blended classic materials like marble with the rawness of the concrete floor, columns, and ceilings.”

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interior of a conference room that can also be used for events with wooden walls, blue banquettes, and a black table

Facilitating both a sense of hard work and reward—a happy hour cocktail to decompress at the end of the week, or a place to take meetings away from the office—the amenity space should feel like a home away from home. The full-floor suite was carefully zoned to play host to different functions at different times, much like a well-used hotel lobby. The lounges serve as workstations but can easily be transformed for a party or other gatherings. The bar is fully equipped for food and drink catering. Multiple groups of guests can use it simultaneously or book out the whole floor for an event. The developer and the architects believe this kind of environment will be attractive to companies looking to bring their employees back to the office while also accommodating their evolving needs and changing expectations.

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