September 1, 2012

A True Original: OriginalMedia’s New York HQ by Berman Horn Studio

Chefs, fashion stylists, and alligator hunters converge at OriginalMedia, the production company behind such TV reality shows as BBQ Pitmasters, The Rachel Zoe Project, and Swamp People and the film The Squid and the Whale. So the office where these colorful worlds collide had to be extremely flexible. Like many of the industrial lofts in the Hudson Square neighborhood, this one formerly housed a printing press. Berman Horn Studio—which had designed the near by Wooster Street Social Club, where another Original Media show, NY Ink, is shot—was charged by CEO Charlie Corwin with retaining the “urban authenticity” of the 15,000- square-foot space.

Retaining the original concrete floor, architects Maria Berman and Bradley Horn delivered an open plan marked by simple materials and filled with natural light— both of them mitigating the high-tech presence of the production equipment. Some of the digital muscle is visible on race ways suspended from the ceiling.“The infrastructure flows freely above, then dives down where it needs to be,” Horn explains. In so doing, it visually links work zones and common space in a kind of mini city for the 90-person staff.

In what’s called the Village, editing booths line up, four in a row, to create the effect of streets, complete with numbers. “It encourages socializing via a kind of Jane Jacobs idea of GreenwichVillage,” Bermanadds.“You can see people popping out of their doors and chatting with their neighbors.” On the booths’ furniture-grade plywood enclosures, a graffiti artist composed a gritty mural combining urban figures with impressionistic skyline views. Across a perpendicular avenue from the Village is the Pit, a bench-seating office area where scenes of shoe closets and swamp vermin might be story boarded on a wall system. While most of the office is a blank canvas, primed for storytelling, Corwin’s own corner is the exception. Berman and Horn sourced many of the vintage items, including a chesterfield sofa, a Tabriz rug, and a lantern from a speakeasy. All seem steeped in Hollywood glamour—the perfect stage set for a successful producer.

Recent Projects