September 1, 2012

As Good As New: Gensler Redoes a Dated Space for Omnicom

Hand-me-down clothes or toys are never an easy sell, no matter how hard Mom tries. Second-hand interiors occupy roughly the same emotional real estate. Nevertheless, the global advertising and marketing communications holding company Omnicom Group selected its subsidiary Harrison and Star to take over 78,000-square feet that had been built out for a sister agency years ago. Suffice it to say that things were very dated, with a mélange of modular work stations and boilerplate architectural details. 

Lacking the budget for a gut job, Gensler principal Brian Berry implemented common sense measures such as replacing dingy ceiling tile. His splurge at reception swapped in white-painted expanded-mesh ceiling panels to hide chaotic wiring and ducts. Made from either the aforementioned mesh or acoustic tile, free-floating canopies define break-out nodes throughout.

Upholstered seating for the nodes and the lounge and meeting area known as the mega-zone is up-to date. Workstations and task chairs, however, were existing. To refresh the office landscape, Berry simply redistributed their sprinkling of purple red panels to create monochromatic neighborhoods. He also perked up blank walls with graphics printed on adhesive vinyl film: dancing abstractions of the skeletal system, blood vessels, and muscle, all references to the prescription-drug ads that Harrison and Star produces to target doctors. “Here’s a six-pack,”he says, indicating some jaunty abdominals in a corridor. Frank Gehry’s pendant fixtures, actually meant to resemble clouds, look appropriately bone-white in this context. Just what the doctor ordered.

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