March 28, 2020

RA-DA Architects Designs Communal New York Office with Colorful Escape

The cafe provides a bright and fun escape from the workplace and also serves as a go-to spot for quick meetings. Photography by Ralf Strathmann. 

When planning the redesign of GFP Real Estate’s new Manhattan office space, RA-DA Architects, a boutique design practice based in Los Angeles, focused on designing the workspace with a sense of “community” in mind. The real estate firm, whose business makes them landlords to many other New York companies, needed a well-designed work environment to give them their own space reflective of their culture while serving as an example to their tenants.

The office space, which occupies the 14th floor of a Park Avenue high-rise overlooking Grand Central Station, needed to serve the primary purpose of a functional workspace. GFP already had space on the fifth and 12th floors of the same building with the company’s board room and meeting space. The challenge was to create a communal and connected environment even though half the square footage of the 7,500-square-foot space was needed to provide executive offices.

RA-DA achieved this by lining the perimeter with the private offices then grouping the staff centrally around a long desk. They also added a bright cafe full of light, pattern, and color to provide a brief escape from the workplace that almost feels like going out to lunch.

The cafe features fun pendant lighting from Louis Poulsen and tables by BoConcept paired with Normann Copenhagen chairs. Photography by Ralf Strathmann. 
The entry offers a dramatic wood-paneled introduction to the space. The left side leads to the main workspace and the right side leads to the cafe. Photography by Ralf Strathmann. 
Color, pattern, and lighting give the cafe added charm. Here, a long meeting table can be sectioned off by glass doors as needed. Photography by Ralf Strathmann. 
A lounge space, fully-equipped for video conferencing, is tucked into the far corner of the cafe. It can accommodate up to 12 people.Photography by Ralf Strathmann. 
Initially, RA-DA attempted to centralize the offices leaving the edges open to light and views, but too many private offices were needed and the scheme dispersed the staff which was the opposite of what the firm wanted to achieve. The final solution was to line the perimeter with the private offices, then group the staff centrally around a long desk. Photography by Ralf Strathmann. 
The hallway between the private executive offices. Photography by Ralf Strathmann. 
The workspace is monochromatic with blocks of black used to create entry markers and articulate functional zones. The wood flooring adds a natural element and softens the space. Photography by Ralf Strathmann. 

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