Originally built as a factory for General Electric, the historic building located in the heart of the Meatpacking district, newly houses the headquarters for Valtech - the worldwide leader in technology and digital marketing.
The firm turned to Interior Architect Piret Johanson to creatively mitigate between the rectangular industrial brick structure and their "efficient yet funky" corporate ethos.
"For this project, I was briefed to respect the existing features - exposed brick walls, rows of columns and windows," says Johanson. The firm also stipulated that the 300m2 office incorporate a reception area, private office, two meeting rooms, and a one-person rest area.
Completed in October, 2011, Johanson's design respects the ruggedly industrial-looking building and its sharply rectangular floor plan, by not interfering with the existing structure. Instead she designed an organic volume in the center of the space, boldly contradicting the typical cubical office design. The curving, billowing structure is split in half and contains the built-in reception desk, private office, and two meeting rooms - one for twelve people, and a more private space for six.
The new walls lean outward and inward as they rise up, forming a funnel shape that fuses with the columns, giving the illusion that the columns are disappearing into the organic structure. Echoing the central space, at the end of the office a serpentine wall defines the kitchen, wardrobes, and printer/copier nook. Wood veneer desks and cardboard furniture were chosen with sustainability in mind, along with window shading systems that minimize the office's energy consumption.
"My overall aim was to create a free-form, organic volume," says Johanson. "I tried to relate to people who spend most of their time in a virtual world. This world is free of limits, angles, corners. It isn't linear. This inspired my design which matches the free-thinking mindset of my client."