VSP Global has established a new home in The Shop East, an innovation lab that focuses on developing technologies for the physical and digital aspects of eyewear and eye care.  For their new Manhattan location, VSP Global tasked Kostow Greenwood Architects to create a workplace to meet the demands of a team of creative entrepreneurs - designers, technicians, and researchers - meant to push the boundaries of industrial design and alternative manufacturing as they revolutionize the eyewear industry.

The result of a technology design firm collaborating with an architectural design firm is an efficient, solution-oriented, visually appealing work environment that is also fun, flexible and casually comfortable.

The Shop East at VSP Global is a workplace designed to encourage creative disruption within an organized work environment. The intent is to maintain an open collaborative space, while simultaneously defining zones for different types of work for teams and individuals.

Design Challenges

• An unfinished interior with little natural light despite having windows on three sides. Anticipating that there will be even less natural light with the future completion of new construction blocking the western exposure. 

• Connecting two floors to allow easy circulation and communication between the executive offices and the work teams.

• Creating a fun, flexible and open environment answering the diverse needs of technicians, fabricators, designers, executives and visiting clients. 

• A desire to have break-out work areas adjacent to the open office desks to support social and small group work interactions.

• The collaborative collective consciousness of the work team produces a trail of ideas that need to be captured and easily displayed in a way conducive to their workflow. 


Design Relevance

• A playground space for creative, open work space that encourages collaborative working sessions and exchange of diverse viewpoints within the studio. 

• Specific areas are designed for group collaboration.  Standing-height long narrow “tables” with writable surfaces are located between the workstations and are ideal for brain storming and sketch sessions. 

• The suspended soffit articulates the beautiful open loft space of the early 1900’s NYC commercial building.  It visually defines the open work areas and the support spaces, terminating at the floor in two locations - as storage cabinetry in The Color Library and a drink station for one of the pantry areas. 

• The soffit houses the recessed lighting over The Color Library and work counter adjacent the spiral stairs.  The soffit is also the boundary for the major mechanical equipment thus hiding the locations of supply air grilles/ductwork that feed the open workstations and keep the main space ceiling open. The soffit, along with the circular lights, delineate a ceiling plane within the exposed ceiling system and neither item extends above this line, making the underside of the structure above appear higher than it actually is.

• Customized storage solutions. Since innovative product design is an evolutionary process, the cabinetry in The Color Library was designed to permit effortless storing and retrieving of eyeglass storage trays which contain countless design iterations. 

• Extensive felt tackable wall facilitates group work processes, efficient exchange of information, brainstorming and decision-making.  The felt wall covering also provides some sound absorption to mitigate some of the acoustical challenges of creating an open space that supports creative work and collaboration.

• Economic and sustainable results of having selected certain energy-efficient elements like LEDs.

Photography Credits: Studio Brooke




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