Sanjay Gangal is the President of IBSystems, the parent company of AECCafe.com, MCADCafe, EDACafe.Com, GISCafe.Com, and ShareCG.Com.
BGB GROUP in New York by TPG Architecture
October 20th, 2017 by Sanjay Gangal
Article source: TPG Architecture
BGB is an unusual communications agency in that it’s not part of an international conglomerate, it’s privately owned, which means that BGB has a specific – and colorful – personality. TPG Architecture worked closely with Gregory Passaretti and Brendon Phalen, Managing Partners, to bring its new space to life with bright colors, themed conference rooms and other amenities that their youthful workforce would surely appreciate; BGB was founded in 2005 by Passaretti, Phalen and a third partner and it is tightly focused: the firm only works with pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device clients. BGB currently has about 215 employees in the new, two floor 47,000 square foot space.
When TPG first began working on the BGB project in 2012 at 462 Broadway in Soho, the designers were asked to create an environment that was vibrant, bright and unusual for three reasons: to delight the current staff, to pique the interest of potential new hires and for the clients. Most of the pharmaceutical companies are based in suburban New Jersey, and BGB’s offices are a cultural and style departure in the best possible way.
Spread across the two floors are 2 kitchens, 3 phone rooms, the “New York” flex conference room that can accommodate up to 22 people, 3 medium sized conference rooms that double as a billiards room, and 7 small conference rooms that accommodate 4-6 people, each named after – and designed with – a local street in mind: Prince, Greene, Grand, Spring, Broome, Orchard and Bond.
The office incorporates what were originally two separate cast iron 19th-century buildings. The bones of the space showcase classic Soho loft elements: wooden floors, high ceilings, columns throughout, brick walls and huge windows along the perimeter walls that, because this is on a corner, face east, south and west. The reception area on the 6th floor gently welcomes guests with a 5’ high, deep red divider and seating area that intersects a very long wooden table/bar along the length of the front (west-facing) wall. The table is a reception desk near the elevator, becoming a DJ’s turntable on the far side of the divider, and including beer taps a few feet away – must-haves for any downtown millennial-centric office. An adjacent lounge riffs on living room motifs with a big flat-screen TV, a non-working fireplace full of a pile of real wood, plaster-cast (anti-taxidermy) animal heads mounted on the wall, mid-century furniture and a kitschy life-size ceramic zebra.
Both floors are outfitted with private lounge areas and informal breakout stations for interns, per diem employees or anyone looking for a quiet place to work. TPG worked closely with its in-house graphics team to create a personality in each conference room; it was the client’s idea to strongly theme the street name conference rooms because they feel that their location in Soho is an integral part of the firm’s identity. Accordingly, Spring Street’s walls are covered in an oversized photo print of a vibrant spring landscape; Orchard Street walls are decorated in Flavorpaper bright yellow banana wallpaper and Greene Street’s feature wall is a mosaic of 3” wooden squares cut from skateboards. Furnishings were also carefully chosen and include Tom Dixon pendants in the Bond room and the Vitra chairs in the Spring room.
As a creative agency, BGB showcases its in-house design capabilities as well; bright graphics along the upper interior walls complement TPG’s interiors. Super-blown-up images of biological imagery like cells and tissue are abstracted and interspersed with photos of New York, all intensely colored, at the ceiling line.
The New York conference room is the largest and can be separated into two smaller rooms (called Uptown or Downtown) by a clear garage door that divides the space in industrial style.
TPG took each and every detail info consideration including the connecting stairs that boast an
On the 5th floor, the library is a quiet working area defined by blue furniture, an intense yellow bookshelf, a graphic black-and-white accent rug and oversized Fontana Art dome pendant lamp. Nearby, employees can meet, work – or play billiards – in the Billiard Room, easily recognizable by three bright faux bookshelves.
Both floors feature mini bullpen-type workspaces that seat 8-10 employees. Since the redesign eliminated some individual space, TPG added employee lockers where personal items can be stowed.
Two surprising – and historic – features of the 6th floor were discovered during demolition. One, an old solid steel fire door, originally opened between the south and north buildings; it is stamped with “Underwriters Laboratories” and slides along its original hardware. The other is graffiti on one of the original brick walls, in a niche, dating to 1942; here “Ruby Falzer USNR” marked his name in an anchor logo. If a hipster art director were looking for a faux retro mark, nothing he or she could develop now would be as cool as this “found” graffiti.
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