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Wow Factor on the 26th Floor
http://www.officebcs.com 商务中心资讯网

IT wasn’t an easy sell. One partner wanted the space; the other needed to be convinced. The 10,000-square-foot top-floor aerie at 250 West 57th Street, between Broadway and Eighth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, was unusual at best. It had 20-foot-high ceilings with huge skylights, but there was no elevator from the 25th floor to the top-floor space on the 26th. The place was also raw in the truest sense.

It was only after four visits and viewing architects’ renderings that Mark E. Landesman and Paul M. Zukowsky, partners in ML Management Associates, business managers for fashion models and prominent figures in the entertainment arena, found themselves on the same page. Their new headquarters is a pleasing maze of dramatic angles and textures awash in light most of the day.

Walls painted in tones of russet, wheat and gold warm up oblong corridors of cubicles, three private offices and two enclosed conference areas. It all comes together in exactly what the team wanted: a mix of accountants’ conservatism with a dash of Hollywood pizazz.

The designer is Mufson Partnership, which is used by the management company for the building and has designed offices for more than a dozen other clients inside it. The top floor of the building, which dates back to 1921, was one of a kind and held a few surprises as demolition progressed, according to Edward Von Sover, a principal in Mufson. For example, as one ceiling was removed, a second was revealed. Removing ceiling No. 2 revealed No. 3.

“It was a phenomenal space that no one was expecting,” Mr. Von Sover said. W & H Properties, which did the marketing of the space, originally had it on the market along with the 25th floor in a 20,000-square-foot package, but after a few months with no takers, it started offering the two floors separately. A wheelchair lift was installed.

The odd shape of the space presented the project’s biggest challenges. It had to be configured in a way that would offset the fact that the ceilings were higher in many places than the space was wide.

And the light from the space’s six extremely large skylights had to be corralled to compensate for the fact that few windows were low enough to provide views of the outside and none of them were in the common areas.

“The disadvantage of a ceiling this high is the feeling that you are in a tunnel,” Mr. Von Sover said.

He and his associate on the project, Christina Powaday, used many tricks of the design trade to bring it into proportion. The firm also designed the Midtown headquarters for QVT Financial and Pershing Square Capital Management.

Visitors walk into the ML Management space from a small landing at the top of a staircase. Upon entering, they see all six of skylights along the facing sloped ceiling. This is where the ceilings are the highest, at 20 feet, and are stripped down to the building slab. A row of round, industrial-type pendant light fixtures is hung at a level that helps soften the proportions of the huge room. This also helps offset the angles of the ceilings so workers don’t feel overpowered, Ms. Powaday said.

The main conference room is immediately to the right of the reception area. It has glass walls on two sides whose panes are framed in gray metallic strips. Ceilings inside this room, which is painted stark white, are only 13 feet high. This helps the proportions of the room, which is dominated by a single skylight and accommodates building equipment that is concealed overhead.

Designers used another trick to offset the ceiling height: all doors are 10 feet high, instead of the usual 7 or 8. In the conference room, doors are all glass; elsewhere, they have a cherry wood finish with glass panels called sidelights on one side to bring light into private offices.

The three private offices are carpeted, as are the conference rooms and areas with cubicles. This is to absorb sound in the space, although the rest of the floor is the original concrete treated with a sealant.

Overhead throughout the space, much of the duct work remains exposed, for a loftlike look. This rough-hewn feel juxtaposes handily with sleek glass finishes like those on the receptionist’s desk.

The executive offices have panels suspended from the ceiling to give the quarters more conventional proportions without taking away all of the drama; the panels also help isolate building machinery on a level above. Throughout the space, the furniture leans more toward the conservative, like the 12-foot long conference table made from black granite and framed in cherry and maple wood.

The furniture in Mr. Landesman’s office came from the firm’s previous offices, rented space at 120 West 55th Street near the Avenue of the Americas. The rest of ML’s furniture is second hand. It comes from the Furniture X-Change in North Brunswick, N.J., according to Mr. Zukowsky, who said the choice was as much about price as about principle.

“Why buy a new cubicle when there are 50 containers of the stuff sitting in New Jersey?” he said. “Furniture depreciates even faster than a new car when you drive it off the lot.”

ML, a 21-year-old company, has always operated out of conventional office space. In the new offices, it wanted a bit of a “wow” factor that would give the space a luster more in line with the kinds of clients it has, from the theater, film, television and fashion industries, along with a few lawyers.

Mr. Zukowsky also wanted an environment that would help staff members look forward to coming to work each day. When the move is complete over the next several weeks, there will be 32 employees, including the two partners.

“Sun makes you happier,” he said. “People walk around in sunglasses here. It’s fabulous.”