Cool Space: Advertising Giant Grey Group
Across the street from the famous Flatiron building in New York City is the new advertising home for Grey Global Group. Facing Madison Square Park at 200 5th Avenue, the internationally known agency is thriving in an LEED Gold certified building, complete with a striking multi-story courtyard atrium and an airy floor plan. Since the start of the Grey Global Group in 1917, not only have values shifted, but the space has gotten a makeover as well. A drastic move from their offices at 777 Third Avenue, which had the company on over 20 floors, now occupies only 6 floors at 200 5th Avenue. At the old location, area between the workers was closed off; Most of the space was offices. Now, it is an open floor plan,with collaborative workspaces that are semi-private to spark creativity.
What used to be the building known as the International Toy Center, now houses advertising company Grey Group, which is part of marketing communication services company WPP. The three subsidiaries of Grey are here, which includes Grey Marketing Cohn&Wolfe, and G2. The Grey Group powerhouse is behind high profile clients such as Advil, Canon, and Proctor&Gamble. You may recognize some of their work, such as the E*Trade talking baby and quirky CoverGirl spots featuring Ellen Degeneres.
200 5th Avenue is a reflection of the company. The landmark building has a foundation of history and roots in the city, with a fresh coat of paint inside. Much like Grey Group, the building has maintained its core values while moving forward in a modern society, and setting standards for a 21st century ad agency headquarters.
When STUDIOS Architecture was designing this space, the client wanted a large ratio of open to closed space. What STUDIOS did was create an open air plan with smaller break rooms and meeting areas, designed so the creative conversation could flourish between coworkers, rather than being cut-off due to high walled cubicles. Steelcase Post and Beam workstations were chosen to satisfy this need.
A notable part of the space, is the courtyard atrium in the middle of the U shaped building. This important design element brings extra natural light into offices and spaces that might have otherwise been dark and dreary.
Walking through the giant U shape of the offices, it is almost like a maze, but you always end up where you came from. In the middle of this U is a beautiful outdoor courtyard, which G2 has access to on the 5th floor, with cantilevered terraces looking down at the main terrace on the second level. Just through the main terrace is the “Town Hall”, which is used for meetings and social events. Reclaimed wood slats have been made into doors, which can be opened for larger crowds or closed for privacy.
It is the first New York City landmarked C&S (Core & Shell) building to receive LEED Gold certification. By using high waste management, energy efficiency during and after construction, and utilizing reclaimed materials helped in part to gain this status. Warm reclaimed wood is taken directly from the remnants of the building, and made into doors such as the large sliding doors used in the “Town Hall”, as well design elements throughout the offices.
A beautiful design aesthetic are the conference areas. Large, chunky wood conference tables are separated from the work floor by metal mesh dripping down,giving an illusion of privacy between the modern workstations and the meeting area without being completely cut off from the natural hustle and bustle. TheThe warmth of the wood is counteracted by the cold dull metal of the office chairs and coil.
Keeping up with the green building mentality, they have LED work lights at every desk. They also have an assortment of lighting, such as the staggered bottle-esque pendants over the large conference desks, and chandeliers hanging over the middle of the cubicle rows.