Sometimes it just takes a fresh pair of eyes… I’ll confess: if I have to hear about one more “open
office” and how “freeing” it is to the employee, I’m gonna hurl.
You’ve been warned.
We’re often asked as editors what we’re looking for when
we decide on projects or products to cover. My answer is
always very simple: something I’ve never seen before.
So when I received images of The Bloc, designed by Foˉ z
Design in collaboration with The Mufson Partnership
(a NELSON Company), I knew we’d found something
special. The new offices for this company, which
specializes in pharmaceutical advertising, opened
on their 15th anniversary this past July. It was also
a celebration of the completion of Foˉ z’s very first
commercial design project.
“It was a pretty big endeavor for us,” said Fauzia
Khanani, co-founder of Foˉ z. The firm was forced to shift
gears in terms of how they think about their profession, putting
them on a different scale of practice with a new breed of client.
The interior is a big reflection of not just the company culture,
but their decision to move downtown in New York City, as
the Financial District continues to blossom into a haven for
creative agencies. The Bloc previously maintained two offices
(one in Flatiron, the other in Chelsea, about one block apart),
with employees running back and forth between. Now they
are all in one place for the first time in seven years.
“They’re sort of ‘uncorporate,’” laughed Khanani. The
material selection of raw steel and wood evokes that notion,
and also serves as a throwback to what the area used to be
before Wall Street reigned supreme.
But what really caught my eye was the utilization of very bold
lines and varying levels throughout the space, which Khanani used
to give this open office a sense of organization and formality.
“I wanted those lines to move through the space and for
your eye to continually follow that whether looking at the ceiling
or looking at furniture, walls, or finishes,” she said, and differing
floor heights expanded on that idea of allowing the interiors to
dictate workflow and direction. “We wanted to come up with an
idea for the space that allowed you to break it up into smaller
sections in this vast idea of an open plan. Because you don’t
want people to feel lost in that. So how do you do that without
putting up walls?” she asked, especially with gorgeous 180
views of the East River to seize.
All private offices were pushed to the mezzanine levels,
elevating them just above the workstations which are at eye
level and then very low, informal meeting furniture was used.
“It’s about finding equality in the quality of space for everybody,” Khanani added.
And this is one of the most original ways we’ve seen it
done as of late. I hope this is only the beginning of a long
career in the commercial design biz for Foˉ z.
42 INTERIORS & SOURCES DECEMBER 2015
Editor’s Choice By AnnMarie Martin | Photography by Garrett Rowland
New York City
Foˉz Design in collaboration with The
Mufson Partnership (a NELSON company)