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interiors+sources met with Khanani in Manhattan’s financial district at the offices
for creative agency The Bloc. Designed in 2015 for the international health and
wellness creative agency, the 55,268-square-foot office spanning two floors gives
Khanani and her team unique insight into their own design process. The space
was built with The Bloc’s needs in mind but Studio Fōr rents from the location,
making the firm’s members both the designers and tenants of a space created to
address another company’s needs.
The Bloc’s office is filled with idiosyncrasies that make the location comfortable when used and impressively brilliant when fully understood.
For example, the principals’ offices are located on the inside of a bank of desks
on the building’s east side. These glass-walled areas are built several feet above
the desks so that looking out over the team isn’t [blocked]. However, it’s not a
voyeuristic vantage: The team can just as easily see what is happening inside the
offices, giving a layer of transparency to their operations.
Another ingenious detail is the bench along the east wall. Overlooking the
East River, the undulating wood panels mimic the ripples in the water below.
What’s more, they change the use of the bench, either pushing the user’s legs
outward to encourage a more reclined pose or allowing them to rock forward into
a more active seated position depending on where one sits. This benching system
can easily accommodate the all-hands-on-deck “State of The Bloc” meetings via
Working from an office built with another user in mind provides the Studio Fōr team
a unique glimpse into the ways in which its designs are used on a daily basis. It’s
this feedback that helps the firm grow—that propensity toward truly listening that
has become part of the design process.
Listening goes beyond the client, however, with Khanani providing her employees
with the best experience possible. “In the jobs I had before this, I kept a notebook
of all the things that were not great about those jobs. I try to keep making a consorted
effort not to repeat those mistakes or to at least have the perspective to realize
when I am making them.”
When asked about her own experiences after being told as a child that architecture
was “for men,” and what she would tell young women today, Khanani was pensive
before responding. “It goes back to the idea of passion [and] if you really love
something,” she said. “If you do, then there’s no reason why you can’t do it regardless
of your gender or your race. Create anything. No one should stop you from doing
that. I think my advice would be to seek out places that offer you the opportunity
to explore those interests in places that will nurture you to gain experience in that
area and in that field.
“They exist,” she emphasized. “I promise, they do.”
See additional photography from this project in our
digital edition at
CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE
Areas in The Bloc's NYC
location overlook the iconic
East RIver. The undulating
wood panels that comprise benches along the
walls mimic the ripples in
the water below. Glass-enclosed meeting rooms
allow team members to see
what's happening around