understand the client and the genesis of
their company, their trajectory, and, more
important, the personality of their team
and what they really need to work and
i+s: The location on the Lower East
Side and the history of the building
seems to be an important aspect.
How would you say that mixed in with
BlueCore’s personality as a brand?
JH: You have a lot of younger people
who are just graduating college and they’re
moving to New York, and they’re excited
about it. [BlueCore was] very interested in welcoming those new employees not
only into its own fold, but into the fold of New York, making them feel at home and
welcome in the particular neighborhood. They were very interested in context and
in site, so that was an interesting thing for me. I’ve worked in the past on cultural
resources and a sense of place, so it was a perfect match for us.
i+s: What was your thought process in using so much color in the space?
JH: So I work from a perspective that I understand isn’t like everybody’s work day;
it’s actually quite rewarding to remove yourself from the norm, remove yourself from
the desk environment. Typically you think of a creative studio as a clean slate, this
white palette, something that’s smooth and neutral, so [the use of color was] to
provide a break from that to have your one-hour meeting. But also a break in terms
of having choice. You’re kind of choosing your own adventure over the course of the
day, and you might work well in the wooden room that has a bright yellow ceiling and
feels really airy, super clean, and bright versus going to the speakeasy room, which is
dark and rich, and has the gold wallpaper and marble tables. It’s a very different vibe,
and I think people very much appreciate their ability to control that throughout the
course of the day, and to have escapes within their normal workday.
i+s: How did you make sure those bold colors didn’t become overwhelming?
JH: I think that when you look at all of the photos of the space, your first impression is that it’s hyper-saturated. If you start to look at the photographs in terms of
the space and volume of the whole project, you’ll see a lot of the large spaces are
very neutral. They have a lot of white walls, white ceilings. On the first floor we did
a poured gray epoxy flooring, and the upper levels have the natural old oak floors
that were originally there. So those are the counterbalances to the brightly colored
blue phone room with the white foam walls and the red chairs, versus the indoor
park that is all grass green with the custom textiles for the upholstered cushion
and pillows we did and so forth. But you’ll notice the pool room and the speakeasy
are located directly off of a very neutral, open work floor. So I think that’s the key in
injecting the unexpected into the space and giving people that counterbalance to
an otherwise neutral palette.
i+s: What were some of the challenges in using color?
JH: We took a very limited approach to the use of color. You’ll see, for example, the
wood and yellow room: it’s just the truth of the material and wood paneled walls, and
then the bright, one color of yellow. The same goes for the indoor garden phone booth that
is just the use of green, and the use of blue in the pool room. So it’s a monochromatic
application of color, which then allows that color to become a lot brighter. If we had
tried to mix a lot of colors in, it would have become a circus, and we wanted to stay on
point. If we were using blue, we were really using blue. If we were using yellow, we were
really using yellow. That, I think, offers a little bit of clarity and doesn’t overwhelm you.
TOP TO BOTTOM The bright,
cheery yellow meeting room is
offset by natural wood to tone
down the hue. Enclaves were
built into surprising nooks and
crannies around the building,
like this blue phone booth which
utilizes white to elongate the
space. A toned-down meeting
room uses golds, grays, and
orange. Two employees chat
on the sofa bed installed over
the foyer where those who find
they’re more creative in a lounge
space go to get work done. Color
is such an integral part of the
design that the bathrooms have
been washed in bright hues, off-balanced by white appliances.