A flexible system for an evolving workplace

An interview with Selldorf Architects

Selldorf Architects have redesigned and refurnished the headquarters of the internationally renowned New York gallery for contemporary art David Zwirner. In this interview, the architects explain what was most important, why they especially appreciate a product from Vitra and how their work has changed since the pandemic.

Can you tell us a little bit about the concept behind the space you designed for David Zwirner?

We wanted to provide a uniquely flexible and comfortable workspace environment for David Zwirner. Each floor therefore features openly accessible areas that foster social interaction, privacy and access to fresh air. The open-plan layout is intentionally designed to promote communication and collaboration, thereby reinforcing interdepartmental connections. Abundant natural light is facilitated by south-facing floor-to-ceiling windows and north-facing arched brick windows, offering panoramic views of the High Line, the Hudson River and Chelsea throughout the day.

What were the challenges when it came to furnishings?

The headquarters of a contemporary art gallery has unique programme requirements not commonly seen in other workplace projects. We were looking for a system that could meet the needs of a range of departments within an open office environment, from exhibition planning and research to online sales. Comma by Vitra provides the flexibility to change with the gallery’s needs as the individual departments evolve.

Did you choose Comma for purely functional reasons?

Not entirely. Along with the system’s adaptability, Comma brings a sense of playfulness through the modular kit-of-parts approach – something the team was particularly drawn to. This was important to the gallery as it was vital to create an inviting space, reflective of the company culture, while maintaining a clean aesthetic.

How do you see offices evolving and what requirements do you believe these will need to fulfil to remain relevant?

The new David Zwirner headquarters represents a strategic response to evolving post-pandemic priorities and work methods, with a primary focus on enhancing well-being through design. We believe that access to outdoor spaces as well as areas for collaboration, lounging and flexible work will continue to remain relevant.

What role do you think flexible solutions such as Comma will play in the office and public spaces of the future?

Flexible furnishing solutions play a critical role in workplace design by allowing designers to meet a broad range of programming requirements. As technology, the nature of work and type of work continue to evolve, companies are evaluating their real estate needs and challenging designers to creatively maximise usage.

Publication Date: 15.02.2024
Images: © Vitra

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