Grey Group, one of the largest marketing communications companies in the world, moved to a new, state-of-the-art headquarters designed by Studios Architecture in the former International Toy Center in New York’s Flatiron District. Paula Scher and her team at Pentagram created an inventive program of environmental graphics for the offices that highlight Grey’s commitment to creativity.
The graphically playful signage promotes the creativity of Grey’s various divisions and at the same time ties the loft-like floors of the new headquarters together into a cohesive environment. The interiors of the headquarters were designed using different materials for each division or department throughout the building. The environmental graphics employ these same materials —wood, glass, metal and polymer—in ways that suggest the personalities of the different divisions. The signage mixes the materials with elements of reflection, transparency, lighting and pattern to create a series of optical illusions that sets each department apart.
Visitors to the first floor lobby are greeted by a front desk backed by a dramatic wall of backlit metal mesh that features both the logos of Grey Group and G2 rendered in the same mesh. For the open, gallery-like spaces of the second and third floors, which contain Grey’s creative departments, the designers created large-scale installations that brand the agency in the space. The second floor features large windows on Madison Square Park and distressed elements like exposed brick that remain from the building’s previous incarnation. Here, the designers created a typographic neon sculpture with the Grey logo rendered inside a 35” cube that sits on the floor like a piece of art. Surrounded by reflective glass, the cube activates the space. Restrooms on the second and third floors feature anamorphic superscale male and female icons that appear “correct” at their respective entrances but then graphically stretch down the halls.