По-русски

Unconventional Office

In the interior design of the office of the company "ProfMedia", the architects of UNK project were able to combine the quality of a practical business space with a multilayer "tell-tale" imagery that brings together the spirit of the place and the art of movie making.

Written by:
Alla Pavlikova
Translated by:
Anton Mizonov

25 August 2014
Object
mainImg

"ProfMedia Management / Central Partnership" office. UNK project 

The "ProfMedia" HQ is situated in one of the buildings of "Danilovskaya Manufactura" that has recently turned, after a grand-scale, though unobtrusive, reconstruction, into one of the largest and most famous business centers of Moscow. "ProfMedia" are renting the entire one of the former factory buildings: the austere red-brick building with a poetic name of "Calico". As for the architects, they were requested to create within its walls a space that would look different from the conventional office and that would harmoniously combine the "factory" aesthetic and the almost homely feel. The authors of this project, UNK Project's Nikolai Milovidov and Anna Dykhanova, really liked the task - which let them create inside the office the humanly lively and friendly atmosphere, distant from the hackneyed images of the tiresome monotony of the look-alike days at the office. In the architectural bureau, this project even got a pet name of "anti-office". 

Meanwhile, "last I checked", the business function was still to be there - and the main difficulty consisted precisely in the task that, while creating a visually diverse space, sometimes even close to the interior of some private villa, the architects were still supposed to correctly organize all the working functions in general with regard to the specifics of "ProfMedia" in particular - shares Nikolai Milovidov. For one, the premises are particularly ergonomic and comfortable to be in: the architects though out, down to the tiniest detail, the convenient ways of moving around the office and the details of the workplaces, while the furniture of the recreation areas, though capable of looking to a casual observer as it it was carried over here from some French interior of the proverbial Lucien epoch, still answers the world's best comfort requirements. In a word, the dualism of the space that looks like a home but that indeed is all about business is to be seen everywhere here. 

The main theme that allowed the architects to unite such different things, was set by the very profile of the company. The building houses two divisions of "ProfMedia": the third floor hosts "ProfMedia Management", and the second - "Central Partnership" that specializes in producing and distributing feature films. Hence the large black-and-white photographic prints that play back the best shots of the cult and modern movies - one of the most eye-catching and tell-tale details of this space. 


"ProfMedia Management / Central Partnership" office. UNK project 


"ProfMedia Management / Central Partnership" office. UNK project 

It is not the prints alone, however, that make the interior look - only at times, though - like a studio set or something that was left of it, like a set of cinematographic artifacts that alternate, like in a theater foyer, with real photographs. The imagery of the pavilion that best shows in the closeness of the mafia-style blue sofas and the portable spotlight makes appropriate the glitter of the baroque frame against the rough, ostentatiously textured brick wall, the "antique" riveted leather chair, and the combination of the wooden Viennese chairs next to the bar counter and the 1960's style aluminum-tube furniture. Put together, these things look like fragments of studio sets or the rare artifacts that have been accumulating here over the more-than-a-century history of cinema - not redundant, though, but arranged in such a way that it still keeps the business-like laconism. 


"ProfMedia Management / Central Partnership" office. UNK project 


"ProfMedia Management / Central Partnership" office. UNK project 


"ProfMedia Management / Central Partnership" office. UNK project 

The theme of the history of cinema resolves not only the contrasts between the different objects that the interior is so rich in - it also "explains" the diversity of the textures that one sees here. For example, there are no homogeneous walls here: the photographs neighbor on the white office surfaces, open brickwork, and the grilled frames of the glass windows - these are augmented by the large waves of the Roman curtains that frame the tall factory windows with their wooden sashes. The pale grayish color of the curtains softens the contrasts and finds a continuation in the reserved beige and light gray shades of the office furniture, calm and business-like but not garish-white, also meant to combine the feel of an expensive comfort with the environment that is conductive of working concentration. 

Dividing the open space into different zones was facilitated not only by the office-genre-classic glass and acoustic partitions - the zoning function was also effectively performed by the open shelving units used to store the archives of the media holding. Besides, saving up the useful square footage was also made possible by using the built-in furniture: aligned along the walls, the tall closets of glass and light-colored wood matching the tone of the furniture and the curtains, and the storage cases built into the partitions. 


"ProfMedia Management / Central Partnership" office. UNK project 

To boost the natural light coming on from the large factory windows, the architects came up with a whole system of lighting up the workplaces: the gently sloping arches of the ceiling are accentuated by the reflected light; the light chandeliers are hung in several rows, added up by spotlights. The light, as we can see, also combines the contemporary office techniques with the traditional ones, not alien to the flavor of the all-but-recent history. 


"ProfMedia Management / Central Partnership" office. UNK project 

The first floor of the building is given to the entrance area and the lobby, from which one can descend to the staff-only cafeteria and the area of the meeting rooms that are mostly situated in the basement floor. The sufficient amount of meeting rooms was one of the main conditions to be met while designing the new office; their reserved and at the same time flashy image is designed in the contemporary spirit of the "new ornamentalism": the backlit pattern on the ceiling echoes the floral ornament of the floor cover of the so-called "carpet slabs". A similar technique is repeated in the interiors of the studies situated on the second and third floors; the monochrome ornamental carpets are to be seen everywhere, alternating with as warm texture of the oak laminated flooring. We will note at this point that the ornament not only enhances the Art Deco note that sounds in the interior design reminding us of the times of the movie classics but also - from quite the opposite side - reminds of the past of this factory building that, as we remember, has the name of "Calico". Double contextual. 


"ProfMedia Management / Central Partnership" office. UNK project 

The interiors of the offices of "ProfMedia Management" are designed in the same style. Most of the space is occupied by the employees' studies; the C.E.O.'s and the President's area, as they should be, are filled with air and light. The project also provides for a small recreation area, even though one should say that the building has in it very few places dedicated specifically to recreation - only small coffee points on each floor. 

The exquisite colors, the harmonious combination of ornaments, the echoing of the textures, the play of the lights and shadows, the forms and the meanings - all this forms inside the building the atmosphere that, as the authors claim, despite its relaxed feel, will be great not only to be but also (and most importantly) to work in. 


25 August 2014

Written by:

Alla Pavlikova
Translated by:
Anton Mizonov
Headlines now
​The Energy Family
The housing complex Symphony 34 will be built in Moscow’s Savelovsky district; it will consist of four towers from 36 to 54 stories high. Each of the towers has an image of its own, but they all are gathered into a single architectural ensemble – a fragment of a new high-rise urban space lying outside the Third Transport Ring.
The Fifth Element
The high-end residential development in the Vsevolozhsky Lane features a combination of expensive stone and metal textures, immersing them into a feast of ornaments. The house looks like a fantasy inspired by the theater of the Art Nouveau and Symbolism era; a kind of oriental fairy tale, which paradoxically allows it to avoid direct stylization and become a reflection of one of the aspects of modern Moscow life.
​Springboards and Patios
The central element of the manor house in the village of Antonovka, designed by Roman Leonidov, is the inner yard with pergolas, meant to remind its owner about his vacations in exotic countries. The exposed wooden structures emphasize the soaring diagonals of single-pitched roofs.
​Adding Up a Growing City
The housing quarter “1147” is located at the border between the old “Stalin” district in the north and the actively developing territories in the south. Its image responds to a difficult task: the compound brick facades of the neighboring sections are different, their height varying from 9 to 22 floors, and, if we are look from the street, it seems as though the front of the city development, consisting from long narrow elements, is forming some sophisticated array at this very moment in front of our eyes.
Agility of the Modular
In the Discovery housing complex that they designed, ADM architects proposed a modern version of structuralism: the form is based on modular cells, which, smoothly protruding and deepening, make the volumes display a kind of restrained flexibility, differentiated element by element. The lamellar and ledged facades are “stitched” with golden threads – they unite the volumes, emphasizing the textured character of the architectural solution.
Polyphony of a Chaste Style
The “ID Moskovskiy” housing project on St. Petersburg’s Moscow Avenue was designed by the team of Stepan Liphart in the past 2020. The ensemble of two buildings, joined by a colonnade, is executed in a generalized neoclassical style with elements of Art Deco.
​In Three Voices
The high-rise – 41 stories high – housing complex HIDE is being built on the bank of the Setun River, near the Poklonnaya Mountain. It consists of three towers of equal height, yet interpreted in three different ways. One of the towers, the most conspicuous one looks as if it was twisted in a spiral, composed of a multitude of golden bay windows.
​In the Space of Pobedy Park
In the project of a housing complex designed by Sergey Skuratov, which is now being built near the park of the Poklonnaya Hill, a multifunctional stylobate is turned into a compound city space with intriguing “access” slopes that also take on the role of mini-plazas. The architecture of the residential buildings responds to the proximity of the Pobedy Park, on the one hand, “dissolving in the air”, and, on the other hand, supporting the memorial complex rhythmically and color-wise.
​Dynamics of the Avenue
On Leningrad Avenue, not far away from the Sokol metro station, the construction of the A-Class business center Alcon II has been completed. ADM architects designed the main façade as three volumetric ribbons, as if the busy traffic of the avenue “shook” the matter sending large waves through it.
​Steamer at the Pier
An apartment hotel that looks like a ship with wide decks has been designed for a land plot on a lake shore in Moscow’s South Tushino. This “steamer” house, overlooking the lake and the river port, does indeed look as if it were ready to sail away.
The Magic of Rhythm or Ornament as a Theme
Designed by Sergey Tchoban, the housing complex Veren Place in St. Petersburg is the perfect example of inserting a new building into a historical city, and one the cases of implementing the strategy that the architect presented a few years ago in the book, which he coauthored with Vladimir Sedov, called “30:70. Architecture as a Balance of Forces”.
​Walking on Water
In the nearest future, the Marc Chagall Embankment will be turned into Moscow’s largest riverside park with green promenades, cycling and jogging trails, a spa center on water, a water garden, and sculptural pavilions designed in the spirit of the Russian avant-garde artists of the 1920, and, first of all, Chagall himself. In this issue, we are covering the second-stage project.
​Architectural Laboratory
A-Len has developed and patented the “Perfect Apartments” program, which totally eliminates “bad” apartment layouts. In this article, we are sharing how this program came around, what it is about, who can benefit from it, and how.
​“Architectural Archaeology of the Narkomfin Building”: the Recap
One of the most important events of 2020 has been the completion of the long-awaited restoration of the monument of Soviet avant-garde architecture – the Narkomfin Building, the progenitor of the typology of social housing in this country. The house retained its residential function as the main one, alongside with a number of artifacts and restoration clearances turned into living museum exhibits.
​LIFE on the Setun River
The area in the valley of the Setun River near the Vereiskaya Street got two new blocks of the “LIFE-Kutuzovsky” housing complex, designed by ADM architects. The two new blocks have a retail boulevard of their own, and a small riverside park.
​Celestial Tectonics
Three towers on a podium over the Ramenka River are the new dominant elements on the edge of a Soviet “microdistrict”. Their scale is quite modern: the height is 176 m – almost a skyscraper; the facades are made of glass and steel. Their graceful proportions are emphasized by a strict white grid, and the volumetric composition picks up the diagonal “grid of coordinates” that was once outlined in the southwest of Moscow by the architects of the 1970’s and 1980’s.
Clouds over the Railroad
In the stead of former warehouses near “Lyubertsy-1” station, a new housing complex has been built, which peacefully coexists with the railroad, with the flyover bridge, and with the diverse surrounding scenery, not only dominating over the latter, but improving it.
​Towers in a Forest
The authors of the housing complex “In the Heart of Pushkino” were faced with a difficult task: to preserve the already existing urban forest, at the same time building on it a compound of rather high density. This is how three towers at the edge of the forest appeared with highly developed public spaces in their podiums and graceful “tucks” in the crowning part of the 18-story volumes.
​The Towers of “Sputnik”
Six towers, which make up a large housing complex standing on the bank of the Moskva River at the very start of the Novorizhskoe Highway, provide the answers to a whole number of marketing requirements and meets a whole number of restrictions, offering a simple rhythm and a laconic formula for the houses that the developer preferred to see as “flashy”.
​The Starting Point
In this article, we are reviewing two retro projects: one is 20 years old, the other is 25. One of them is Saint Petersburg’s first-ever townhouse complex; the other became the first example of a high-end residential complex on Krestovsky Island. Both were designed and built by Evgeny Gerasimov and Partners.
The Path to New Ornamentation
The high-end residential complex “Aristocrat” situated next to a pine park at the start of the Rublev Highway presents a new stage of development of Moscow’s decorative historicist architecture: expensively decorated, yet largely based on light-colored tones, and masterfully using the romantic veneer of majolica inserts.
​Renovation: the Far East Style
The competition project of renovating two central city blocks of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, developed by UNK project, won the nomination “Architectural and planning solutions of city construction”.
​The Contact
The Istituto Centrale per la Grafica in Rome presents Sergei Tchoban’s exhibition “Imprint of the future. Destiny of Piranesi’s City”. The exhibition includes four etchings, based on Roman architectural views of the XVIII century complemented by futuristic insertions, as well as a lot of drawings that investigate the same topic, at times quite expressively. The exhibition poses questions, but does not seem to give any answers. Since going to Rome is pretty problematic now, let’s at least examine the pictures.
​In Search of Visual Clarity
In this article, we are reviewing a discussion devoted to the question of designing city space elements, which is quite complicated for the Russian expanses of land. The discussion was organized by the Genplan Institute of Moscow at the ArchMoscow convention in Gostiny Dvor.
​The City of the Sun
Jointly designed by Sergey Tchoban and Vladimir Plotkin, the VTB Arena Park complex can arguably be considered the perfect experiment on solving the centuries-old controversy between traditional architecture and modernism. The framework of the design code, combined with the creative character of the plastique-based dialogue between the buildings, formed an all-but-perfect fragment of the city fabric.
​...The Other Was Just Railroad Gin*
In their project of the third stage of “Ligovsky City” housing complex, located in the industrial “gray” belt of Saint Petersburg, the KCAP & Orange Architects & A-Len consortium set before themselves a task of keeping up the genius loci by preserving the contours of the railroad and likening the volumes of residential buildings to railroad containers, stacked up at the goods unloading station.
​Lions on Glass
While reconstructing the facades of Building 4 of Moscow Hospital #23, SPEECH architects applied a technique, already known from Saint Petersburg projects by Sergey Tchoban – cassettes with elements of classical architecture printed on glass. The project was developed gratis, as a help to the hospital.