When Columbia Property Trust acquired a former warehouse at 218 West 18th Street in Chelsea four years ago, the owner realized that the building’s lobby would need some upgrades to blend in with the rest of the neighborhood, which is lined with art galleries.
“Before, the lobby was a bit cold and characterless,” said Alexandra Cuber, who oversees Fogarty Finger’s business design team. “For a neighborhood very focused on art, it really lacked character and warmth.
Fogarty Finger redesigned the drab, white entrance area with light wood panels around the elevator bank, as well as a new matching wood reception desk. Behind the desk is a niche, painted black and adorned with an abstract painting in black, white and bright blue by artist Senem Oezdogan, commissioned for this space. The job also included exposing the structural columns, which were painted black, and transforming what had been an alcove for art along the elevator bank into a location with a small, cream-colored seat.
Upstairs, the architects also converted a 13,500 square foot office space into a pre-built suite. They exposed most of the false ceilings and painted them black to hide the ducts above the common areas of the office.
“We had such low ceilings,” said Cuber, who noted that the drop ceiling was only 9 feet high, while the exposed ceiling was about 11 feet high. “We wanted to hide as many ducts as possible and we didn’t want to lower the ceiling. We made it appear, left it exposed, painted it black. Find balance and you will feel much higher than you actually are.
They also removed the plasterboard from the structural columns of the building and also painted them black. Other additions include a new kitchen area with light wood cabinetry and a long terrazzo marble bar, two glass-walled conference rooms with burnt orange accent walls, round pendant lights, and a floor-to-ceiling metal shelf that helps to divide the office work area from the common part of the office.
Construction began on the pre-build and lobby in November 2018 and was completed in March 2019. The operator of the Drive Shack golf entertainment complex leased the space about a month before it was completed. and moved in in April 2019.