This Soho offices of this criminal-justice foundation had to remain open even though it was doubling in size. Consequently, the project was as much a staging challenge as a design opportunity.
The trick was to never displace more than a few employees at a time. In their existing offices, for example, we surgically replaced the open work spaces, while expanding the reception area.
But on the new floor, we gutted all the cramped rooms and exposed the cast-iron columns and heavy timbers. In this vast new space, a line of ash-paneled cubes house the pantry, copy room, and coat closet. The tops of the cubes are glowing panels of etched glass. We cut a seating alcove into the first cube and lined it in knitted ribbon. This defined the reception area.