Who said huge banks lack creative vision? Capital One throws curves at its New York regional headquarters, enlivening an otherwise stolid tower from 1967. The transformation involves the lobby, which offered generous square footage, 2,500, and a 24-foot ceiling but little else. “Man, is this stiff,” Gensler design principal Laurent Lisimachio said on first entering. “We saw an opportunity to give back to the neighborhood by creating something visually strong when viewed from outside.” That something turned out to entail two dynamic forms in contrasting materials—romancing the box and improving the vibe for corporate receptions and community events.
Overhead, defining a warped plane modeled in both Rhinoceros and Inventor software, is an installation of cast-glass spheres. Each is suspended from electrical wire, wrapped in stainless steel, and contains a single white LED. The steel sculpture beneath was prefabricated in pieces, then welded together and blackened in situ. It springs from the white terrazzo floor astonishingly delicately, with just two rigid connection points. “Very tangent,” Lisimachio says.
To fine-tune the complete composition, he produced a model at quarter-scale. The steel sculpture was represented by 3-D printed plastic. For the glass spheres, he substituted acrylic balls.
Project Team: Rocco Giannetti; Elizabeth Norman; Will Heyer; Zach Kuehn; Carol Chang; Shirley Lee.