When deciding to centralize more than 700 employees to a single location at 299 Park Avenue, Capital One called on Gensler to help design a meeting and event space that would also serve as a branding tool. The sculptural, abstract pavilion acts as a 2,500-square-foot marquee announcing Capital One’s arrival as a major commercial-banking player in New York City. With the client deliberately eschewing the more formal, traditional concepts, Gensler designed a dramatic steel installation that fills the space and capitalizes on its street presence.
In deciding on the high-profile Park Avenue address, Capital One knew they wanted to make a strong statement. The design illustrates the company’s goals, highlighting the fluidity, movement and strength of its brand and the bank’s approach to serving its clients in New York and around the world.
The design team harnessed the energy and momentum of Capital One’s logo to make an arresting sculptural design that conveys the brand’s dynamism and enthusiasm for its new commercial banking headquarters. Through an expanse of glass windows, the structure is juxtaposed against the rigid corners of the surrounding skyscrapers. Above it, over 2,500 light bulbs form an undulating cloud that reflects and emphasizes the grace and fluidity of the structure.
The moment of inspiration came as Gensler’s designers watched a ribbon of marker ink suspend into a glass of water, the ink made a beautiful arabesque and that vision became the 20,000-pound steel-and-aluminum installation. The structure took 195 hours of engineering and modeling, 2,660 hours of fabrication (with partner Amuneal) and nearly 1,600 hours of installation. More than 2,000 square feet of steel was required to yield the individual pieces of the structure. Each of the 45 plates of steel was laser-cut based on a precise 3D model, then welded together in situ to create the final design. The piece – more than 19 feet tall, almost 55 feet long and almost 17 feet wide – only touches the floor at two points and seems to nearly float above the fray of the city streets. The tens of thousands of pounds of steel had to be built and supported by reinforcing the framework beneath the terrazzo flooring that distributes the weight of the structure over the entire floor.
The sculpture serves a dual purpose as both a piece of artwork and an architectural design element. The curving lines direct circulation in the space itself, welcoming guests, community partners, and VIP customers from the interior entrance and forming two hollows for seating areas at either end. The design team created a “light cloud” above the piece, which emphasizes the theme of movement and represents the spirit of the sculpture taking flight.
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CODA: Collaboration of Design + Art
The global online community that celebrates design projects featuring commissioned artworks.
[ manifesto ]
Art matters. Attention to the details of our environment leads to love of place, which brings us to take responsibility for the spaces where we live and work. And by extension, the people with whom we live and work. And by extension, to our local communities, our cities, our nations, and our world.
We champion the role of artists in our society. We need artists to provide us with inspiration, creativity, and imagination, and to help us envision a better world.
Architects and designers know that remarkable design can change everything. They connect the dots across disciplines, collaborating with artists to make the world a more beautiful place. They are the ultimate patrons of the arts.
In the process, design professionals promote imagination and creativity, and through their commissions, make original art integral to and accessible in people's lives.
Art in our public and private spaces helps us fight ordinary buildings, ordinary streets, ordinary cities. We celebrate the extraordinary.
The architecture of our buildings and the design of our interiors affect our happiness and well-being. Each of us deserves a daily dose of inspiration.