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Tag: New York

All cities have iconic buildings and perhaps none more so than New York. The new World Trade Center, which stands on the site of the twin towers destroyed during the September 11 terror attacks, has now reached its highest point.

A shining angular landmark on the New York skyline, it’s said to symbolize hope and resolve. Many critics were concerned that the tower would struggle to be profitable, only attracting government agency tenants and becoming an expensive 1,776-ft monument.

Then came Conde Nast. Taking 1 million square feet from floors 21 to 40, Conde Nast is the World Trade Centre’s anchor tenant.  Although years in the making, this deal is breathing new life into lower Manhattan and declaring it a great place to do business.

Already, other larger companies are being enticed to the area and the local economy is starting to diversify. This shows that it’s not the building that signifies New York’s resilience and resolve. It’s the companies that do that, the ones that choose to make the new World Trade Centre and Lower Manhattan a thriving hub for business once again.

Of course, we’ll never forget what happened on September 11th 2001, but those that vote with their feet and money, move in staff and create jobs, will make the World Trade Centre an infamous business address for the right reasons.  That’s got to be the most shining example of hope yet.

*To view the picture source please click here.

Art might hold up a mirror to life in many ways but when it comes to our office working lives it doesn’t always show a true reflection; both in terms of the amount of time we spend in the office and how important our work is to us. Each week most of us are at least a quarter of our time in (or on our way to) the office. We worry about work when we shouldn’t. It pays our way. It helps to define who we are. It structures our time. It introduces us to friends and partners. Yet there are precious few depictions of an office environment in art. These are some of our favourites:

May Day V

The photographer/artist Andreas Gursky is very much a man of our times in the way he documents the world and its people and places. Although Gursky’s work often focuses on the relationship between people and their surroundings, he himself has admitted he is not interested in the individual per se and nowhere is this more apparent than in May Day V. He’s been knocked recently, notably because he is seen as ‘out of touch in the post 9/11 world’ according to one critic. But the world didn’t change completely on that day, life went on and the submersion and alienation of the individual in the modern world is an understandably persistent theme in American art in general and that of Gursky in particular. It is on display at the Matthew Marks Gallery, New York.

Being John Malkovich

John Cusack plays an unemployed puppeteer who takes a filing job in the low-ceilinged offices on Floor 7½ of the Mertin Flemmer Building in New York. When he asks his boss why the ceilings are so low, he is told ‘low overhead, my boy’.

Click here for the video

The decision by the owners of the Empire State Building to invest around $20 million in a refurbishment programme aimed at making the landmark site certifiably green has focussed attention on the retrofit of existing buildings as a way of complying with environmental legislation.  The owners of the New York icon are purchasing windows, insulation and new building systems as part of a drive to cut energy use by 38 per cent.

The move highlights how the retrofit of an existing building can transform its performance. There is often an assumption that a move to new offices is inherently a better option than refurbishing existing space when it comes to introducing new technology, meeting environmental standards, implementing new ways of working, accommodating growth or whatever. But we need to challenge the assumption that modern buildings are automatically better able than older buildings to meet the needs of a modern organisation. Often they are, but in many cases, there is also a business case for staying put, not least when you are in an iconic building or at the very least one with which you are closely associated and feels like home.


posted by Ann Clarke