For many, the start of 2016 is a time of sketching out plans for the New Year, a wonderful follow-up to end-of-year reflections, gatherings and year-end soirées that keep the holiday season extra busy. We have had our share of invitations and, without a doubt, our favorites were the ones that marked the successful conclusion of client projects.
There was the grand car dealership we designed on Automobile Alley, the stretch from roughly the upper-West 40s to upper-West 50s along 11th Avenue in Manhattan. That particular client opted for a celebrity-studded, invitation-only celebration as impressive as its stunning, glass-filled new space. The opening party was far more than a simple cutting of a ribbon and some hors d’oeuvres; there was a performance by a live band, exotic food stations in each showroom and 1,500 revelers on hand for the big toast. It was a memorable way to commence a fall move-in, to say the least!
Another client combined the office holiday party with the grand opening of its new offices near Bryant Park. Several members of our team were on-hand to join the festive fun and it wasn’t only a wise, cost-saving move on the part of the tech firm tenant, but an enjoyable time for the staff.
Then there’s a new category of bashes we’re attending, which I call the “post-punch-list party.” Essentially, the entire project team, including those from the construction side, does a formal walkthrough to make sure all of the elements of the design are in place and that the client is happy with the outcome. Then everyone stays for a celebratory gathering to christen the new space. For example, we have booked our plane tickets to toast a new 250,000-square-foot office this month, where we served as interior design architect and project manager for an Austin-based online recruiting firm that tapped our talent to help its brand shine.
We believe every office we design, whether lavish or low-key, is worth celebrating alongside our clients. For us, however, it’s not simply about showing up after the hard work of building out the offices is complete. It’s about helping the clients facilitate events to bless their new digs.
Major events often require permissions. For instance, to get 1,500 people to legally occupy a space that ordinarily is set up for 500 workers, it’s important to have fire department clearance in place and to think through points of egress. Although architects are far from party planners, we have been asked to review and coordinate floor plans for exhibit vendors or advise bands on speaker placement, all of which has provided us with some expertise on the issue.
If you, like us, believe that a new space is celebration-worthy, after that punch list is put together, tenants may want to involve their architect in the most enjoyable part of the project close-out: the party.
Whether you need some advice to pack the house safely and legally, or simply want to invite us to join you for the bash, eating that slice of cake with you is all in a day’s work.
Scott E. Spector, AIA, is a principal at Spector Group, one of New York’s premier architecture and interior design firms and a leader in corporate tenant and building owner-based design.