Swiss Energy Company Axpo Gets Minimalist Midtown Office
When Swiss energy company Axpo Holding AG decided to establish a New York office, it hired two Israeli architects with a brand-new firm, BoND, to handle the design of their new space at 575 Fifth Avenue in Midtown.
Although Noam Dvir and Daniel Rauchwerger didn’t officially launch their new company until January of this year, they started work on Axpo’s new, 4,600-square-foot space in September 2019. And, fortunately, they finished the office in February, just before COVID hit New York City and forced the state to shut down most construction sites across the five boroughs.
The married pair, who live in Chelsea, said that they wanted to bring together the midcentury Modernism of Midtown; a “business-class lounge” vibe; and a clean, Swiss feel to Axpo’s new office.
Dvir explained that Axpo is “like the Con Edison of Switzerland.” The Baden-based corporation is indeed the country’s largest public energy company, but unlike Con Ed, it’s 100 percent publicly owned. Its New York office is largely devoted to energy trading, and it needed a large, open trading floor, as well as conference rooms for video chatting with its Swiss headquarters.
Most of the furniture in the new office is Swiss, sourced from pricey, modernist furniture company Vitra and modular furniture maker USM. The overall aesthetic is fairly monochromatic, with pops of color here and there.
The reception area, for example, has charred, black wooden walls and a reception desk crafted out of wood terrazzo, which is a mosaic-like material made from the waste produced by timber and plaster production. There’s also a red rug with two navy, midcentury modern office chairs. Just inside the main office area, a bright red, counter-height table inside a glassed-in telephone booth is meant to reference the Swiss flag. The pantry is also muted with dark, black cabinets and appliances backed by a blue-gray backsplash.
The glassed-in boardroom has more neutral, simpler tones with a long, black conference table; grey rolling chairs; and ash wood, wall paneling to absorb sound. The room’s large windows also overlook Fifth Avenue, and offer a dramatic view of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Rockefeller Center. A smaller conference room features two sizable, dark orange dots made of acoustic fabric tacked to the wall, in an effort to add a little more color to the space.
“We tried to introduce color in a functional way,” explained Rauchwerger. “Visually framing these spaces and uses was important to us because these people are on video calls all day long.”