Publicis’ New Office in New York Has No Assigned Desks

By Erik Oster 

While the Superdesk is nowhere in sight, Publicis’ new office on the edge of Times Square is committed to the open-concept office.

Designed by Clive Wilkinson Architects in a commercial tower located at the edge of Times Square, the layout includes not a single closed office, or, for that matter, assigned desk.

Interior Design reports that the dedication to a completely open-concept originated with Publicis North America CEO Andrew Bruce.

“We’re a communications agency, and we need to break down the walls that prevent com­municating,” Bruce told the publication. “When people have an office, they’re at their desk all day, blasting out e-mails.”

The spatial equity of the office’s open-concept layout, he believes, sends an important message about the value of ideas over authority. “Don’t respect authority—respect intelligence. Ideas matter,” he said. “Clive pointed out that, at any agency, roughly 30 percent of your employees are always off-site. So we can easily have 1.2 people for every seat. We’re investing in human capital, not inanimate objects.”

For employee’s personal objects, the office has “anchor points” on each floor, with office supply closets and lockers for personal items, with snack and drink pantries nearby. Additionally, there are semi-enclosed phone booths near the communal desktops, which provide employees with privacy from neighbors via padding. The lowest level of the office is also home to the in-house IT bar, Lion Tech, a bar serving beer and wine and a coffee bar. The main entry level, two stories above, includes another coffee bar, a reception desk, a lounge and a multi-use space.

To prevent the openness of the office from descending into chaos, certain portions of the space are clustered into “neighborhoods,” dedicated to certain disciplines or clients. This allows employees to interact without traveling too far, while keeping the space adaptable for any future changes.

“Most of all, the space allows us to adapt,” Bruce concluded. “I don’t know how we’ll be shaped in five years, but I do know we’ve built an office that will accommodate it.”

Image: Interior Design