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Office Pavilion

San Diego, CA

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Showrooms for office furniture used to be boring affairs dominated by stiff rows of swivel chairs, desks, filing cabinets and the like. All that changed about four years ago when Steelcase pioneered what was then a revolutionary “working showroom” concept at its WorkLife Building on Columbus Circle in New York. There, in an interactive setting, the office furniture products were arranged into real workspaces where the salespeople, like actors, played out their actual nine-to-five routines under the scrutiny of buyers visiting the showroom. The latest iteration of this concept is the Office Pavilion San Diego, a 38,000-square-foot showroom, education center, furniture gallery and working office space for 48 employees of the Southern California manufacturer's rep sales firm.

Office Pavilion's main product line is Herman Miller, an office systems company known for its classic furniture by important American Modernists, including Charles and Ray Eames. Their designs inspired the look of the new showroom, according to designers at the McCulley Group (Solana Beach, Calif.). “We gathered inspiration from Eames'classic shapes, forms, rhythms and colors and translated them into how people work today,” says McCulley Group's project manager Ane Rocha. Conference and office spaces are defined by freestanding “houses.” Instead of traditional drywall, alternative materials such as clear plastics and PVC piping delineate the interior spaces, based on a color palette of red, black, gray and green. Flooring is striped maple and ash, intersected by striped carpeting. Display graphics communicate the firm's marketing and corporate identity. A 60-seat auditorium for customer presentations is formed by a “graduated sea of cushy lounge wedges” covered in red velvet, for an added touch of customer cosseting.

Client Design: Vicky Carlson, president

Design Team: The McCulley Group LLC, Solana Beach, Calif. – Jaime Laurella and Ane Rocha, project managers; John McCulley, principal-in-charge; Julia Spengler, Gretchen Leary and Alan Robles, graphic design team

General Contractor: Johnson & Jennings, San Diego

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Suppliers: ATP Graphics, Santee, Calif. (signage); Herman Miller Furniture, Zeeland, Mich., HBF Furniture, Hickory, N.C., Davis Furniture Industries Inc., High Point, N.C. (furniture); Shaw Contract Carpet, Dalton, Ga. (carpet); PermaGrain Products, Newtown Square, Pa. (lobby flooring); Armstrong World Industries, Lancaster, Pa. (resilient flooring); Roppe Corp., Fostoria, Ohio (base); Mechoshade Systems Inc., Long Island City, N.Y., Pollack & Associates, New York, Brentano, Northbrook, Ill. (window coverings); Abet Inc., Englewood, N.J., Formica Corp., Cincinnati, Nevamar, Odenton, Md., and Lamin-Art Inc., Elk Grove Village, Ill. (surfaces); Arizona Tile, Tempe, Ariz. (marble transaction counter); Blumenthal Inc., Canaan, Conn., HBF Furniture, Hickory, N.C., Herman Miller, Zeeland, Mich. (fabrics); Elliptipar, W. Haven, Conn., Halo Lighting, Elk Grove Village, Ill., Linear Lighting Corp., Long Island City, N.Y., Lucifer Lighting Co., San Antonio, Texas, Metalux, Elk Grove Village, Ill., Portfolio, Elk Grove Village, Ill. (lighting); Blumenthal Wallcovering, Canaan, Conn., Carnegie Fabrics, Rockville, Centre, N.Y. (wallcoverings)

Photography: Marvin Rand Associates, Venice Beach, Calif.

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