MTV Networks

2008 | New York, NY

MTV Networks recently relocated three of their Entertainment Group network headquarters – Comedy Central, Spike TV, and TV Land – from midtown Manhattan to a Tribeca loft space. MTV selected a building that was formerly an industrial printing press, with huge loft interior spaces, heavy-duty concrete columns, 8-foot high windows and 12-foot high ceilings. The goal of the design was to maintain as much of the original bones of the loft structure while providing new and unique interior architecture that reflects to the culture of each brand. MTV’s space spans five floors, housing one network per floor, with an additional two floors for production and editing staff.

The direction from the client was clear: each network must have a distinct aesthetic, thus turning this project into a full-scale branding exercise.

Each floor contains multiple individual design elements, and each conference room has unique finishes, not repeated anywhere else in the space. The finishes include 74 paint colors, 28 wall coverings and 11 wood types, and were used to successfully create the distinct identities the client was seeking. Unique signage, millwork and lighting were also designed and incorporated for each brand. A variety of furniture layouts and manufacturers were selected to give each space a customized look – without looking standardized or corporate.

Comedy Central’s space is textural and warm, with a signature red and orange theme throughout. Kirie wood (which is pressed sorghum board, and a sustainable material) was used for the millwork in the lobby and pantry, and for the organic wall graphics.

TVland is an elegant space, with soft greens and blues. It presents a clean and modern look while evoking a retro-sophistication. White floors, white-on-white features, and large curved elements in the pantries and phone room all contributed to the retro aesthetic.
Spike is the most contemporary and edgy space. The signature features for this space are curved wood ribbons that sweep throughout the lobby, conference rooms and pantry seating.

The project presented not only a design and branding challenge, but also required strong technological expertise. The two lower production floors contain technologically sophisticated editing suites, video and photo studios, tape libraries, and main editing and dubbing rooms. Each network floor contains 4 edit rooms and graphic rooms; the 2nd floor contains 40 edit rooms, a dubbing room, and several shoot rooms; and the 3rd floor houses the tape library.