With their lease set to expire, Time Inc. sought to reevaluate its real estate and its current headquarters in the Time & Life Building at 1271 Avenue of the Americas. After evaluating a number of real estate opportunities, Time Inc. ultimately chose an undervalued space at 225 Liberty Street that had sat vacant for more than two years, in part because the 115,000 square foot floorplates did not appeal to many potential tenants. Prior to lease signing, we illustrated to Time Inc. how the expansive floors could provide the greater collaboration and efficiency improvements among the company’s numerous brands that they were looking for in a new space.
The move from midtown to downtown altered Time Inc.’s footprint from 1.38 million square feet across 22 floors at 1271 Avenue of the Americas to 700,000 square feet across 6 floors at 225 Liberty Street. With its 20-plus brands in New York undergoing this transition, Time Inc. implemented efficient organizational and design solutions that enabled the company to organize by both brand and function. At the Time & Life Building, each brand and its support functions were contained on its own floor or floors. With the large floor plates at 225 Liberty, paired with a greater density within the workspaces, we were able to co-locate brands with similar interests on the same floor. These new horizontal adjacencies facilitated Time Inc.’s goal of promoting greater interaction and engagement among employees.
To truly encourage cross-company communication, vertical connections were integral. As a result, a central circulation space, called the Boulevard, was created with open stairs that connect all six floors. The Boulevard is the largest architectural gesture—staggered, irregular openings are carved through this six-floor volume that contains an interconnecting stair enabling movement between all floors. This simple gesture—one that provides physical and visual connectivity—really defines the spirit of the new Time Inc.—agile, collaborative, and boundary-free. At the apex of the boulevard is the shared, central pantry space in the same location on each floor.
Time Inc. sought to make a shift away from being defined as a magazine publisher to becoming a broader media company. This required rethinking how they were working – moving away from a culture of private offices, eliminating physical barriers between brands, and placing a huge focus on media throughout the workspace with spaces designed to support creation of new media. The new headquarters contains 6% private offices across the entire organization. Collaboration seats are at a ratio of 4:5—nearly one seat (e.g., conference room, open collaboration space, lounge) for every workspace seat.
While desiring a forward-thinking and media-focused workspace, it was important to recognize the rich legacy of Time Inc.—from use of oversized black-and-white photography from The LIFE Picture Collection to incorporating mid-century furniture and design elements specifically designed for the Time & Life Building—the basis of the design was mediating between this solid, historical past and a future (for Time Inc.) that is fluid and continually being reshaped and redefined.
Time Inc. Chairman and CEO Joe Ripp said on the day the first Time Inc. employees moved to 225 Liberty Street: “Today is an exciting step in Time Inc.’s comeback. As we transform our business, our new, open environment will foster a greater sense of community and more collaboration across our company. We are also pleased to be part of the rejuvenation of lower Manhattan, now a destination for creative businesses.”