Just in time for the beginning of the 2010 season, Major League Baseball has spiffed up and expanded its headquarters and the office of its commissioner at 245 Park Ave. Conducted by Butler Rogers Baskett Architects (BBB) and exhibit design firm C&G Partners, the redesign included the addition of a 24,000-square-foot conference center on a full new floor. Aside from bringing the HQ into the 21st century with up-to-date teleconferencing equipment, the designers went out of their way to make every surface in the place scream baseball.
Base-like fabrics, baseball stitching in leather panels, ash wood conference tables, carpet and terrazzo flooring reminiscent of the grass, dirt, and chalk lines of the baseball diamond, all conspire to transport visitors straight to the ballpark. Even the procession through the space evokes the stadium experience: An angled hall leads from a compact elevator lobby to a solitary oversized door that opens onto a spacious reception area anchored with a backstoop-shaped module. Glass walls are etched with baseball statistics, seasonal displays exhibit selections from the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, video screens stream information from MLB’s website, and baseball news flashes across LED tickers.
There are baseball graphics and murals by C&G, mannequins adorned with American and National League uniforms, vinyl-padded panels like those on an outfield wall, a giant picture of Jackie Robinson stealing home in the first game of the 1955 World Series. “The overall design pays tribute to the grit, spirit, and passionate tradition of America’s favorite pastime within an environment of the highest aesthetic refinement,” said Keith Helmetag, a partner at C&G.
“We incorporated design details that were non-literal, that don’t scream ‘baseball’ but contain subtle references that capture the playful nature of the sport,” said Jeff Knol, BRB’s project designer.