When health-wellness creative engagement agency The Bloc approached its 15th anniversary, it opted to go beyond the standard supermarket cake and champagne. Instead, the company merged its two New York City offices into one new space in the Financial District and refreshed its entire brand identity. For their new office space, founding partners Susan Miller Viray and Rico Viray chose Fauzia Khanani of architecture and design studio Foz Design, who also created two residences for the Virays.
The Bloc opted for two floors in a downtown building that was formerly occupied by stock traders who left after Hurricane Sandy flooded it. Following the storm, the space was unoccupied for several years, making it easy for Khanani to decide to completely gut it and start fresh.
After working between two locations for seven years, it was important to The Bloc that the new 55,268-square-foot space felt cohesive and could easily accommodate the entire 200-person staff. To achieve that, Khanani focused on constructing an open, democratic environment that capitalized on the building’s 360-degree views of New York and didn’t contain any dead space. This involved clustering conference rooms, amenities, and private offices at the building’s core, and then taking what Khanani calls a topographical approach throughout the space—manufacturing slight elevation changes both structurally and visually.
The lowest point is at the perimeter along the windows, where employees are encouraged to work casually and have informal discussions. “Part of The Bloc’s culture is to have a lot of meetings, so it was a priority for them to provide different types of meeting spaces, whether it’s two people, a conference call, or a quarterly meeting,” Khanani said.