The ramp bisects open space and hanging scrims (Photo: Jimmy Cohrssen)
War Rooms adjacent to the ramp (Photo: Jimmy Cohrssen)
The exterior ramp punctures the building and travels inside (Photo: Tom Bonner)
The scrims layer to form a “visual fog” in the space (Photo: Tom Bonner)
Part of the ramp splits off to form the reception desk (Photo: Tom Bonner)
The industrial warehouse provides an unbroken loft-like environment (Photo: Tom Bonner)
Shubin + Donaldson Architects
Marina del Rey / USA
DescriptionGround Zero, founded in 1994, has quickly risen in the ranks of corporate branding with unique advertising spots for ESPN2, Porsche, Virgin Group, CitySearch, Activision, Bijan, and Daewoo Motors.
"We want to discover the soul, the essence of a brand."
Ground Zero Managing Partner, Jim Smith
The architects embraced this idea for designing Ground Zero's headquarters in a vein that reflects the agency's unique vision, rapid growth, and expanding services, as well as its evolving style.
The interior features a processionary, 9.5 foot high ramp leading down from the elevated second-floor glass-enclosed entryway. As guests, clients, and staff make their way down the ramp, and through the entire length of the working "hall," they are exposed to an ever-changing palette of the agency's work projected on a series of theatrical scrims spanning the width of the space. The "soul of the creative machine" is revealed to all that enter the agency. The reception area is at the end of the ramp, at the back of the building, reinforcing Ground Zero's inverted "business as usual" attitude.
Ground Zero's goal is to discover the essence or soul of their clients. Utilizing this vision, the interior shell of the building was left raw and exposed with sandblasted concrete walls and a bow-truss ceiling. Existing concrete floors were sealed, and interior "war rooms" at the perimeter were created for each individual brand team. War room walls are lined with marker and pin-up boards for flexible use and the quick representation of images.
Conference rooms are defined by ribbed plastic sheeting, corrugated galvanized steel walls, and bright yellow doorways. Located at the rear of the building, each conference room is encased by a steel "wave" which houses the conference lighting. Ornamentation is minimal, allowing client presentations to fill the conference space without distraction. "The design was very specific to Ground Zero," says Robin Donaldson, AIA.
Steel workstations with industrial light fixtures, file storage, and desktop organizers are parked side by side across the working area, eliminating the need for staff to pick up their work and move to different areas. Each desk rotates around a large pivot, enabling staff to have their own office but also move closer to their partner. Working with an anti-hierarchical ethic, all principles at Ground Zero share the same workstation spaces as the staff.