In conservative Washington, D.C., offices
for Porter/Novelli proclaim a modern ethic.

When principals of the Core group heard that offices for the savvy public relations concern Porter/Novelli were entering the project market, they "went and camped out in the lobby until the executives would see us." At least that's how Peter Hapstak tells it, and it makes a good story. Persistence aside, Core Group got the job, he continues, because the client thought the aggressive firm "would take bigger chances." The client's instincts provide correct. Porter/Novelli, which came from strongly contemporary office interiors, got new 22,60-sq.-ft. headquarters that pushed the corporate image from pleasantly contemporary to truly modern. Intensive interviewing led to programming for a floor plate complicated by a configuration of two skewed rectangles plus a large central service core.
In speaking to personnel, the words "interaction, dynamic and neighborhoods" recurred as a descriptive leitmotif to working methods, Hapstak recounts. Core's solution was to address not only this need for easy communications among staff, but also privacy needs as well as requirements for fairly formal meetings and a/v presentations. Both layout and the custom work stations that occupy a good percentage of the space respond to the corporate esprit and its interactive nature.
Intimations of a chic Milanese cafe come from the espresso bar.
A freestanding unit accommodates refrigerator and shelving.

What better inducements to co-mingling could there be then coffee and television? Thus, smack in the center of the offices, replacing the expected reception desk and console, are an expresso bar and ceiling-mounted television adjoined by a lounge and main conference room offering segue into private areas for continued conversation. Hard-edged and gleaming with terrazzo flooring, steel and
glass counter, Italian bar stools
and glass-fronted lounge, this front volume creates strong impact for a firm whose business revolves around creating impact. Work areas - be they private or out in the open - make for similarly strong visuals. The work stations, crafted of maple, waffle glass, laminate plus hot- and cold-rolled steel, encourage a corridor culture with their flip-down transaction panels. A unique feature of these
stations is multi- functional
endpiece that accommodates storage and illumination with uplighting that is reflected off glass ceiling panels. As for the enclosed offices across the corridor, they too connote easy access through 4-ft.-wide, sliding barn-door openings. Porter/Novelli was completed in seven months for $8.50 per sq. ft. Dale Steward, principal, collaborated with his partner.                   EDIE COHEN.


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