Vice Media

Brooklyn, New York

80,000 SF

Creating a new headquarters environment that supports a mature organization while maintaining its start-up feel and Brooklyn aesthetic.

Vice Media needed a new headquarters that reflected its organizational growth and professionalism by housing state-of-the-art production facilities along with the appropriate technological infrastructure for a media company of its reach. It was simultaneously vital for them to maintain their identity as an edgy and youthful media industry disruptor. Working closely with The Switzer Group, a balance between these two elements was struck.

The selected property linked two adjacent early 20th century brick, steel, wood and concrete buildings: a three-story, 21,000 square foot former Domino Sugar warehouse at 49 South 2nd Street and a two-story 44,000-plus square foot facility, an erstwhile theater, recording studio and restaurant, at 289 Kent Avenue. Providing architectural and interior design and build-out, The Switzer Group conducted zoning studies, designed new infrastructure including elevators, and modified the building envelope and egress bringing the two previously occupied buildings up to code while also making them energy efficient.

Maintaining its industrial quality and proportions, the Kent Avenue building’s former garage was converted into a light-filled entrance lobby and reception that anchors the complex and fans out to a main café bar, lounges and access to the South 2nd Street’s collaborative office space, conference rooms and executive offices. Through a series of bay doors, the entire lobby level opens to an outdoor “living room” deck and green roof garden, blurring the boundaries between interior and exterior. Vice’s Kitchen Filming Studio, a working professional kitchen, and two conference rooms, provide additional access to daylight on the lobby level, with a series of high-tech editing suites located on their own floor.

The design sought to express the existing structure where possible, while opening the space to daylight through a series of skylights creating an industrial feel drenched in light. The two buildings respectively brought forth the existing aesthetic components of exposed wood beams and columns and structural steel and concrete, which combined with sleek and minimal lighting, contributed to the feeling of balance between clean modernity and Brooklyn grit.

“You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.”

Walt Disney