Helmut, O’Batta & Kassabaum
1996 NJ Golden Trowel
Helmut, O’Batta & Kassabaum
Proudly standing along the corridor of Route 10 in Parsippany, travelers pass this striking commercial office building with no hint of its unique interiors within. Phase II addressed the need to create a generic common area that would appeal to any and all future tenants. Phase III addressed the specific demands and needs of its major tenant.
Phase II - Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York
Visitors enter the first floor lobby amid a shower of both artificial and natural lighting provided by high glass walls. This area was once covered with dark brown brick which the owners felt created a dark, unattractive first impression. They requested a design that would create a bright welcome and at the same time creating an illusion both first class and contemporary. Approximately 6,000 square feet of 12 x 12" black and Bainbrook (khaki) brown granite was used in this unique installation. A variety of installation methods were incorporated into this project from thinset tile over existing brick pavers, to a mastic and mud application.
One is immediately faced with a unique blending of entrance with common areas. The elevator passageway leading to other floors is crowned by an unusual stairstep contrasting pattern. To the left and right of the elevators are two defined common areas where employees and visitors can eat or conduct meetings. These areas are defined by substituting carpeted areas with stone flooring. Once square columns were transformed into round columns, adding interest and softening their appearance. Many planters were eliminated to create a more open atmosphere. Remaining planters were covered with stone, integrating them into the overall design of the area.
A cafeteria area was created with over 1,000 square feet of American made ceramic tiles. Flax and flint colored 12 x 12" floor tiles, and 6 x 6" wall tiles combining white, black, burgundy and almond create a refreshing geometric design.
Phase III - Dialogic
This newly refreshened office building quickly attracted a major tenant interested in taking over the majority of the available space. Their demands were simple, yet proved to be a major challenge: create a space to serve as both lobby and initial sales area, a space reflecting the cutting edge, high tech nature of this computer software firm.
The finished project proved itself unique both in design and materials selected. Guests are led into the lobby/sales area by a floor displaying Kashmere slate. This stone is found in a single quarry in northern India, now it serves as the key player in a distinctive design. The slate is a rich blend of mauves, rust, and gold with a slight iridescence in the natural cleft surface. Strategically installed tiles display fossil-like dendrites (a branching, treelike mark made by one mineral crystallizing in another), truly creating a one of a kind reception. A curving pattern was set in order to accentuate the distinctive curved wall set in the center of that area. This required a multitude of cuts and perfect placement.
Functionally speaking, the curved wall separates the outer area from a more intimate sales area found behind it. Aesthetically, it creates a masterpiece in masonry design and installation. Several accents were added to complement this wall’s natural beauty, such as a stainless steel base and reflective inset lighting. The wall is covered in over 1,000 square feet of black lace slate, a stone that is quarried in central Norway. In sizes of 12 x 18", 6 x 6" and 6 x 12", the stone is a deep black with reflective markings created by a high content of quartz and hornblende - resulting in a fascinating installation requiring the highest of expertise. The finished convex wall has enjoyed the interest and fascination of all who come upon it, most of them unable to resist running their hands along its surface.
For a company indicating that a stable, state of the art impression is essential, the finished area more than exceeded their expectations. This is a unique and intricate installation where a picture is truly worth a thousand words.
And he can fire everyone in the company,
from the chairman on down,
spending his money somewhere else.
- Sam Walton