Bureau Civilian: office for a film studio in New York

New York studio Civilian has designed the interior design for the office of documentary film company Sandbox Films. Premises with an area of ​​390.2 sq. meters is located in the famous 1920s neo-Gothic skyscraper in the Flatiron district of Manhattan and includes a central reception and bar, a conference room, private and open offices, production and editing facilities, and a state-of-the-art cinema hall.

The non-profit company Sandbox specializes in science films. Sandbox is behind the 2023 Oscars Best Documentary Feature nominee Fire of Love, and their team approached Civilian to design a space that would bring together the creative and technical aspects of filmmaking under one roof.

The Civilian team created a thoughtful interior layout and infused the project with a rich palette of materials and colors, reimagining the potential of the modern workplace as a welcoming environment that fosters a sense of community and encourages cultural exchange. Civilian collaborated with LB Architects, who served as the architects for the project.

Inspired by the clients’ love for the art of storytelling, the space recalls the historic Art Deco cinemas of Stockholm and Amsterdam, the designs of modernist designer Poul Henningsen and the golden age of Broadway.

The reception area, flanked by a large circular stone-topped bar, is connected to a row of seating and serves as the studio’s daytime storage area, transforming into an entertainment space for evening events and film screenings. Rows of tent lights line the existing beams of the building. The centerpiece of the seating area is a custom curved reversible velvet sofa. Opposite him is a pair of restored Milo Boughman swivel chairs. A wall of white oak paneling with illuminated Sandbox movie poster frames wraps around the exterior of the theater, culminating in a neon-lit burgundy door leading to the 22-seat Dolby Atmos theater.

A series of mint green acoustic sliding doors connect the conference room, private offices, and editing areas. At the center of the conference space is a custom-designed solid ash conference table with a glossy curved work surface. The table is surrounded by Sling Chairs designed by Tobia Scarpa.

The columns are accented by Silver Blue travertine and Ceppo Dalmata marble cladding, creating a threshold between the public reception and cinema room, as well as private meeting spaces and shared workspaces. The original concrete floors have been restored and refinished throughout the space.

“We founded Sandbox to tell stories about science and celebrate filmmakers working in a genre that has historically been overlooked,” says founding director Greg Boustead. “It was an incredible pleasure to collaborate with Civilian on our project. The studio implemented our values ​​in the interior, rethinking the potential of the modern workplace. Their design seamlessly integrates the state-of-the-art manufacturing capabilities that are so important to what we do.”

The cinema hall is the heart of the space. It features Dolby Atmos and surround sound, the only one of its kind in New York. Working in collaboration with the sound design team, Civilian took great care to create a seamless, fully immersive environment with sound equipment, acoustic dampers, and reverbs hidden behind a series of dark brown stretched wool and walnut panels. Rising in three tiers, the fully reclining chairs were custom-made for the project and feature a series of discrete recessed table lights created in collaboration with Lambert et Fils. The projection screen is complemented by vertical brass sconces on a double-curved walnut frame that is finely perforated to facilitate hidden speakers and subwoofers.

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