For all the theatrical verve of Gensler, New York, it’s not the firm’s own name that’s lit up like Times Square. Creative director and principal John Bricker is subtler than that. He spends his days persuading clients that they needn’t use “explicit design elements,” he says, to express the spirit of their brands, and he certainly embraced that approach for his own office’s branding and digital design. He calls it “a lava-lamp experience, ambient rather than overt.”
Take the colorful mural extrapolated from the word design and sliced into segments to span the five levels. When the elevator doors open, no matter where, fragments of outsize letters appear, some vertical, others horizontal, and all in the Bodoni typeface. Likewise offering “moments of surprise and delight,” in his words, the gray subway tile found throughout is punctuated by a scattering of red versions bearing local or inspirational messages, such as “In a New York Minute” or “Stay Curious.” They are mounted high up, so you have to seek them out. Little rewards for staying alert to your surroundings.
As for the Gensler name, it does appear in each level’s elevator lobby—but rendered in restrained letters no more than 3 inches tall. Because the name is, furthermore, mounted on the walls opposite the eye-catching murals, you may notice it only on the way out of the office. A modest bow for the outstanding work produced there.