Our adaptive reuse office design restores elements of the SOM Manufacturers Hanover Trust interior. Located on what was originally an office level of the landmarked building, the third floor interior was modified and neglected. The most iconic element, the luminous ceiling along the Fifth Avenue and 43rd Street facades, was badly damaged. We restored it by preserving the stainless steel mechanical grid and installing new polycarbonate panels similar to the original’s translucency and texture. A curtain track system tacked on in recent years was removed and replaced with one concealed in the curtain wall frame as in the SOM design. Sheer white drapes along the street facades were based on the architects’ 1954 specifications. Seen from the outside, the project recreates the authentic vision for the building.
In other areas surfaces were removed. A ceiling system from the early 2000s was demolished to show the building’s ingenious structure. In the lobby, one of the set of double beams spanning the building’s major structural bay hovers above the reception area. A simple linear fixture between beams illuminates the pair. The secondary structure’s widening beams are visible in the lobby and private work areas. Instead of restoring the acoustical ceiling grid, the shallow capitals and deep transfer beams above the original finished ceiling are exposed. The new marble walls and floors in the elevator lobby, which reference the ground floor reception area, extend up to the line of the midcentury-era ceiling. Above the line is the untreated concrete of the ceiling sandwich. Two of the concrete-wrapped steel columns are left unclad and unpainted.