Stone in Architecture / Commercial

Slabwork provides a focal point for Manhattan office

November 1, 2012

Located high atop a skyscraper on New York City’s prestigious Lexington Avenue, the headquarters of OrbiMed Advisors, LLC, was designed to give visitors a first-class welcome as they enter the premises, with an attractive reception desk as a centerpiece of the design. The desk utilizes a combination of marble and crystallized glass slabs, and it serves as a study in precision stoneworking.

The architect for the project was Ted Moudis Associates, which is widely known for its design work in the commercial and financial sector. “We had seen their design work before, and there were really very few changes by us,” explained Samuel D. Islay, Managing Partner at OrbiMed. “We wanted to keep it extremely clean.”

“We knew we wanted it to be clean and light, and we knew that we wanted to use timber and stone,” added Sven H. Borho, Partner at OrbiMed. “We hired the architect for what they could do, and we really went with their vision. We also have a large conference table in Danby marble, so that ties in nicely with what we did with the reception desk.”

The center of the desk is comprised of Danby marble from Vermont, and the ends were made from Glassos® — a crystallized glass product from CCS-Stone of Moonachie, NJ — in a laminated, mitered assembly. Both materials are used as facing for the desk as well as countertops, and the lamination and mitering gives it a three-dimensional effect, particularly at the corners.

“At first, they were told that it couldn’t be done, so then they came to us, and we knew we could do it,” explained Jon Mitnick of CCS-Stone of Moonachie, NJ, which completed the fabrication as well as the installation. “It is all about planning and execution.”

A total of 200 square feet of slab material was used for the reception desk. The Danby marble is 1 ¼ inch thick, and it was carefully laminated and mitered so that the veining would run from the face of the desk and seamlessly continue to the countertop. Meanwhile, the Glassos® has a thickness of ¾ inch, and the material was utilized in a way that “anchors” the desk on both ends. “They were considering Thassos marble and Glassos®, which is a pure glass product,” Mitnick said. “The Glassos® has a clean look, and it doesn’t compete with the Danby.”

In processing the material for the job, Mitnick said that having the right machinery in his shop was critical to the success of the project. “A CNC was essential, but we also needed one that could perform the right tasks,” he said. “Also, you need an operator with the right experience.”

Originally, the reception desk had been built with Formica, but the principals at OrbiMed wanted to give a strong impression for visitors to the company. “We basically retrofitted the existing reception desk,” Mitnick said. “We worked from the inside out to make sure it would be able to support everything. It was a modular assembly. Everything was dry fit in the shop, and some of it was partially assembled, but we also had to finish some of the mitering in the field.”

The work was completed over the course of a weekend. “It had to be done over a planned weekend, so there was no room for error,” Mitnick said. “We had a team of union workers for transport and installation, and we had our men in the shop on standby just in case.”

Now complete, the reception desk serves as a hub for the bustling activity within OrbiMed’s offices, and the company’s principals are pleased with the finished work. In fact, Borho has also contracted CCS-Stone to process and install Glassos® for a residential project.        

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