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Design image as critical marketing tool.

What attracts commercial tenants to a building in a market rife with possibilities? Answer: IMAGE. Better still, image that is as appealing as it is durable and cost-effective.

Sygrove Associates, Inc.'s initial involvement with 509 Madison Avenue was as the design team for Iberia Airlines. We presented Iberia's concept to the landlord and managing agent for approval as well as coordinated all of the design work. From this beginning came the invitation to create the image for the entire building. Wishing to attract additional upscale tenants, Sygrove Associates, Inc. was commissioned to interpret the landlord's design requirements at the building entrance and in the lobby and tenant corridors.

Several problems needed solutions: lack of an overall image; a non-descript entrance; and awkward lobby proportions (tall, dark and narrow). On the positive side of the ledger: the building's size made it an ideal home for both retail and boutique office tenants.

We discussed with the landlord the image he wanted for the property. There were discussions about the great chateaux of the Loire Valley and clubby wood-paneled English libraries. These images led us, as designers, to a noninstitutional approach to colors, surface treatments and materials.

We presented our design solutions. A limestone "frame" was created to draw attention to the building from the street. The entry doors were to be as transparent as possible so that the lobby materials and lighting could be appreciated from the outside, both day and night. For flooring, a neoclassical pattern executed in marble tiles, individually placed by our staff, ensured uniformity of design. Walls were a specified rhythm of architectural mouldings giving the lobby proportionate height and depth. Faux finishing to the walls imparted warmth and brightness, tying together the scheme in a highly cost-effective manner. Ironically, this treatment is rarely considered because it is perceived as being too fragile. In fact, it is not. It is incredibly durable, easily maintained and touched up by the artist on a biannual contract. In the tenant corridors,to obviate the problem of daily wear and tear or vandalism at the elevator call button wall, we devised a grid system of replaceable laminate panels. Pre-fabricated panels were stored as reserves to replace potential damaged areas. This is an easy and inexpensive way to maintain a building's image.

In our view, longevity is an important component of a successful design solution.
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Title Annotation:making commercial property attractive to tenants
Author:Sygrove, Marilyn
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:May 19, 1993
Previous Article:Is your building 'environmentally conscious'?
Next Article:Architects now entering construction management.

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