Architect Gensler
Category Workplace
Location New York, NY
Photographer James John Jetel
Awards Society of American Registered Architects NY Design Award 2020: Design Award of Merit

Boldly expressing a brand identity

Campari North America Headquarters is a brand expression like no other. Taking over the two upper floors of a landmark midtown building, the 65,000-square-foot space is an inspired mixture of work, lifestyle, and almost cinematic elegance. With an open-concept office, experiential corridors, and four cocktail lounges, the space required lighting design worthy of the company’s vibrant 160-year history. Lighting that evokes a culture of dynamism, creative work, and originality.

Working with Gensler, we began by applying the philosophy and functions of a non-traditional workplace environment to the unique history of Campari, especially their legacy of collaboration with artists and designers, and the sleek glamor of their products.

The elevator lobby’s dark suede walls welcome employees and guests to each floor. Decorative brass and opal glass fixtures complement the blue lacquered ceiling with period charm, while the texture of the walls is softly illuminated by perimeter cove lighting.

In the double-height atrium, lighting enhances the contrasting textures of wood and brass to amplify the feel of space. We lit the bar’s textured wood mural to highlight the curated displays of bottles and glassware. From above, decorative pendants descend from the lacquered ceiling.

The side staircase becomes an immersive experience, with every surface saturated in a deep red homage to the brand’s trademark spirit. The color is activated via perimeter cove lighting and lights tucked under the stair treads. The result feels more like an exclusive nightclub than corporate headquarters, especially when you notice the grid of steel-mesh lockers displaying a variety of rare liquors and offering a glimpse into the secret “speakeasy” bar just beyond.

We achieved a brighter atmosphere in the open-floor office through overhead lighting: black ceiling-mounted downlights, decorative task lamps, and two-tone linear pendants inspired by a poster from the Campari archives.

The strong contrast between light and dark is also on display in the lab-inspired academy, where mixologists learn the art of bartending under a mesh-grid ceiling and decorative pendants. Compared to the other spaces, which are lush and refined, the laboratory is pared-back and industrial.

Believing that the boardroom should be a clear reflection of a company’s ethos, we designed a unique “chandelier” to hang above the conference table. A custom shelf with integral lighting to display Campari’s iconic bottles is a reminder of the company’s long history of excellence.