When work gets stressful, every New Yorker fantasizes about running out of the office and relaxing by the water or on the Great Lawn of Central Park. Now, one Lower East Side office doesn't need to escape to enjoy the iconic urban oasis. LTL Architects have designed an incredible installation in the offices of OpenPlans that makes a living replica of Central Park the heart of the work place. Not only does the living green wall, supplied by Parker Interior Plantscapes, make for a vibrant space, but it also plays a key role in the office's LEED gold certification, by providing insulation and helping to cool and clean the air.
When walking into the OpenPlans offices, you can’t miss the 84 foot long walnut bookshelf resembling Central Park and the surrounding streets of Manhattan. The designers paid such meticulous attention to detail that each shelf represents a real street and different levels of greenery reflect the park’s varying wooded and flat areas. Even specific paths, ponds, and lakes are rendered in the massive green map.
The architects’ complete plan of the offices actually takes up two whole floors, including a roof deck and a kitchen. Much of the furniture and materials are recycled from thrift and vintages stores, giving the space a unique look that’s completely unlike your traditional Office Max aesthetic. The main office’s continuous custom bamboo desk seats up to 60 people, and more than 500 globes salvaged from flea markets are scattered around the space to showcase the non-profit’s mapping interests and innovations.
Open Plans is a non-profit that develops GIS mapping software to help make communication and public transportation more user friendly. They also do a great deal of advocacy work through Streetsblog, Streetfilms, and GothamSchools, where they report on urban issues to help further the public interest. LTL Architects’ design for their offices, especially the Central Park wall, is special to OpenPlans because it reflects the non-profit’s urban and social goals for the city.