Towers of Power
From the Condé Nast-inspired offices of The Devil Wears Prada to the stylish retro decor of Mad Men, spectacular architecture has always been synonymous with equally prestigious media companies. In light of our own gathering of top magazine executives at the Publishing Business Conference in New York City this fall, it seems only right to highlight some of our attendees’ prestigious headquarters.
First let’s step back into the age of rye whiskey and gin martinis, both making a comeback in trendy bars everywhere, to the Time & Life Building. Little has changed at this Rockefeller Center building since it opened in 1959 and welcomed the real-life counterparts of Don Draper and Joan Holloway. Designed by Michael Harris of Harrison & Abramovitz & Harris, the vibrant Art Deco building is home to Time, Inc. magazines Time, Fortune, and Sports Illustrated.
Although the exterior of the building is very similar to its Rockefeller Center partners, Time & Life’s lobby is one of the most lauded areas of the building. Its Copacabana patterned terrazzo floor and striking steel-paneled elevators caught the eye of the Landmarks Preservation committee, which describes the space as “one of the most unusual and best-preserved modern interiors in New York City.”
Similarly hailed, though no longer located at Time & Life, Pan-Latin restaurant La Fonda del Sol attracted a quintessential three-martini lunch crowd. The restaurant designed by Alexander Girard displayed a colorful array of typographic signage as well as dramatic metallic columns dispersed throughout the restaurant. Known for his colorful textile designs, Girard’s work on La Fonda del Sol earned the designer international acclaim. Today La Fonda del Sol has been reimagined as a chic tapas bar located in the MetLife Building on Park Avenue, and serves up enough rye whiskey to do Don proud.
As we jump into the 21st century, we can view New York’s latest architectural feat and publishing mecca: the Hearst Tower on West 57th Street. Designed and completed by Lord Norman Foster in 2006, this 46-story tower is the home of the Hearst Corporation and its 20 magazine brands, including Cosmopolitan, Esquire and Elle. The facades of the building are patterned with interlocking glass triangles, rising from the 1928 base of the old Hearst building. New York Times architecture critic, echoing the achievements of Time & Life building, describes the Hearst Tower as, “the most muscular symbol of corporate self-confidence to rise in New York since the 1960’s, when Modernism was in full bloom.”