After more than a decade in Long Island City, WorldStage has moved its administrative offices to midtown Manhattan in a newly-designed space at 259 West 30th Street. WorldStage, the new brand for Scharff Weisberg and Video Applications, Inc., retains its warehouse in Secaucus, New Jersey.
Shelly Sabel, the company's new director of design, came onboard after the 12th floor office space had been selected with Vice President of Staging, Mike Halper spearheading the exhaustive search. The new neighborhood offers many advantages from proximity to clients and popular event spaces to the convenience of nearby Penn Station and the New Jersey warehouse.
"This space was an old sewing factory and had fantastic bones," Sabel recalls. "It was all open space that didn't compromise the charm and character of the building. We just needed to highlight it with fixtures, fittings and design."
Sabel says her goal was to make the new administrative offices as "playful" as the personality of the company. "What makes WorldStage great is not only the amazing technology we offer but also the people who put it all together. I wanted to create a flexible and collaborative work environment for everyone using bright colors and lots of light."
She started with the floor, installing Flor brand carpet tiles in graphic patterns of turquoise, blue-green and magenta. Walls are painted white although the reception area has festive colors that make the entry pop; it welcomes visitors with comfortable couches, laptop desks and a gum ball machine.
The office's windows, which afford a 360º view of the city, were stripped back to their original finishes. "Although this space is smaller than the premises in Long Island City, it's so light and airy that it doesn't feel smaller," Sabel points out. "We have views of the Post Office, Madison Square Garden, the new World Trade Center and points east. There's a real old-school New York feel looking out at the water towers and treetops. And we get incredible views of lightning storms."
Sabel's design career spans numerous arenas and media. She has lit the Ralph Lauren flagship store windows for eleven years and designed lighting for the flagship shops of Levis and Donna Karan Madison Avenue. Theatrical credits include collaborations with choreographer Savion Glover, Streb vs. Gravity at Lincoln Center and the Pilobolus dance company; her light-based sculptures and installations have been shown in an array of galleries. Never having worked in an office before, Sabel studied the interaction and functions of the WorldStage staff to design a space that would meet the needs of employees.
For example, project managers, who frequently work onsite, reside in a "bullpen" space with desks facing in multiple directions to ensure focus and privacy as they talk to clients. Customized furniture includes horizontal file cabinets with cushions on top and casters attached so they can roll from desk to desk as extra seating or serve as window seats from which staffers can appreciate the cityscape.
Says company President Josh Weisberg, "Nothing against the Borough of Queens, but we all love being back in midtown. It's way more convenient for client meetings and our shop is just a short train ride from Penn Station, which is around the corner. Shelly did an absolutely spectacular job of reflecting the essence of our personality in the design of the space and it's furnishings."
WorldStage Inc., the company created by the merger of Scharff Weisberg Inc and Video Applications Inc, continues a thirty-year legacy of providing clients the widest variety of entertainment technology coupled with conscientious and imaginative engineering services. WorldStage provides audio, video and lighting equipment and services to the event, theatrical, broadcast and brand experience markets nationally and internationally.