NOTE: COLUMN IS A LITTLE SHORT BECAUSE TODD IS SHOOTING A PHOTO FOR IT
The building now inhabited by Ground Zero Advertising is not an office. It is an advertising theme park.
To be considered a cutting-edge ad agency in Los Angeles, you really have to have a cool building. Apparently there's something about the wide-open spaces of converted warehouses that speaks to the Muse of Copy Writing hence the decision by TBWA Chiat/Day to abandon its wacky Binoculars Building for even wackier warehouse space near Playa del Rey, and the move by Dailey & Associates from its staid Mid-Wilshire headquarters to "creative space" in the Pacific Design Center.
But of all the far-out, unbuttoned, eye-bulging agency offices in L.A., there is nothing like the new home of Ground Zero in Marina del Rey.
Since its inception in 1994, Ground Zero has gone out of its way to seem different from any other agency. Its former office, also a converted warehouse, had desks and ceiling fixtures made of wings from old warplanes, and its walls were festooned with gigantic baby photos of its employees.
The new home, a few miles from the old one in Santa Monica, is still under construction, although the company officially moved in last week. It was supposed to be complete before Christmas but building a grand vision can take time.
The first thing that strikes a visitor about the agency's new home is the Ramp. A long corrugated metal walkway sticks out uncomfortably far from the side of the building into the main driveway, leading up to a second-floor entrance.
An expensive way to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act? No. The Ramp is a central theme to the building's new design; Disneyland has a monorail, Ground Zeroland has the Ramp.
Entering the building, you find yourself surrounded by glass, inside a windowed cube with glass doors leading in. Beyond the doors, the Ramp cuts straight across the center of the building, growing ever wider as it sweeps slowly to the floor. At the bottom, a concrete slab rises as the Ramp descends forming the receptionists' desk.
On both sides of the Ramp is an open sea of strange desks. Each is a tear-shaped slab of glass mounted on top of silver oil barrels, with an industrial-looking arm hanging over it. There are wheels on one end of each desk, so that they can be swiveled around to meet the desk next door, forming a big Yin and Yang circular desk.
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