Rapper and music producer Jay-Z asked architect Jeffrey Beers to set up his new offices in Chelsea, New York. Husband of singer Beyoncè, winner of 22 Grammy Awards and globally renowned tycoon, Shawn Corey Carter (this is the artist's name) has chosen for the headquarters of his entertainment company, Roc Nation in New York, to entrust the project to Jeffrey Beers International.
Roc Nation is now a brand: from its offices in New York, London and Los Angeles, the production house deals with the management of new talents, artists such as Alicia Keys and Meek Mill and sports personalities, up to clothing and to champagne. “We hope to influence what's going on,” says Desiree Perez, CEO and co-founder of Roc Nation, who has worked with Jay-Z since 1996, when the artist called her to perform at a club she was running.
The decision to expand the offices and move to larger spaces is part of the growth process, but above all to entrust the task to an architect like Beers, well-known in the hospitality sector, with clients such as Four Seasons Hotels, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and Jean-Georges Vongerichten. And it is Beers' experience that was required to manage the more than 2700 square meters on four floors, with another almost one thousand square meters outdoors for the Roc Nation headquarters.
Beers explains: “This is an extraordinary building with incredible bones,” referring to the nine-story Leed Silver-certified block that Morris Adjmi Architects completed in 2018. “I imagined a true downtown New York atmosphere, but also warm and residential. " Not to mention the contemporary art gallery mood, since Jay Z owns a world-class art collection, with pieces by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Roy Nachum and Mickalene Thomas, all exhibited at Roc Nation.
The palette of materials used by the architect is typical of American modernism, that is, polished concrete, wood and glass. The workspaces, although designed prior to the pandemic phase, are “safe” spaces, private offices with a minimum surface area of 12 square meters. “For the moment we're living, it was a good choice,” says Beers. "As for the partitions, I identified an Italian window system in black anodized steel with flush glass, which echoes the building's facade of sash windows in a black aluminum grid". Mid-century furnishings are George Nelson's benches, Eero Saarinen chairs and Antenna desks.
The main conference room is "impressive and that's what Desiree wanted," Beers notes. A wall of windows overlooking the Hudson River and another paneled in rosewood flank what is truly a trendy table: a 12-meter-long expanse of Nero Marquina marble that seats 30 people.
The roof is an authentic square paved with concrete and artificial grass, populated by benches and tables in teak. On the one hand, the large Paper Planes logo, oversized and in painted metal, and on the other the spectacular urban landscape of Hudson Yards, the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building that recall and maintain the grit and glamor of New York. Let's Roc Again! (Carlo Biasia)