Step Inside Varagon’s New Office Designed by Spectorgroup

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Emma Weckerling
Emma Weckerling
Emma is the Managing Editor of Work Design Magazine.

Varagon’s NYC office features a balance of a polished and tailored with exposed and raw to create a space with an industrial feel and a sense of refinement.

Project Overview:

After years of leasing space throughout New York City, asset management firm Varagon Capital Partners decided it was time to create a headquarters that truly aligned with its values. Seeking a partner to champion its vision, the firm immediately connected with Spectorgroup’s ethos and strategy on how to build a space that would evolve with the company over time. Located in 4 Times Square, formerly the Conde Nast Tower, the building offers sweeping views of New York City and the surrounding sites of Times Square.

Varagon’s mission is centered around client servicing and building deep lasting relationships. Through visioning workshops and surveys, Spectorgroup was able to identify their brand values and synthesize them into the new workplace. This resulted in a design concept that centered around hospitality, including the creation of a promenade along the glass that encircles key programmatic spaces and guides visitors throughout the heart of the space – the main café, lounge and private dining room.

The journey begins once the elevator doors open to a wood portal, creating an intimate experience that pulls you in towards a jaw-dropping view of the iconic city skyline. An open, comfortable reception area offers a home-like atmosphere that focuses the eye outward as it frames the city view. Here, guests and employees are welcomed by a serene and neutral color palette, with thoughtfully-arranged furniture that allows you to take in the sights – providing a light and airy feeling as though you are floating in the clouds.

Intrigued by the idea of polished and tailored versus exposed and raw, Spectorgroup balanced both concepts by leaving the ceiling exposed for an industrial feel, but painted white for a sense of refinement. The thoughtful integration of these design choices culminated in an amalgamation of hospitality and work, generating an environment that effortlessly blends the welcoming ambiance of a hospitality setting with the functional efficiency required for productive work.

The creamy palette of the office is warm and inviting, luring guests to explore the space further. To the right of the welcome area, there’s a pavilion that features two lounges, a group of conference rooms, and a pantry with dining areas that encourage socialization. The pavilion creates a curved effect, guiding guests through the office. Fashioned to exhibit the company’s values, the glassed private dining with open work areas encompasses Varagon’s transparency and commitment to client service. Broken up on both sides of the floor plan are the executive hubs, and the CEO suite is situated in a corner of the building with a boardroom and executive lounge to entertain clients.

Project Planning

Through our Workplace Strategy Process, we collected both quantitative and qualitative information that helped inform the planning and vision for Varagon’s new offices. Online surveys were sent out to all the employees including programming confirmation meetings and an interactive visioning workshop were held with the executive team. The executive team remained heavily involved throughout the entire design process.

Project Details

The planning and design concept played a major role in the sense of wellness and tranquility that is felt as you journey through the space. The concept was based on an atoll, the core of the space created the negative void, and the program was designed to be reaching toward the expanse of the views. The light palette with tone-on-tone textures and colors adds to the serenity and calmness of the space.


Overall Project Results

One big change that occurred in the planning was the location of the C-suite. In their previous office space, the C-suite was co-located in one area of the floor. The guiding principles established during the workplace strategy process focused on celebrating the employee and client experience and informed the shift to a more dispersed planning approach where the executives sat closer to their respective teams. The CEO’s office is in a highly visible location adjacent to the boardroom and client servicing zone. The plan is very balanced, giving the most spectacular daylight and views to the common areas for everyone to enjoy.

Project Summary

  • Landlord – The Durst Organization
  • MEP Engineer – ME Engineering
  • Lighting Designer – Lighting Workshop

Design Team

  • Principal – Scott E. Spector AIA, NCARB
  • Project Manager – Chris Thibodeau
  • Design Director  – Sara Agrest AIA, IIDA, LEED AP
  • Senior Designer –  Hao Chang
  • Designer – Lucy Wang

Photography credit

  • Connie Zhou

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