Interiors Magazine, May 1994
Music in Motion
A graffiti sculpture of Mercury adds a hip mood to a New York record company
Text by Justin Henderson, photography by Scott Frances/ESTO
Mercury Records hired Milo Klienberg Design Associates (MKDA) to plan its offices in midtown Manhattan’s Worldwide Plaza and asked for an image update: 30,000 square feet of interior space which would reflect a hip, youthful vision of the world of contemporary music. “They wanted a rock ‘n’ roll kind of floor,” says Akua Lesesne, MKDA director of interior design. “A space where artists could hang out.” They also wanted a look that would “create a separate identity for the company.” (Mercury is a division of Polygram, and MKDA had designed several Polygram’s other floors in the building.)
The MKDA design team- Michael Klienberg, principal in charge, Akua Lesesne, designer, and Stan Judovits, project architect – elected to start with an image of the Greek god Mercury. Lesesne collaborated with Erni Vales and Robert Ferra from the Brooklyn based graffiti art team Erni Gil, Inc. in the design of an abstract steel sculpture inspired by this god of communication for the elevator lobby reception area. Called “Mercury in Motion”, the piece starts by the elevators, ascends to the ceiling, and extends down the length of the room to align adjacent to the reception counter. There are intimations of human form in the sculpture’s shape at ground level, and the black and white Mercury head corporate logo is incorporated, but scattering across a cold cathode-lit ceiling cove in a stream of random steel fragments, the piece becomes an abstract, graffitiesque metaphor for motion, speed, and communication.