This weekend, Paul Goldberger was on with Bob Garfield on NPR talking about a story he wrote in The New Yorker last year on the design of newsrooms. In the article, Goldberger talked about the cold feel to the Times newsroom, but he elaborated on that with Garfield. He said:
The problem with it isn’t the building itself. It’s that once the time came to actually design the new newsroom inside this, The New York Times then kind of lost its nerve, in a strange way, and hired a very conventional architectural firm to do the interiors, a kind of dulled-down, slowed-down, big open space that loses the energy of the old newsroom, but doesn’t join it to anything else. And to me most troubling was there really isn’t anything that tells you it’s the digital age, other than this real silence through it all.
Well, the problem there is not extravagance so much as the lack of a clear idea of what to do. That’s really what you feel at The New York Times. And the strange, quiet, elegant dullness of that newsroom does seem to me to embody the deer in the headlights.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg’s Lexington Avenue newsroom is very cool:
Bloomberg’s space is probably the most exciting newsroom of our time. It’s a big, lively, colorful, energetic space, but it’s an energy of a digital age. It’s got flat screens all over the place suspended from the ceiling. It’s got constant information feeds on those flat screens. All the desks are sleek and white and tightly together.
The place also, by the way, has a lot of very interesting contemporary art, which isn’t part of the newsgathering function but adds to this sense of it being of the moment. There’s a huge central – they call it the piazza. It’s a kind of open place to sit and talk, get a snack, run into people.
And you feel really that it has two parents, this space. One of them is the old newsroom, which, of course, it owes a debt to. The other is the trading floor. The Bloomberg newsroom kind of merges these two.