HBO Corporate Offices - Reclaimed Raven Oak Paneling

Reclaimed oak paneling in HBO office

Project: HBO Corporate Offices View Slideshow

Location: New York 

Designer: TPG Architecture 

Product: Raven Oak Paneling 

A clean, crisp, unfussy space that is also dynamic and exciting - not an easy goal - but one achieved masterfully by HBO and TPG Architecture for the network's new corporate offices in New York. 

Central to this accomplishment is the Raven Oak Paneling developed by TerraMai in collaboration with TPG Architecture. We started with reclaimed oak from nineteenth-century barns, left the weathered surface face intact with its original saw-trace texture, then added a finish treatment using natural tinted oils in order to achieve a rich 'raven' black color. The result is a sleek, powerful look with subtle surface texture that gives this product depth and complexity. 

In addition to our Raven Oak Paneling, we can also work with clients to achieve a range of custom colors.


HBO - from New York 'Underground' Experiment to Pinnacle of Entertainment Industry 

The entity now known as HBO began life as the first underground cable system in the U.S., originally serving Lower Manhattan. The company is now regarded as the premier television network in the country, widely credited for elevating the industry to new levels of artistic achievement with original programs such as The Sopranos, The Wire, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Boardwalk Empire and other acclaimed series. 

Starting in 1965, Charles Dolan built the first underground television cable system in the United States beneath the streets of Lower Manhattan, calling it 'Sterling Manhattan Cable'. The new system was laid underground, rather than strung along telephone poles as was the norm, because the dense forest of tall buildings that make up Lower Manhattan blocked television signals. 

Time-Life Inc. (now Time Warner) soon purchased 20 percent of the company, which began broadcasting in 1972 as 'The Green Channel', before quickly being renamed 'Home Box Office'. The first program to air was Paul Newman's adaptation of the Ken Kesey book Sometimes a Great Notion

With a subscription base of only 20,000 customers, Sterling Manhattan Cable bled money and Dolan soon lost control of the company to Time-Life in 1973. Time-Life replaced Dolan as president of HBO with Gerald Lavin, who later gained infamy for brokering the merger between AOL and Time Warner in 2000, a deal now widely regarded as emblematic of the irrational folly of the dot-com era.

Throughout its early years, HBO relied on programming based on recently released movies, cult movies, and sporting events, primarily high-profile boxing matches. In 1975 HBO became the first network to deliver signals exclusively via satellite, starting with the famed "Thrilla in Manila" boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Smokin'Joe Frazier.

HBO experimented with a number of original movies and programs throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s but it was the Larry Sanders Show, which debuted in 1997, that initiated the network's unmatched ascent. HBO has since gone on to produce an unparalleled range of award-winning original programs.

Once regarded as the homely, dim-witted little sister to the more noble, more glamorous movie industry, television has recently surpassed film in artistic merit and sheer entertainment value, according to many critics, such as the great James Wolcott in a recent piece for Vanity Fair magazine.     

Although HBO's founder, Charles Dolan, lost control of the struggling company in 1973, he did manage to rebound with a follow-up venture, Cablevision. The 85-year-old former college drop out was recently ranked 155 on the list of richest American's by Forbes magazine.  


TPG Architecture - Specialized Services, Diverse Capabilities

"TPG Architecture is an award-winning provider of innovative design solutions," according to the company's Website. "With practice groups in corporate interiors, retail design, architecture, advanced technology and broadcast, health sciences and graphics and branding, TPG offers integrated services across numerous sectors and industries. The company is committed to sustainable design."

"Founded in 1979 and headquartered in New York, with offices in Long Island and London, the firm works locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. While our core business focuses on Corporate Interiors and Retail Design, TPG has cultivated practice groups in Advanced Technology and Broadcast, Architecture, Healthcare, Education and Branding & Graphics."

"Organized in sector-specific studios, TPG provides the strong personal and specialized service of a small firm, as well as the breadth of resources offered by a large organization. There are presently eight equity principals. This fact gives our firm tremendous depth at the leadership level, which enables the stability, diversity and design quality that has characterized the organization since its inception."  

Read Q&A with TPG Architecture's Mavis Wiggins, the leading force behind the HBO project. 


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