Photo: Meredith Galante/Business Insider
Inside an unsuspecting building off Union Square, Cee Lo Green’s mic stand can be found, awaiting his return.The building, which now houses Primary Wave Music Publishing and Brand Synergy Group, used to be a chandelier factory. For the past three years, it’s served as the space for the two companies—which are partners in name only—to recruit clients such as Cee Lo, Big Boy, and Rihanna.
Primary Wave signs the musical talent, while Brand Synergy creates and aligns partnerships with the talent and brands, like one between Cee Lo and Duracell (Cee Lo was recently appointed Chief Creative Officer of Primary Wave). So, in essence, when clients come to this space on East 16th Street, it’s a one-stop-shop for recording and building brand partnerships.
“We’re not just slapping a name on a brand,” said Laura Striese, vice president of Brand Synergy Group said. “We’re finding ways to creatively integrate brands. Someone like Lo (Green) is in on all the meetings, every step of the way when we create partnerships.”
The layout and decor of the office is the brainchild of Primary Wave CFO Ramon Villa. The team subscribes to the view that an open workspace fosters creativity. The beauty of no doors and offices means there’s no need to set up meeting times, and things get done quicker.
“When you walk into the space, I think you can tell we’re all inspired by music,” Striese said.
Music can be heard playing throughout the office, and sometimes clients even try out new music in the main space.
“When you walk in here, there’s a pulse,” said Jeff Straughn, founder and CEO of Brand Synergy Group. “It comes across in our work environment that we have a competitive energy that other record companies don’t have.”
As soon as you enter the offices, it's clear you're at a record label, but there are lots of personal touches. Even the photo on the wall was taken by a staffer in advertising.
The waiting area in the reception room also doubles as extra meeting space for the team. Even the chairs have character—the orange seats are from the old Shea Stadium.
The conference room has a huge black chalkboard that helps the team organise clients, brands, and partnerships they are currently dealing with.
The board is colour-coded based on the type of partnerships and relationships the company has with the clients.
When the CFO Ramon Villa was helping design the office, he wanted to make sure the space embodied the personality of the company. That can be seen in items such as the conference table, which isn't a typical corporate long table.
Villa and the CEO of Primary Wave Music Larry Mestel meet to discuss future business in the conference room.
The nicknacks in the conference room all represent promotions the company has done or artists its worked with.
The lighting gives the office a great ambiance. There are very few overhead fluorescent lights here.
In the open kitchen area, employees can try samples from brands the company is working with, or just make their lunches.
This pod chair has a high sides to create some element of privacy in the open office when clients are meeting with the CEO.
The glassed-in offices belong to the Brand Synergy Group team. Pictured here is Laura Striese, the company's VP.
Straughn proudly displays his photo with Rihanna. Brand Synergy Group conceived her partnership with Nivea.
The listening room is the pride and joy of Primary Wave's space. It serves as a recording space, a listening space, a place for showcases, and a meeting room.
T-shirts from clothing company Twelve Bar hang on the wall, and are given to clients when they come visit.
The stage can be moved to the centre office, if needed. But in here, as many as 13 people have fit on it for a performance.
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