Ultra Swank - Retro Adventures

A Tour of the Time & Life Building in the 1960s

Written by Christopher • November 10th, 2014
A Tour of the Time & Life Building in the 1960s

Elevator bank in the new TIME & LIFE building. — Courtesy of Time Inc. Archives

The Time & Life Building, located at 1271 Avenue of the Americas, were designed by the Rockefeller family’s architects, Harrison & Abramowitz & Harris. The iconic building was completed in 1959, and actually serves as base of operations for fictional ad-agency Sterling Draper & Partners. Let’s explore further.

It is evident by looking at these photos that the set designers of AMC’s Mad Men took cues and inspiration from the Time & Life building. Everything from the furniture, to the sleek mid-century modern lines and material screams Mad Men. Oh, if only the photos were in color…

Today, publications such as TIME, Fortune, People and Sports Illustrated still call the building their base of operation. However, the look of it now can not stand up to the original design, colors and features when the building opened its doors and welcomed Don Draper and partners.

Which is your favorite feature of the Time & Life Building?

Source Time   

Above: Here’s Editor-in-Chief Henry Luce’s handsomely minimal office, featuring a wall-sized world map. — Courtesy of Time Inc. Archives

Above: Is that Don Draper? Looks like he got glasses and in need of a break. — Courtesy of Time Inc. Archives

Above: Let’s take a moment to marvel at the ceiling of this elevator bank. — Courtesy of Time Inc. Archives

Above: Office space in the new TIME & LIFE building. — Courtesy of Time Inc. Archives

Above: Eames was commissioned to design this particular reception space and it features specially designed furnishings for the building. — Courtesy of Time Inc. Archives

Above: The ground floor lobby of the building. — Courtesy of Time Inc. Archives

Above: One of the many lobbies in the building. — Courtesy of Time Inc. Archives

Above: There was even a reading room in the mezzanine. — Courtesy of Time Inc. Archives

Above: Outside we can see Radio City Hall. — Courtesy of Time Inc. Archives

Above: Visitors veiwing abstract “Relational Painting #88 — Courtesy of Time Inc. Archives

Above: ime Inc.’s John Jessup, Henry Luce, & Otto Fuerbringer with presidential candidate Senator John Kennedy and others at the Time Life Building. — Courtesy of Time Inc. Archives

Above: Jerome Brody President of Restaurant Associates Jerome Brody (Seated C) at La Fonda Del Sol restaurant. — Courtesy of Time Inc. Archives

Above: Food Preparation At La Fonda Del Sol — Courtesy of Time Inc. Archives

Above: From the top we can see downtown Manhattan and the Empire State Building. — Courtesy of Time Inc. Archives

Christopher

Christopher founded Ultra Swank in 2005. Has a crush on mid-century graphic design, defunct airlines, Disneyland and the Century 21 Exposition. Is a collector of easy listening music from the 60s and 70s and a Swedish expat living in Barcelona, Spain.

Find out more about Christopher

  • Keith

    Beautiful photos! The office and lobby spaces demonstrate the unabashedly creative and clean look without being overly clinical and impersonal like today’s office buildings.

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  • Kim Dramer

    Recently attended the final meeting of the Time Inc. Alumni Association at 1271 Avenue of the Americas. Their archives are going to the New-York Historical Society.

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