The Rooms Where It Happens
By Brent Murray
What does Anna Wintour keep on her desk? Where are Ikea’s ubiquitous designs born? The spaces where decisions are made and power is exercised are rarely seen by the public. Five photographers explored these rooms, where global policy is discussed and fine art is priced. The pictures delve into the spaces of influencers — absent the decision makers themselves. Their energy and personalities linger in the surroundings.
Anna Wintour’s Office
Photographs by Landon Nordeman
On the 28th floor of 1 World Trade Center, Anna Wintour, the artistic director of Condé Nast and the editor of Vogue, exerts taste in ways that steer fashion houses and the celebrity-philanthropy complex alike. Famously uncompromising, she has possessed the desk shown above — a prototype table designed for her by Alan Buchsbaum — since 1986. The distinctly uncomfortable-looking chair, made of galvanized steel, is by Tolix. Also pictured: writing implements separated for guests and Ms. Wintour’s personal use; a photograph by Roxanne Lowit of Richard Avedon, Irving Penn and Helmut Newton; and one of a young Barack Obama by Lisa Jack.
The Security Council Consultations Room
Photographs by Devin Yalkin
The innermost sanctum of the United Nations is not the Security Council chamber, with its iconic horseshoe table, but a smaller space nearby known as the Consultations Room. Here, member states hold discussions that virtually no outsiders are permitted to observe. Cables run under the floor and through the room like a nervous system, connecting delegates to their translators via pieces of equipment, shown above, known as broadcast service panels. Also pictured: microphones and translators’ books.
David Zwirner’s Office
Photographs by Will Ellis
The elite art dealer David Zwirner has the clout to affect not just the pricing of individual works but the economics of the gallery system. With three exhibition spaces in New York, plus others in London and Hong Kong, Mr. Zwirner’s namesake business does more than $500 million in sales a year. His New York work space, above, is a minimalist’s dream. Among the art on display: “Homage to the Square, 1966,” by Josef Albers (behind the desk); “Untitled,” 1960, by Joan Mitchell (second image, left); and “Untitled (S.643, Hanging Seven-Lobed, Multilayered Interlocking Continuous Form),” from around 1956, by Ruth Asawa (suspended from the ceiling).
The Ikea Design Lab
Photographs by Mikael Sjöberg
From Vittsjo coffee tables to Raskog utility carts, all of Ikea’s roughly 10,000 products are evaluated in the company’s highly secure design lab. If you slept on an Ikea futon in your youth, or use its Ribba frames to hang expensive art today, you have lived an aesthetic determined here. The lab is housed at the corporate headquarters in Almhult, in rural Sweden. Founded here in 1943 by Ingvar Kamprad, Ikea now has 422 stores spread across 50 countries and territories, and last year, its revenue was more than $42 billion. Top and left: views of simple meeting rooms, with functional accessories; right: what the company calls “work boxes.”
Photographs by Ryan Jenq
From high-tech studios in the heart of Manhattan, the producers, editors and anchors of Fox News shape headlines in ways that echo around the country — and inside the Oval Office. Despite the ousters of its founder, Roger Ailes, in 2016 and its biggest personality, Bill O’Reilly, in 2017, Fox News’s influence on the political discourse remains undeniable. Sean Hannity draws more than three million viewers a night, and recently, the channel notched its 17th straight year as the most-watched cable news network. Top: a camera after a broadcast of “The Story With Martha MacCallum,” with control-room panels shown in reflection.