Wingate Hughes Architects’ Hot Wheels office design for Vornado‘s SVP of Leasing Bruce Pascal is a home office like no other. For starters, the office houses the rarest Hot Wheels collection in the world, including the Holy Grail of Hot Wheels — a pink Volkswagen 1969 Rear Load Beach Bomb prototype. Only two of these exist in the world. However, the impressive car collection is only half of the reason the room catches your breath. The 225 square-foot home office is a collector’s playground that pays homage to the history of Hot Wheels. Giant 24-foot orange race tracks zoom from the floor around the ceiling. A custom, glass jewelry-case desk and glass full-wall display are both perfectly crafted to accommodate Hot Wheels’ dimensions and display Pascals most prized cars. An original Paco Lane neon pop-art wall mural depicts a cartoon Hot Wheels race, charging energy through the space. The once standard home office is now a real life Hot Wheels lunch box scene capturing the imaginations of kids and adults alike. The office recently caught the attention of Washington Business Journal‘s “Cool Office” series too.
Pascal is highly selective about his Hot Wheels collection and spends his free time searching for the next “big” car. However, he is more than an expert on toy vehicles. Pascal has an extensive career in commercial real estate that spans nearly 30 years and is the SVP, Leasing for Vornado. He also has an appreciation for art and formerly owned a gallery in his 20s. Pascal’s unique life experiences and eye for detail and design let him trust his instincts. Just like Pascal’s sixth sense for spotting the perfect Hot Wheels, he chose Wingate Hughes on a feeling — a connection. “I had the confidence that Wingate Hughes would take this project seriously. Even though it would be one of their smallest jobs, it would still get their attention,” said Pascal. “I wanted their authentic feeling; and I particularly, specifically, chose Wingate Hughes even though I could have chosen anybody in the city.”
When people think of Hot Wheels, they typically think of two things, the cars and the tracks. If you speak to Pascal, he gets just as excited about the tracks as he does for his cars. When you walk into the room, the orange tracks take off towards you. “They’re sort of like the Academy Awards. Instead of having six inch statues, we have these six-foot monsters,” said Pascal. “Wingate Hughes was able to create these iconic tracks for my office — even mimic the connections — and thought of the detailed lighting. It’s not a normal room, it’s an extra-special room.”
Collecting Hot Wheels is a journey for Pascal. He’s met co-founder of Mattel Elliott Handler and his wife Ruth Handler, along with several of the original Hot Wheels toy makers. Pascal travels the country from trade show to toy executive office with his rare collection. Pascal and his rare Hot Wheels were featured in the New York Times and LA Times, and he’s appeared on the History Channel’s Pawn Stars and Extreme Collectors.
Despite all the years and successes with Pascal’s collection, commissioning Wingate Hughes was the first time he made a room of his own for his hobby. “For 27 years I’ve worked in commercial real estate, and this is the first time that I took the talent of architects to come and design something just like they would for their clients. Think about it,” said Pascal. “I wanted to go all out and say carte blanche. Whatever Wingate Hughes designed, I was going to build it whether they knew it or not. I had 100 percent trust in them. Every idea they presented, I was done.”
Most recently Pascal was connected to toy inventor Andy Musliner through the Washington Business Journal story featuring Pascal’s new home office. Pascal and Musliner are now partners on PlayTape, the newest line in Musliner’s InRoad Toys.
Photo courtesy of Hoachlander Davis Photography