August 9, 2018

The best companies are always on the hunt for brilliant, talented individuals—but when they’re specifically looking for people in the creative space, many of these businesses look to BIANCHI&Co. Centrally located in NoMad at 1123 Broadway, this boutique firm has carved out a niche in the executive search and recruitment industry by connecting growing businesses with the perfectly matched exceptional creative talent they need.

“My job is to help companies evolve,” says Anthony Bianchi, the firm’s founder and CEO. “I’m known in the industry as someone who can effect change through finding the person who is the perfect fit to help take the client to the next level.”

A Newer Company, Backed by a Legacy of Success

While BIANCHI&Co. has existed only since 2015, Anthony himself is no newcomer to the industry. He’s spent more than 20 years focused on professional recruitment in the creative space and was a pioneer in e-commerce and digital marketing sectors. His client list is long and impressive, with names that include AT&T, The Gap, Microsoft, Ralph Lauren, Sephora, MTV, Calvin Klein, Estee Lauder, L’Oréal and others. It comes as no surprise that it has taken very little time for BIANCHI&Co. to build an established clientele.

“My clients are really a mix of a lot of retail brands, a lot of fashion and beauty clients,” says Anthony, “as well as other brands that aren’t retail per se but do value creative. The challenge is to truly understand how to evaluate talent, to match the caliber of someone’s creative work to the aesthetic that is appropriate for each of my clients.”

Forming a Niche Within a Competitive Industry

Specialization has definitely been a key to the firm’s success as BIANCHI has developed a solid reputation for finding creative talent quickly, making them a “go-to” company for specific types of skills. “I’ve been doing this for so long that I have a lot of relationships within the industries in which I work,” says Anthony. “I have a large and strong network of talent that I’ve nurtured over the years.  So when we work on something, immediately we have people whom we know could be a perfect fit for our client.

“A lot of companies come to us looking to elevate the level of their creative work,” Anthony continued, “perhaps even to grow a discipline they did not have. One of the things I enjoy the most in my work is partnering with my clients on those kinds of challenges.”

Changing Technologies and the State of the Industry

Over the years, Anthony has seen the digital revolution cause huge changes within his industry, from online job searches/recruitment to the emergence of new types of creative roles. He sees these changes as largely positive, although they have certainly required an ability to adapt and re-think.

“I feel there is a stronger demand for search than ever,” he says. “However, there is a huge shift in the type of talent that companies are looking for. The move toward social media is greatly changing the way my clients engage with their customers. Instagram, especially, is especially where we’re seeing the biggest growth right now. Thus, many of my clients are specifically looking for talent who lean heavily toward social media skills.”

At Home in NoMad

Given the wealth of creative companies in the area, BIANCHI&Co. has found NoMad to be both convenient and strategic as a location for their offices. “My last office was located in a very nice area over in West Chelsea in the art gallery district,” says Anthony, “but it was just a little tougher for people to get over that far during the middle of their day. I like this location because it’s so central that it makes it easier for people to come into my office during their workday.”

Anthony says the overall aesthetic quality of 1123 Broadway is an asset too. “The building presents the firm nicely,” he says. “The fact that it’s a landmark building, that it’s kept up and preserved so well, and there’s so much respect for the history and the original architecture and design of this building, I think is really in line with my brand and the values that are important to me and my clients.”

BIANCHI&Co.

1123 Broadway, Suite 511

New York NY 10010

bianchiandco.com

(212) 414-8514
connect@bianchiandco.com

July 30, 2018

If you’ve spent any time in public or commercial spaces in New York City, you’ve likely encountered the handiwork of Zero-In without realizing it. From the digital menus at Shake Shack to the interactive directory screens in a myriad of office buildings, the free guest wi-fi that has become standard in so many hotels and retail establishments, and even the directories in the Kew Lobbies—Zero-In has taken a leading role over the past decade in changing the way companies communicate digitally and the way consumers interact with their messages. The Zero-In client list ranges from international brands like Chase, Equinox and Macy’s all the way to the local concept eatery down the street. In many respects, Zero-In is a neighborhood company with a global reach—and as you’ll soon see, it’s a company harboring a deep affinity for NYC in general and NoMad in particular.

We spoke recently with company founder Mitchell Goss about Zero-In’s beginnings, the company’s emergence into the technology sector, and the various ways his business has set its roots deeply into the NoMad community.

Could you begin by telling us a little about Zero-In itself—what you do and what your company is about?

We’re a creative digital agency that focuses on the creation of digital experiences for the real world—basically what people experience when they’re inside retail or public spaces. That includes anything you see, what you hear, and even connected devices. Most of us here in New York are familiar with Times Square or the little displays you’ve seen inside the elevators, or the TV screens inside taxi cabs. We work within that industry—digital displays, interactive screens, iPads, the music you hear in retail spaces, the guest wi-fi that you connect to once you’re inside a store, transit system, or shopping center. It brings together technology from all different perspectives. I work with our clients’ marketing departments to build the experiences that people see and hear, but we’re also an IT services management company as well as an audio-visual house.

You probably have plenty of opportunity to create interactive experiences in this space.

Yes. For example, here at Kew, when you walk inside the Kew Building, one of the first things you see is an interactive directory. It’s a touch screen that you see where you can search for the tenant that you’re looking for. You can type Z-E-R-O, and Zero-In pops up, and you can see what floor we’re on. Very highly functional.  Gets you the information you need right away.

But then we also do interactive wayfinding maps for clients like Brookfield Place downtown, where you walk up to a large screen, and if you’re trying to find Paul Smith, for example, it shows where the Paul Smith store is, it draws out  the route on the map showing how to get there, and it may pop up promotions or offers. It takes a lot of hardware, software, and engineering and design to centrally manage the content across these types of complex systems

Where does the content come from for these displays? Do you help create the content, do you contract with third parties, or do your clients provide the information?

It’s all of the above. We have an in-house design team that helps our clients create the graphic content — the images, video and motion graphics and imagery that you see on the screens. Our clients can also create their own content and schedule it themselves, or they can send it to us to schedule for them. Typically, it’s a hybrid solution where we’re creating some of the content and scheduling it, and we give our clients the ability to make their own changes.

So what initially got you started in this industry? How did it begin for you?

In the early to mid-2000s when we started, we really went into business to be a media company. The first thing we did was install digital displays in New York City tourist locations. So the first version of the company—you could almost call it Zero-In 1.0—was a media company that installed displays in public places like the Empire State Building, South Street Seaport and ferry terminals.  Where the tourists would be standing in line, we put in TVs and ran around selling advertising to all the hotels, Broadway shows, restaurants, museums, and all the other attractions around the city. We called it NYC Tourist TV, and that’s how we got into the business. Then about a decade ago, we got out of selling advertising as a business and really focused on being a technology provider. Now, we provide services to the ad industry, but we don’t sell the advertising ourselves.

What prompted that change for you?

I think, as a younger company, your focus changes sometimes. I think in the later 2000s, we realized that there was a very big opportunity when everything turned into cloud-based software, and everything was managed services. There was a huge demand for entities looking for these types of systems for their own in-house communication with their customers, members, or guests. So we kept getting requests by different verticals and organizations for this type of technology, and we realized that there was a really big opportunity for us to be a leading provider of these services from an agency and consulting perspective rather than just being in the advertising business.

Among your current clients or projects, do you have anything you’re particularly proud of?

We’re fortunate to operate throughout North America, pretty much all 50 states, many Canadian provinces—we have clients from Hawaii to Maine, Alaska and Florida—and now we are working more globally than ever before. But as you know, we’re in the Kew Building, we’re in the Flatiron Building, we’re part of the Madison Square Park Conservancy, we’re part of the NoMad Experience. We’re really proud to be New Yorkers and be part of the community and especially of NoMad and Madison Square Park. We love the fact that we can service New York City clients, and one of the really nice things about being where we are is that it’s almost like a showcase for our work.

So for example, we work with Equinox globally, but their headquarters is right down the street.  Crunch gyms is a client that we work a lot with in their gyms throughout North America with interactive screens, and they’re right down the street. We have Shake Shack—as you know, the original Shake Shack is in the park right here, and we do their digital menu boards. We have other clients that are right here on Broadway, like Little Beet and Melt Shop.  We’re about to launch a new project with End Pizza — they’re a growing popular brand with customized pizzas. We’re launching a project with Cava Grill in Bryant Park; we work with Raymour and Flannigan uptown; we do a substantial amount of work with Macy’s.  The list goes on and on with just New York City-based organizations, and we’re proud to work with all of them.

It feels like you have been able to establish yourself sort of as a neighborhood business as well as an international company.

You know, I truly believe that there’s no place I’d rather have my business in the world than in New York City, and no place in New York City I’d rather be than NoMad.

How long have you been in NoMad?

Five or six years. And it just gets more fun and more exciting all the time. It’s vibrant, you have fantastic restaurants, you have a great network and community of like-minded individuals.  I think it depends on the type of business you have, but if you’re media- and tech- related, this is a really fantastic place to be.

Zero-In

1123 Broadway, Suite #704

New York, New York 10010

Phone: 888.260.7291

Website: zero-in.com

July 16, 2018

For over 120 years the office doors in 1123 and 1133 Broadway have opened to some of the city’s most interesting businesses. That is no less true today, and one of the most interesting is Pryor-Johnson Rare Books in 1123 Broadway.

When you step through the door of 517, you’re in for a wondrous experience: a welcoming space set up as part shop, part library, complete with comfy chairs, elegant antique furnishings and even a liquor cabinet—from which, depending on the time of day, the proprietors may offer a glass of whiskey or brandy.

And of course, there are the shelves and cabinets full of amazing books you won’t find anywhere else.

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If you’re one of those people who imagine rare bookstores as dank, dusty places where you’re kindly advised not to touch anything, prepare to have your stereotypes shattered. Shop owner David Johnson and his associate Jonah Rosenberg are congenial hosts who invite guests to come in, sit down, relax, discuss fine works and peruse their collection of treasures—with supervision, but without apprehension. Delicate items are protected by mylar covers, and as Jonah points out, leather-bound books benefit from the oils on clean human hands.

“I think often what happens when people come in,” says Jonah, “is they say, ‘Oh, you know, these books are so lovely, but I’d be afraid to buy them because you can’t read them.’ And I just don’t think that’s true—you just have to reframe what you mean by read them. I have a book that I throw in my tote bag to read on the subway here.  Then, there are books that live on my shelf, and I read them when a friend, who’d be interested, comes over; or if I just want to look at something lovely, I’ll pull those down and read them.  I don’t think these books are sacred. We keep them behind glass because we have to dust them less. They can be used, and they want to be used.”

Awe-inspiring Treasures

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If you linger for more than a few minutes, you’re likely to get a tour, at which point Jonah or David (or both) will personally show you a few of the gallery’s most notable treasures—and be advised, their passion is contagious. In the hour or so we spent with them, we were shown (among many other items) first-edition autographed copies of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling and Infinite Jest by the late David Foster Wallace; a first-edition copy of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, signed both by the author and by his friend Carl Solomon, to whom the poem was dedicated; and a copy of the Tragedies of Seneca, currently the gallery’s oldest book. Most remarkably, as Jonah reads the Latin inscription in the Tragedies of Seneca, it reveals the exact day on which printing was completed: “Printed in Venice in 1505 in the month of September on the seventh day,” says Jonah. “So we can celebrate the book’s birthday.”

David and Jonah point out that rare and old are not the same thing. Many factors may determine the rarity of a book, including its condition, its edition, irregularities, who signed it, who owned it, authentification of its history, and hundreds of other possible variables.

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“It doesn’t just mean ‘old books’ because all of our books aren’t old,” says Jonah. “When you’re dealing with old books, the case [for rarity] makes itself. It’s been preserved, it’s original, it’s often in a very nice binding. But for modern books, what makes a book rare?  It’s about distinguishing between the content and the individuality of the object, which is sometimes a difficult distinction to draw. But I think once people get it, they really get it. And to be able to hold the book that was in Allen Ginsburg’s hand when he signed it, in Carl Solomon’s hand when he also signed it, and to know that they were maybe together at some point or that this person [who owned the book] knew both of them is just really quite extraordinary.”

Pryor-Johnson’s Journey to 1123

Pryor-Johnson Rare Books essentially began as a personal passion of David Johnson, who emigrated from England in the early 1960s and initially began his career in the States as a telecommunications engineer.

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“I started collecting examples of fine printing,” David explains. “I couldn’t afford much, so I started [collecting] printed ephemera, prospectuses for fine press [i.e., advertisements for soon-to-be-published works], and also English gardening books before 1800.  It’s a keen hobby of mine, and of course, it escalated and bloomed until it became bibliomania.”

Even though he had been collecting and selling for years, David says he didn’t become a full-time bookseller until 2014, when he was offered space as a tenant in the back room of Crawford Doyle, a bookshop then situated on Madison Avenue between 81st and 82nd Streets on the Upper East Side. After operating there for several years, David decided it would be best to move the shop away from street level, to the fifth-floor suite where the shop lives today.

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“When we were up at Crawford Doyle, lovely as it was, it was open to the street,” Jonah explains. “We were a block from the Metropolitan Museum, so we got a lot of traffic, but it was generic traffic. [People] wandered around, and there was a sign that said, ‘More books this way,’ and they were going from an ordinary book shop where everything was $10 or $15, and then coming into our bookshop. They’d take a book off the shelf and say, ‘Oh my God, why is this $200?’ We weren’t in our target market. So our day-to-day work, which is cataloguing, was interrupted dozens of times a day. When we decided to move, we wanted to move to a closed space and not street-facing.  The benefit of being here is that we have peace and quiet when we want it, but it’s accessible to anyone who wants to visit.”

Rare Books in an Internet World

Today, Pryor-Johnson Rare Books sits in the heart of NoMad, where visitors can drop in whenever the door is open. “Strictly speaking, our hours are by chance and by appointment,” says Jonah. “Even though we’re [usually] here Monday to Saturday, 11 to 6, often we’re off at a preview for an auction or looking at a collection or what have you.”

In an age where technology is changing the way so many industries do business, both David and Jonah admit the rare book business has been affected dramatically. Still, they have found ways to adapt, both to utilize the Internet for selling and to compensate for the challenges it presents.

“We only pretend to be luddites,” Jonah quips. “We sell online, we sell through our own website, we sell through AbeBooks, we have an Instagram. To my mind, the bigger effect is the generational gap of people who have never gotten into a bookshop. I think something David and I see very much eye to eye on is a sort of educational mandate. We need to educate our customer in a way that our predecessors perhaps didn’t have to. We have to explain to people, without judgment or condescension—we have this stuff; let us show you why it’s so cool.  As sellers of a distinctly physical object, it’s about making the case to people that this is not equivalent to a PDF of the same thing.”

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Pryor-Johnson Rare Books, NoMad and A Gilded Age Building

For David and Jonah, the decision to relocate the shop to NoMad last year was a natural choice for a number of reasons. “We’re surrounded by eight subway lines,” says Jonah. “The thing about this neighborhood is that because it’s younger and more creative than the Upper East Side, this is closer to our target demographic. We have the sort of people who have historically been book buyers. We have architects, psychologists, and writers — people who appreciate the printed matter of their field of interest.”

Aside from business reasons, the pair also acknowledge that moving to 1123 Broadway carries a strong sense of meaning, as much for the literary history of NoMad as for the building itself.

“One of the great private libraries, the Morgan Library, actually sits at the top of NoMad,” says Jonah. “This neighborhood is certainly a literary neighborhood. Lots of books take place here. Here’s a good example.” (He pulls out a book.) “Time and Again by Jack Finney. [The characters] are constantly walking through Madison Square Park, and they walk past our building. They walk past the Flatiron Building, they walk past the brand-new New York Life Building, that sort of thing. So this neighborhood is part of the literary heritage of New York in quite a serious way.

“Maybe it’s even too basic to mention,” he adds, “but when we sell old books, being in an older building, especially one such as this that has such character, you know, mosaic floors, the beautiful marble and cast-iron stairwells. It sort of sets us in context; we make sense in this building.”

Pryor-Johnson Rare Books
1123 Broadway, Suite 517
New York, NY 10010

Phone: 212-452-1990
https://www.pryorjohnsonrarebooks.com
Hours: “By appointment or by accident”
Email: info@pryorjohnsonrarebooks.com

June 20, 2018

Independent ad agency Terri & Sandy was founded in 2010 with one goal in mind: To provide a more personable take on the big-agency world. Stepping away from over 20 years of Madison Avenue experience, founders Terri Meyer and Sandy Greenberg have created a company dedicated to hard work and strong client relationships. Their years in the industry have prepped them with big agency rigor, but their approach to clients and staff offers a personal touch. The magenta walls and open floor plan of their NoMad office provide the perfect backdrop to positive company culture and teamwork.

“Clients say that when they walk in, they just think it feels really good in here,” says agency co-founder Terri Meyer. “People really like coming to work.”

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Accomplished Past

The welcoming nature of the company’s image does not distract from their ability to deliver results. Recipient of Ad Age’s Small Agency of the Year Award in 2017, Terri & Sandy went from $8 million to $13.6 million in revenue between 2015 and 2016, and about $19 million by the end of 2017. Their clients include names like Gerber, Disney, Peeps, Avon, and People, and their work has been featured on CNN, Conan, The View, Today, Fox News, Access Hollywood, and TBS Funniest Commercials. It is clear that while this woman-owned company keeps a staff of just under 50 employees, the scope of their accomplishments is anything but small. 

Founding

Having teamed up early in their careers, Meyer and Greenberg had already experienced great success together before opening their own firm.  The pair worked at different times with industry giants such as Mars, Kraft, Campbell’s, Nestlé, Oreo and Time, Inc., among others. But gradually they began to feel a lack of compatibility within the walls of the large company where they worked.

“Clients had been telling us for a long time that we should go off on our own,” Meyer says. “We sort of had an agency within an agency.  We had our group, we had our businesses, and we had our clients.”

The final push to start their own company came during the recession, when Meyer and Goldberg felt they could no longer do right by their clients in their current situation. “There were so many politics in the big agency world,” says Meyer. “Some creative directors would just kill stuff because they could, not because there was a reason to.”

The result: Terri & Sandy was formed in 2010 on Terri’s living room couch. Since those early beginnings, the company staff has grown by nearly 500%, and eight years later, five of the original seven employees are still with the agency.

“Everybody takes pride in their piece of what they do,” Meyer says. “Cultures are created from the top, and I would have to say we don’t have any politics, which is a miracle.”

The Work

The key to Terri & Sandy’s success, Meyer believes, is in the relationships the agency has with clients. “Every client here today, with the exception of one,” she says, “came from a prior relationship. When you have mutual success with people, they know that they will have it again.”

This special relationship differs from big agencies, because Meyer and Greenberg are the final decision makers behind every advertisement the company creates. “One of our promises is when you buy Terri & Sandy, you get Terri & Sandy,” Meyer said. “We laugh because the president of a big agency may come by once a year to grab a ham sandwich at a meeting.”

However, don’t be deceived by the company’s small size; for being a relatively small fish in a huge ad-agency pond, this agency definitely knows how to make waves. Terri & Sandy’s creative teams are behind some of the most heartwarming and effective campaigns on television, radio, social media and print—from putting FreshPet on the map to revitalizing the iconic Gerber baby brand for the Millennial generation. When People magazine — struggling to reconnect with readers in a day of instant online communication — approached them, the team launched a social media campaign that exceeded every benchmark and turned the magazine’s sales around. And last June, when Terri & Sandy were tasked with shaking up Avon’s image, their hugely successful “Boss Life” campaign breathed new life into the brand with its message of women empowerment through entrepreneurship.

With its current clientele, Terri & Sandy chooses to focus only on projects that align with the firm’s collective mission and values. “Clearly everyone wants to make money,” Meyer says, “but it is not the bottom line. We say ‘no’ to things if we do not feel like they are right for us.”

Social Consciousness

While Terri & Sandy is incredibly busy meeting the needs of high paying clients, it is perhaps most proud of the social work it’s done such as that for “Strands for Trans,” a nonprofit initiative working to provide transgender people with a safe salon to get haircuts. “We met all of these trans people, and their stories were similar,” says Meyer. “There was no safe place to go. They never felt comfortable having anyone touch their hair.”

The agency partnered with JP Gomez of the famous men’s salon Barba to start the nationwide initiative. The campaign began with a video advertisement.   “We did a video that was barber shop poles,” Meyer explained, “and it has a track going over it with all of these news stories about how trans people don’t feel comfortable.  At the end, we change the colors of the barber shop pole to pink, blue and white – the colors of the trans flag.”

For Pride Week, Terri & Sandy came up with the idea to dye hair with the colors of the trans flag. “We did a video of all the people with their hair dyed to show support,” Meyer said.  “Marc Jacobs, the fashion designer, got involved.  He came in to get his hair colored, and he did a video. We got so much press.”

Since the campaign, over 150 salons across the nation have signed on to Strands for Trans and  have placed a sticker in their window, letting transgender clients know they have found a safe place.  “We have five more states to go, and we will have the whole country,” Meyer said.  “So many people donated their time, which is the most meaningful thing.”

The Future of Independent Agencies

While Terri & Sandy may be working with a smaller staff than the big firms on Madison Avenue, its successful track record and returning clientele demonstrate that the future of advertising may very well lie within independent agencies.

“I think people are getting sick of being in the big agency world,” Meyer said.  “Employees are not treated well, and clients are sick of not getting personal attention. We have pitched against the best agencies in the world and won — sometimes twice.”

June 14, 2018

Founded in 2003, Open House New York (OHNY) is a nonprofit civic organization dedicated to connecting the public with New York City’s rich architectural heritage through a variety of events and programs. The organization’s biggest annual event, Open House New York Weekend, opens the door for architecture enthusiasts around the world to explore buildings usually closed off to the public. Originally inspired by the very first Open House organization in London, organization founder Scott Lauer began OHNY when he realized how easily Open House Weekend could be replicated in New York. Since then, Open House organizations have spread rapidly through metropolitan cities across the globe. Besides Open House Weekend, OHNY puts on additional programs throughout the year, including educational sessions on urban systems and a city-wide scavenger hunt. The overarching goal of these programs is to educate the public about the importance role architecture and design play in the shaping of a city, and particularly how our relationship to these elements have helped shape NYC into a vibrant place to live, work and learn.

We sat down to talk with Gregory Wessner, the Executive Director of OHNY, about his organization’s programming, the importance of understanding the built city and the future of architecture in NYC.

***** 

What did the early days of this organization look like?

I wasn’t here at that time, so I’m speaking second-hand, but the planning for the first Open House Weekend, which was inspired by an event that happens every year in London, took place the summer before 9/11.  I think a key point about the development of Open House New York was that the planning really happened in the months and years after September 11th. The first weekend event was in 2003. New York at that time was a city of security and lockdown and very closed off.  Open House weekend was a reminder of the value of openness and access and giving the public and New Yorkers access to the city.  It was an important event specifically to New York at that time—different than London, which was just celebrating architecture and buildings.  For New York, it was a real reminder about the deeper meaning of being in a city.

Was New York picked to be the second city?

It wasn’t picked. In every city that has happened since, it is initiated from within the city.  London started the initiative, and there was no intention of it ever going anywhere but London.  There was a woman in London that had the idea and started the event, but there was a guy named Scott Lauer who is an American living and working in London that volunteered for Open House London.  He moved back to New York in the summer of 2001.  He went to a bunch of organizations and said, “There is this great event that happens every year in London, and we should do something like that in New York.”  All of those organizations said, “Yes, this is a great event, you should do it.” And so, he started the planning, and that is how it happened. I think once people around the world saw that the idea could happen somewhere else and that the model of a one-weekend-a-year event could be exported, New York became an example of “Oh, we could do that too.”

How does OHNY work with other branches around the world?

Every city is completely independent.  There is a shared set of values and we occasionally communicate and trade horror stories and support for one another, but there is no formal relationship.

What does the OHNY staff and board look like today?

Everyone associated with Open House loves New York. There is a real passion for the city.  A lot of the people have a background in either architecture or urban studies or some kind of related field.  Our staff is small; we are only four people, but we have a board of 22 people. It is a mix of architects and developers and other cultural figures. The board’s role is to provide guidance and long term vision as well as general fundraising and oversight.

Why does OHNY believe it is important for someone not involved with architecture as a career to know about architecture in New York? 

We don’t have a choice—we exist in a built city.  We live in homes, we go to work in offices or in factories or in schools. Every aspect of our daily life is shaped by the built environment. It is something that none of us can escape. We all share it together. Whether the city functions well or poorly, it’s really the responsibility of all of us to pay attention and advocate for better design and better facilities. The more each of us know about how a city is made, the better off we all are.

Tell us about your recent Urban Systems series of events. How do these help your mission?

I think when people talk about architecture, they think of grand and beautiful buildings. What we are really interested in is looking at architecture in its broadest sense, which is the constructed city. A lot of construction comes from places that support our lives day-to-day, like manufacturing facilities that create jobs or provide products that we use, or our food system.  We have to feed 8.5 million, as [well as] millions of people that are visiting on a daily basis. All of that food has to be managed and produced and consumed and distributed. That requires space. The urban systems series is really looking at aspects of the city that may escape our attention because they aren’t the beautiful buildings we think of when we think about Capital A architecture. They are, in many ways, more important. They provide jobs and provide sustenance.

Would you walk us through what we would experience at an OHNY weekend?

Everyone has a different approach to our weekends.  Depending on your interests, there really is something for everybody. It really depends on what your individual interests are, and how much stamina you have. You can spend two full days going around all five boroughs and seeing as much as you can handle.  Generally, I think what is really wonderful about it is that it gets people out to see parts of the city that they have never seen before.

How do you solicit support?

Like all non-profits, every year is a scrambling to put together our funding from lots of different sources. We have a pretty diverse funding stream that includes public support from the federal, state, and city governments. If you put those three together, that would be our single largest supporter. We do special events and fundraising benefits for which hundreds of New Yorkers buy tickets. This represents another major portion of our funds. There are individuals who love New York and believe in our mission who will support us with private donations.

Is there a favorite part of New York for you?

I don’t know that there is a favorite part. I love those moments of going someplace new and thinking “I can’t believe I am still in New York City”.  We did a tour of Dead Horse Bay, which is part of Gateway National Recreation Area. It is a former landfill that is sort of failing. The garbage is spilling out. If you did not pay attention to the garbage that was all over the beach, you might have thought you were on Long Island Sound or in the Hamptons. If you turned around, you saw the skyline in the distance. I love those moments when one can see the contrast between Midtown Manhattan and somewhere else. More conventionally, I love all of New York’s parks: Brooklyn Bridge Park, Hudson River Park, Central Park, and Madison Square Park. Having places where you can get a break from street life is really wonderful.

Do you have a favorite building?

I am a huge fan of contemporary architecture. I love all of the new buildings that have been going up. It gives the city energy, and it defines this moment in time so that, 100 years from now, future New Yorkers will look back and remember what we left for them.

What advice would you give to someone interested in architecture?

Come to Open House New York. If you have an interest in architecture, urban planning, urban design, or New York, one of the most important things is getting the experience of architecture. A lot of people will read books and magazines and go to lectures, but architecture is a 3-dimensional art form, and one really needs to experience it.

July 25, 2017

From his 1133 Broadway office, four floors up from the sidewalks of NoMad, Barry Goralnick has a bird’s eye view of the city he says inspires him. “Have you ever looked at the façade of this this building, and the surrounding buildings?” Barry said on a recent visit to his office, “they are absolutely beautiful.” He finds inspiration everywhere, because he looks at it with a broad humanistic eye. This eye has helped in all aspects of his work – from light fixtures inspired by stairway railings to interior designs based off of vintage store finds.  The city in which he resides and the places he travels are the muse for his career.

Widely Accomplished

Goralnick is an architect, interior designer, product designer, and lecturer, and theater producer. His lengthy job description and unique ability to create timeless designs have brought him great success. He works alongside a small team to create beautiful interiors and homes, as well as products — ranging from lighting to furniture, carpet and fabrics (fabrics not official yet) — that are manufactured by some of the leading home furnishing companies in the country.   For his product designs, he has won the “Best of Year Award” and has been nominated several years running for Innovation Awards. He also has a coveted spot in Rizzoli’s highly regarded Interior Design Master Class edited by Carl Dellatore. Perhaps most impressive beyond all this is Goralnick’s welcomed ability to describe complex design theories and numerous successes in a simple, humble way.

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The Influences of a Broad Education

A graduate of Brandeis University with a Bachelor’s of Arts, with a degrees in English Literature and Fine Art before heading to Harvard University for a Master of Architecture, Goralnick strongly supports liberal arts education in schools.  “I studied literature, history, science, and I used to paint,” Goralnick said. “I encourage young people to study liberal arts first.  You need to be a deeper person and learn about as much as possible.  When I went to grad school, there were people like me and then there were people that had spent their whole life just  studying architecture.  The more you know about the world, the more you bring to your designs”

He cites the instructors he had along the way as some of his biggest influences. “I had amazing teachers,” Barry said. “When I was an undergraduate, I was the only one in my class who went to architecture school; we weren’t geared towards that.   But I had an architecture history teacher; he was just wonderful,. and he inspired me to choose my path” At Harvard I was lucky to study with Frank Gehry, Neil McKinnell, Fred Koetter and be critiqued by Philip Johnson, Charles Gwathmey, and Harry Cobb of I. M. Pei and Partners.

Barry has not stopped learning. Today, he considers Jim Druckman, president and CEO of the New York Design Center at 200 Lexington Avenue, to be one of his greatest  influences. “He has mentored many of New York’s top designers, Barry said. The two met when Druckman hosted a design competition requiring the creation of a new furniture or lighting piece. Barry entered a table and a light fixture and both were winning designs.  He credits the beginning of his success in product design as a result of this competition twenty years ago.    

For this reason, Barry has taken it upon himself to help aspiring designers. “I try to give back by lecturing to students,” he said.  He has spoken at high profile design schools such as Parsons School of Design, Pratt Institute, the New School, and New York University, as well as at NEOCON in Chicago.

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What is Blended Modern?

While he is working to secure the future of design by assisting the next generation of designers, he is also changing the way design is viewed today. The tagline of Barry Goralnick Architecture & Design  is “Blended Modern,” indicating a style which Barry describes as neither classic nor uber futuristic, but rather a look with familiarity and some 50s and 60s inspiration.  The idea came about when he discovered an ambiguity in the projects he was designing.  “Sometimes a client will say ‘I love my room,’ and a friend will ask me what style it is,” Barry said.  “It’s not really any one particular style. It is an amalgam of different eras.  It is putting together things in unexpected ways.  It is your own personal style.  It is Blended Modern.”

Barry went on to explain the importance of Blended Modern in his own career and the unique way it fits into the market. “When I started designing product I realized that there were a lot of people with a very set style. I felt that there was a place in the middle where we could design things that work well with other styles; Blended Modern came out of that.”

The Blended Modern concept becomes crystal clear to anyone stepping into Barry’s office.  No clear theme can be assigned to the room, but it flows effortlessly.  Vibrant colors pop throughout the room, from purple chairs sitting against dark wood floors to a bold orange lamp.  Chandeliers from his own line hang from the ceiling, subtly drawing together the entire room.  Past and future design projects are seen in sketches, mood boards and fabric swatches hanging from the walls. The beauty in the work is his ability to assemble these disparate pieces into a common theme, which might otherwise be invisible to others.

Along with being a showroom for the blended modern style, Barry’s office highlights his favorite thing about design work: its tangible result.  “The thing that excites me most about everything that I do is to be able to produce tangible things that spring from your imagination ,” he said. “You come up with ideas and put them on paper, and then, you have a reality. When you’re an architect or designer, you can actually walk around inside your design.That is always thrilling”

Product Design

Currently, Barry has partnerships with name brands such as Circa Lighting, Ferrell + Mittman Furniture, Stark Carpets, Vanguard Furniture, Kichler Lighting, and design a line of bespoke furniture and lighting.  “When I started doing interiors, there were always pieces I wanted that didn’t exist, so I started designing them,” Barry said.  His business shifts between the work he does designing homes and interiors and the work he does designing product lines for his partnerships. Product design, he describes, is not as easy as his friends believe it to be. “The process is finding the best companies to design for,” Goralnick explained.  “Then  there are contracts, presentations, editing the line, going back and forth approving prototypes   Then you go to Markets, and design your own showroom space.  You meet retailers and train the sales staff.  And I travel around the country meeting and lecturing to designers, editors, and the end-users.  Nobody understands the amount of work there is in product design unless they do it.”

He takes great joy in seeing others use the products he has designed. “The most exciting thing about doing this for me is seeing the way others incorporate my pieces,” he said. “I recently met this woman at a design conference who said ‘I just used your sofa in a living room’ and she sent me a picture.  It was gorgeous.

His Psychology of Design

The importance Barry places on the relationship he shares with the companies that he designs for is similar to that of his own clients. As seen in his article in Rizzoli’s Interior Design Master Class, he believes the relationship he has with is clients his more similar to that of psychiatrist to patient. “When we meet clients, it is almost like a session,” Barry said.  “You are going to be spending a year or two talking all of the time.. You are designing their bedrooms and spaces they work in.  You get to know people and their families intimately. 

He believes some of the easiest people he has designed for have been actors and actresses, because they understand the amount of training he has in his craft.  It comes as no surprise that many of his clients are stars of the theatre and film.  “Successful people who are actors are very secure and easy to work with,” he said.  “They are artists too, which is great.”

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Outside the Office

Barry’s love for actors goes beyond his design business. He is an avid fan of the theatre and produces plays and musicals. He is capable of recommending and reciting a summary of virtually all past and present Broadway shows to date.

Another way he fills his time outside of work is with the blog he writes for his website “at home, from six to nine o’clock in the morning.” He chronicles everything from hidden gems in the city to revolutions within the interior design industry, and occasionally, he even writes about his own upcoming work or the use of his products in other design styles.  

Between the “Blended Modern” style and his various product lines, Barry’s ideas are quickly spreading throughout the industry. His career is seemingly unstoppable and his work in molding the generations of designers to come is only furthering his influence.  While the reach of his work has extended far beyond the island of Manhattan, luckily for us, the man himself can be found in his NoMad office – showing us the wonderful details of the city we might fail to see and be enriched by, through his window and his work.

July 30, 2015

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Watch now on YouTube

William Reue Architecture has been a Kew tenant for seven years.  During that time, the firm’s work has gained acclaim from critics, and in recent years, the firm’s reputation has been growing exponentially. William Reue, founder and principal of the firm, is not only a fine architect but a thoughtful, creative person who’s always looking for innovative ways to address challenges.

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The firm’s latest work is a gorgeous townhouse project in the West Village here in New York.  It is a beautiful design with stunningly simple lines and replete with grace and light.

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Typically, architects present new projects in “airless” photographs where the rooms barely seem like they could have been or will ever be inhabited. Reue wanted a way to highlight the dynamic beauty of the new townhouse. His solution is astoundingly innovative.  The firm commissioned an evocative dance to be choreographed, performed and videotaped in the space — a piece that would bring the space to life, suggest the drama of the life of future inhabitants, and brings us a richer experience of the space itself.

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Entitled “Elevation – A Ballet Exploration of an Architectural Space,”  this film is unique in its combination of architecture, dance, film, and music. To pull it off, William Reue Architecture collaborated with choreographer Sean Roschman, whose body of work includes commissions by Cirque Du Soleil’s onedrop.org and Lady Gaga’s ARTRave New York Fashion Week, to create an original dance that was performed by Jon Cooper, Megan Dickinson, and Oscar Carrillo.

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The video was directed by Brandon Bloch, a commercial filmmaker based in Brooklyn who was supported by a small but talented team including Tim Sessler as Director of Photography. The soundtrack – called “Iguazu” – was created by Hays Holladay, an experimental musician based in Los Angeles whose work is often informed by physical spaces.

The resulting four-minute video is quite moving.  It is sexy, seductive, and fueled by the athleticism of the dancers. Take a look on YouTube.

April 20, 2015

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Prong’s mission is to design and manufacture electronic device accessories that simplify your life. No cords necessary.

In 2012, Lloyd Gladstone and Jesse Pliner created Prong’s flagship product, PocketPlug, It was the world’s first mobile phone case that plugs right into the wall, eliminating the need for traditional phone chargers. The innovative invention was praised by publications such as The New York Times, Washington Post, CNET, Gizmodo and Engadget.

In 2015, Prong introduced the PWR Case, which features a detachable battery and built-in plugs. The PWR Case not only provides up to 100% more battery power, it untethers people from outlets; when you need to recharge, you can plug in the case and keep the phone with you.  

To read more about Prong’s dedication to detail, its commitment to the highest quality products and rave reviews of its products, visit the company’s website.

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How did your company start?

Like so many entrepreneurs, we had never invented anything. One day we were hanging out and Jesse’s phone died. He didn’t have his charger with him, so he was basically stuck without a phone for the rest of the night. We got to talking about how annoying it is that people feel compelled to carry their phone chargers with them just in case their phone dies. That’s when we had an idea: why not build a charger into the phone case? Prong was born.

 

Describe your company in three words.

Mobile accessory manufacturer.

 

Why did you choose to be in the NoMad District?

Our company mascot, Griffin, really likes the doggy park at Madison Square Park.

 

How does the neighborhood influence how you do business?

The central location allows us to be in convenient proximity to the other startups with whom we work.

 

What are some of your favorite spots to decompress after work?

We love Beecher’s Cheese and Flatiron Hall.

 

Where’s your go-to for morning coffee?

Starbucks… as long they spell our names right.

 

What’s been your favorite installation in Madison Square Park?

We were really digging Paula Hayes’s Gazing Globes – it was so cool to see at night!

 

What’s your favorite menu item at Shake Shack?

When the line is short, we’ll eat anything!

 

Read our previous Tenant Spotlight on William Reue Architecture.

April 9, 2015

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William Reue Architecture is an award-winning design firm that has completed a range of residential, commercial and institutional projects. The firm’s portfolio includes renovations of brownstones and townhouses, commercial spaces and landmark buildings in New York City and the surrounding area.

In 2013, William Reue Architecture won the High Honors Design Award from the AIA Westchester Hudson Valley for the project A House In The Woods.  The house was described by Architectural  Record:  “With its green technologies and warm palette, the house fits into its forested landscape while minimizing its environmental footprint.

Learn more about William Reue Architecture.

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How did your company start?

We started in 2006 after I returned to NYC from teaching architecture in Africa. The firm started quite organically from a few small freelance projects. Within a year, we had calls for larger projects — townhouse renovations, large apartments, summer homes, and some interesting commercial work. We were super lucky to have great clients who trusted us.

 

Describe your company in three words.

Optimistic, thoughtful, innovative.

 

Why did you choose to be in the NoMad District?

We wanted to work in a neighborhood in Manhattan that was being rediscovered. A lot of new cool things were happening in NoMad at the time, and we wanted the business to benefit from that energy. Plus, it’s such a joy seeing the Flatiron Building from our office window.

 

How does the neighborhood influence how you do business?

NoMad is a convenient commute from nearly anywhere in the city, so it is easy for our clients to find us. We are also close to a wide range of trades and suppliers that we deal with nearly every day. There is tremendous benefit being located in the heart of Manhattan.

 

What are some of your favorite spots to decompress after work?

You can never go wrong at Gramercy Tavern. It is a five minute walk from the office and they have the best cocktail menu in town.

 

Where’s your go-to for morning coffee?

The super-friendly guys at the Starbucks on the corner of 26th and Broadway are the best.

 

What’s been your favorite installation in Madison Square Park?

Anthony Gormley’s cast iron human figures rank at the top of the list with Jaume Plensa’s “Echo” as a very close second. Both were incredible.

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April 1, 2015

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Faye Armon-Troncoso is the first and only props/set dresser to have ever won an Obie Award. Faye specializes in building and finding props, set dressing and special effects, including fake blood.

Her Broadway credits include Fun Home, The River, Of Mice and Men, Macbeth, Testament of Mary, Golden Boy, Clybourne Park, Warhorse, Merchant of Venice, Enron and Seascape. Faye won an Obie in 2004 for the Off-Broadway production of BUG, by Tracy Letts.

Learn more about Faye’s work on her website.

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How did your company start?

In 1996, I first started doing props Off-Off-Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theatre in the West Village as a freelance prop designer and set dresser. Like most people back then — I didn’t know that my responsibilities were to provide everything that the actor touches, all the furniture, any special effects, and all the set dressing!  I’ve been doing props ever since around town and now with Fun Home on Broadway and Mystery of Love & Sex at Lincoln Center Theater.

 

Describe your company in three words.

Creative, experienced, and fantastic!

 

Why did you choose to be in the NoMad District?

The NoMad District is the absolute best for my business!  Right next to the flea market on the weekends, floral district, Home Depot, my Broadway theaters, and Madison Square Park — I love this hood!  I would live here!

 

How does the neighborhood influence how you do business?

The neighborhood lets me do what I need to do — when I need to do it.  I never have problems in this part of town.  During the week, I can get cabs, and on the weekends, I can pull up right in front of the building and drop items off to my studio.  It’s very convenient for my clients to stop by as well.

 

What are some of your favorite spots to decompress after work?

I like going to Hill Country and get my BBQ and beer on!  Fridays: I love to head over to Fairway — grab some groceries then head over to the Latin American Restaurant, 29 West 26th Street for some Latin food.  Then, go home to my husband David and Boston Terrier Bella.

 

Where’s your go-to for morning coffee?

Starbucks — right on the corner!

 

What’s been your favorite installation in Madison Square Park?

Ivan Navarro’s: This Land is Your Land — I just loved those little water towers!

 

What’s your favorite menu item at Shake Shack?

The Shackburger with cheese is out of this world!

March 27, 2015

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We had the pleasure of sitting down with Terri Meyer of The Terri & Sandy Solution for another Kew Tenant Spotlight.

After 25 years in big Madison Avenue agencies, Creative Directors Terri Meyer and Sandy Greenberg created The Terri & Sandy Solution in order to bring clients the best branding in faster, more cost-efficient ways. They have worked with brands such as Kraft, Nestle, Gerber, Oreo and more, winning six EFFIE Awards along the way.

Last year, The Terri & Sandy Solution was featured in the New York Times for their pro-bono ad campaign for The Bridges Academy, a school dedicated to educating academically gifted students who have learning disabilities. Terri and Sandy designed the campaign around historically great figures with learning disabilities, such as Leonardo DaVinci and Jane Austen.

For more about The Terri & Sandy Solution, visit their website.

 

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How did your company start?  

At the urging of our clients, my best friend and creative partner [Sandy Greenberg] and I left the world of big advertising agencies and started our own company. We had a fervent mission in mind: to bring brand-igniting communication platforms to clients in faster, smarter, more cost-efficient ways.

 

Describe your company in three words.

Loud, Strategic, and Magenta.

 

Why did you choose to be in the NoMad District?

We’ve always loved this neighborhood. We’ve got access to Madison Square Park and the Flatiron Building is right down the street. We can swing by Eataly whenever we feel like it. Above all though, we love the community of people who also work around here. I personally cannot wait for Rizzoli to be in the building, although I’ll more than likely be turning over my paychecks to them.

 

How does the neighborhood influence how you do business?  

Almost all of our favorite places to take clients are nearby. For breakfast it’s the NoMad Hotel. They are wonderful there and have “our table” waiting for us every time we go in.  We’ll often bring gelato into the office from Eataly (and send our out-of-town clients there to visit), and we have our office lunches catered by Wichcraft or Schnippers.

 

What are some of your favorite spots to decompress after work?  

Love the bar at NoMad, the coffee bar at the Ace Hotel, Maysville across the street and Hill Country when I feel like honky-tonking.

 

Where’s your go-to for morning coffee?

Eataly. Hot or cold, they have one of the best cups of coffee in New York.

 

What’s been your favorite installation in Madison Square Park?  

Leo Villareal’s BUCKYBALL was stunning. Gave us all an excuse to work a little later just so you could see it in the dark.

 

What’s your favorite menu item at Shake Shack?

Definitely the milkshake.

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March 24, 2015

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Kew is extraordinarily proud of the vision and talent of our tenants. Juan Matiz and Sara Matiz of Matiz Architecture & Design (MAD) sat down with us to discuss the innovative design work that MAD does and the firm’s 13-year relationship with the NoMad neighborhood.

Matiz Architecture & Design (MAD) was founded in 2002 by husband and wife team Juan and Sara Matiz. Based in the NoMad neighborhood since its inception, MAD has developed into a diverse “360-degree architecture and design studio.”

The philosophy behind all of MAD’s work is that design is an integrated and cross-disciplined process. The firm integrates architectural projects with its branding and design related work. MAD believes there are a few key ingredients for its clients’ success: extraordinary ideas, creative experimentation, strategic design, multidisciplinary talent and environmental sustainability.

Due to its versatility, MAD has a portfolio of work for a wide variety of national and international clients, including residences, corporate offices, retail spaces and exhibitions. Among MAD’s clients are New York University, Pratt Institute, The Santa Fe Opera, The Boy and Girls Club of America, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Planned Parenthood and innovative startups like Etsy, Dailymotion and OkCupid.

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How did your company start?

We started our company in 2002 in the Flatiron Building following the dream of setting up a truly 360 degree design firm in New York City. After 13 years, we are a group of 16 talented professionals with different design backgrounds (architects, interior designers, graphic designers, products designer and brand strategists).

 

Describe your company in three words.

Multidisciplinary. Creative. Problem-solving.

 

Why did you choose to be in the NoMad District?

We have been in the NoMad area for 13 years. We choose this neighborhood for its strong architectural presence (i.e. Madison Square Park) and the best design showrooms in town – and we stayed for the memorable food!

 

How does the neighborhood influence how you do business?

NoMad offers lots of inspirations all around, from its innovative commercial spaces to the amazing artwork displayed every seasons in the Park. For a designer it is the perfect spot, in the middle of it all (major design showrooms are walking distance from our office). It is also the place where lots of our “startup” clients are (Dailymotion, StrawberryFrog). As designers we enjoy coming to work here. [NoMad gives us] the opportunity to thrive, feel constantly engaged with other creative fields, and be happy — both at work and after work.

 

What are some of your favorite spots to decompress after work?

Live Bait, Eataly Birreria, NoMad Hotel Bar.

 

Where’s your go-to for morning coffee?

We have a few Italians here – Eataly is the only Italian-approved coffee around.

 

What’s been your favorite installation in Madison Square Park?

The Buckyball illuminated at night and Echo for sure! Amazing!

 

What’s your favorite menu item at Shake Shack?

Concrete Shake and Vanilla Shake

 

To learn more about Matiz Architecture & Design, visit their website.