NYC’s Top 10 Commercial Interior Design Firms of 2018

MKDA was ranked one of Commercial Observer’s Top 10 Commercial Interior Deisgn Firms of 2018


Number of projects: 323

Total square footage of projects: 2.2 million

Revenue from projects: $13.5 million


For Michael Kleinberg, the president of family-owned architecture and interior design firm MKDA, it’s all about relationships. “If a client wants to see me at 9 p.m. tonight, I’ll see them, because that’s what you do for a client, and they’ll remember it,” he said. “It’s a tough industry, but the value is when you see you have satisfied clients, and you have a project that looks good and leads to other projects.”

Founded in 1959, MKDA now has three offices, one each in New York, Stamford, Conn. and Miami—and while the 12-member Miami studio has begun to dabble in base building work, it is the 40-member New York City office, entirely devoted to commercial interiors, that continues to bring home the bacon. Since the beginning of last year, MKDA says that it has more than 320 New York City projects either completed or in the works, and the firm is well-established in the city as one of the go-to outfits for both landlords and tenants on the hunt for new digs.

Notable recent projects include investment firm Winton Capital Management’s 35,000-square-foot duplex office at the top of 315 Park Avenue South, at which MKDA sought to couple a loft-like, industrial aesthetic with a sheen worthy of a financial services firm. MKDA also handled major law firm Hodgson Russ’ new 20,000-square-foot space at 605 Third Avenue, and for another legal client—personal injury firm Morgan & Morgan—designed an uncharacteristically funky, 17,000-square-foot outpost in Sunset Park.

On the landlord front, the interior design firm recently did prebuilts at Equity Office’s 44 Wall Street in the Financial District. At that property and others that MKDA works on for property owners, Kleinberg said the emphasis is on designing something that gives the building a unique sense of place.

“The tenant has to remember something about a building, and that’s up to us,” he said. “What can you come out with that differentiates this building as 44 Wall?”

Other than relationships, Kleinberg said the key to making it in the cutthroat world of commercial interior design is “staying power.”

“Everything, for us, is for the long term; there are always new competitors popping up here and there, while other guys get bought out and sold,” he noted. “We’re lucky enough to have the third generation starting in the business.” Indeed, Kleinberg’s son is currently a student at the University of Miami’s School of Architecture—and while he said he hopes he starts his career at another firm to cut his teeth in the field, it would appear MKDA is destined to remain a family business.—R.M.

Source: Commercial Observer