MKDA has completed 28,000 square feet of vibrant and adaptable office and showroom space on the 14th and 16th Floors at 153 West 56th Street on behalf of Brown Shoe Company, a $2.7 billion global footwear company. The work consisted of an intensive programming phase that established new work strategies, as well as a gut renovation of existing space and build out of newly leased adjacent space.
“Brown Shoe wanted to explore the many options available in today’s work environment and was open to new ways of working and integrating its various brand elements under one umbrella,” said MKDA President Michael Kleinberg. “As such, much of our initial work consisted of programming studies that included interviews with key personnel as well as the development of new work strategies to support the firm through future growth.”
The design concept was established after a gut renovation of the 16th Floor revealed striking concrete columns and ceilings. To balance the deconstructed elements, refined showrooms and design labs were fitted with glass walls, rich wood flooring, rounded back chairs and wood-and-metal tables. A neutral color palette and modular Vísplay displays create space suitable for diverse brands ranging from Naturalizer to fashion brands Via Spiga and Vera Wang.
“We looked inside a shoe, literally, to understand the firm’s brand and its view on aesthetics, function, warmth and longevity,” said MKDA Creative Director Edin Rudic. “We then infused these elements into the design to realize a lively and artistic composition of space that supports the creativity of the firm’s designers, the numerous brands, and the firm’s operations overall.”
Adaptability also central to the design, showrooms provide touch down and breakout areas for the sales teams to use throughout the year, and display shoe brands during market week, when the sales teams temporarily relocate to the design labs. Design labs feature furniture that adapts for designers and assistants as well as multiple visitors for impromptu or formal gatherings. Inspirations and sketches pinned to corkboard walls provide creative stimulus for passersby.
Open spaces such as the reception area feature poured concrete floors, white walls and white pendant lights. MKDA infused energy into the reception via a generous video wall that is modifiable for specific visitors, accent furniture in brilliant colors and rich fabrics, and sizable hanging pendant lights with large globes above a renovated stair. A nearby café doubles as hoteling space for visitors and features a deep wood paneled wall and table along with bold chartreuse sliding screen doors that allows the space to be used for conferencing.
Also designed with concrete floors, private offices and conference rooms feature glass walls, upholstered seating and wood and metal furniture. Conference rooms were further treated with custom Parsons-inspired tables and luminous globe pendant lights.
“Rather than putting its own design stamp on our office, MKDA went through the paces to learn the ins-and-outs of our latest contemporary fashion brands, as well as the rich history of our 135-year company,” said Brown Shoe Senior Vice President of Corporate Real Estate David Krueger. “As a result, our new office meets several key objectives and provides our employees and visitors with an exciting and engaging space in which to collaborate, create and work.”
MKDA also designed back-of-house space on the 14th Floor that maintains the warmth and aesthetic standard of the 16th Floor but with more efficient workspaces and value engineered finishes, including carpet tile, standard hardware and furniture systems.