Crain's New York Business Names Michael Garcia to Their 20 in Their 20s List

MICHAEL GARCIA HAS ALWAYS had an eye for spatial relationships. As a child, he would critique where tables and displays were placed in restaurants and stores, and he rearranged his room every three to four months.

Now Garcia does that professionally, as an interior designer at MKDA in the Flatiron District. He pitches bold, striking layouts for corporate offices in the city.

He favors projects where the clients embrace his most creative ideas, he said. Those clients are not always the ones you might think. He cited accounting firm Friedman, whose relocated headquarters Garcia designed with transparent meeting rooms, bold accent colors and geometric floor patterns.

Garcia pays particular attention to the interviewing stage of design, when he polls employees and executives about how they work day to day. That’s essential, he said, to designing a space that flows the way employees need it to flow.

“I think that’s really when you start affecting the people in the work space,” he said.

He’s currently focused on what he dubs “Covid-conscious” design. Beyond incorporating public health guidelines, he is trying to design enticing work spaces, even as remote work from home has never been more accepted.

Garcia started at MKDA at age 22, decades younger than many of his clients and colleagues. But he’s never been shy about his ideas.

“There’s always that moment of ‘I am definitely—or, not definitely but usually—the youngest person in the room,’” he said. “But I find that age doesn’t really come into play as long as I speak with conviction and know what I’m talking about.”

Source: Crain’s New York