“We looked inside a shoe, literally, to understand the firm’s brand. 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.” – Edin Rudic, Creative Director
MKDA created a 15,500 square foot vibrant and adaptable office and showroom space on the 16th Floor at 156 West 56th Street on behalf of Brown Shoe Company, a $2.7 billion global footwear company. The company’s high-end brands such as Fergie, Via Spiga, Franco Sarto and Vera Wang did not fit into their outdated work environment. MKDA implemented an intensive programming phase to establish new workplace strategies that would both open up the space and highlight the various significant brands.
The project team devised their design concept around the literal inside of a shoe in order to fully represent Brown Shoe’s core principles. Looking at the aesthetics, functionality, warmth and longevity of a good shoe, MKDA infused creative and inviting elements into the space while also ensuring an efficient and adaptable design, which would withstand the test of time.
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.
The new space was stripped down of all old structures, and glass movable walls, concrete floors and columns, reclaimed wood and a lot of natural light was brought in. The uber cool bones were muscled up with simple furnishings so as to not steal the thunder from the product line. The refined showrooms and design labs were fitted with additional glass walls, rich wood flooring, rounded back chairs and wood and aluminum tables to balance the integrated deconstructed architectural elements. A neutral color palette and modular Vitra Vísplay displays create space suitable for diverse brands ranging from Naturalizer and Ryka to fashion brands Via Spiga and Vera Wang.
Adaptability was also central to the design. The showrooms provide touch down and breakout areas for the sales teams to use throughout the year while also displaying shoe brands during market week, when the sales teams can 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.