New York's Ford Models Office Gets a Striking Makeover

Updated 12/12/17

The Ford Models office in New York just got a striking makeover—and the results are everything you'd imagine for the iconic agency and fashion industry staple. The modern space makes an impact with clean white walls, concrete floors, glass partitions that allow natural light to flood the expansive space, exposed ceilings, and views overlooking Madison Square Park. Rafael de Cardenas designed the office layout in 2015, and interior designer Devon Fromm of Devon Grace Interiors was brought in afterward to furnish the space, transform one of the offices into a model lounge complete with makeup area and closet, and add final touches.

"I wanted to create a space that felt glamorous, clean, and represented the brand of the company," explains Fromm, who worked on a tight deadline of just eight weeks to get the project completed in time for New York Fashion Week this past September. "Ford is an iconic modeling agency, and it was important to me to elevate the space and reflect their important status in the industry." Considering her client, Fromm made a point to include fashion-inspired details. "For example, the chairs throughout the space are chrome and black leather with intricate detailing and sculptural forms," she notes. "One of the reasons I loved this project so much is because I really feel it reflects my own personal style, which I would describe as modern and minimalistic with a touch of glamour," confesses Fromm. The designer loves working with neutrals and focusing on textures in a space rather than bringing in lots of color. "Personally, I think it creates a much more sophisticated and timeless look," she says. The newly redesigned Ford Models office demonstrates this aesthetic and is a study in understated elegance that will stand the test of time. "The rich textures in this space—black leather, suede, marble, brushed metal, faux fur, velvet, etc.—add depth to the design without any visual clutter."

Head below to step inside New York's Ford Models office and see the striking makeover.

Emma Ressel

"The elevators open up directly into the reception so we wanted to make it impactful," notes Fromm. "The quote I remember from the initial walkthrough was that the client wanted the room to be 'black, white, and intimidating,' which made me fall in love with the project immediately."

Emma Ressel

"We kept the space pretty light and bright with white walls and a black steel logo behind a custom, floating marble reception desk," describes Fromm. "There are windows on either side of the desk that we covered with white suede drapes to mimic a fashion runway."

Emma Ressel

"We created a seating zone with a sofa and classic Wassily chairs on either side of a solid metal coffee table," says Fromm. "We also incorporated area rugs throughout the office with organic stone motifs to soften the space a bit and give the ancillary areas a residential feel."

Emma Ressel

Fromm says the showstopper in the reception area is undoubtedly the 98-inch monitor that plays runway shows throughout the day. "Frameless mirrors on the opposite wall expand the room and reflect the runway show to make an even bigger statement," she notes.

Emma Ressel

The waiting room is easily one of Fromm's favorite rooms in the project. "We wanted to create a 'living room' feel here where models can wait before meetings," she explains. One of Fromm's greatest finds for the project was this curved sofa. In the initial walk-through of the space, Fromm says she and the client had the exact same vision for how the waiting room would come together. "A luxe, curved sofa adds a sculptural element that incorporates the natural circulation pattern for the room and defines an intimate zone for models to relax in."

Emma Ressel

"The chandelier in this room adds a little edge and brings in some warmer tones with the gold reflective interior," notes Fromm.

Emma Ressel

The space already had some existing built-in shelves, which Fromm recalls she "had fun styling with some of Ford's coffee table books and some vases, sculptures, and other items to add some personality and again contribute to the residential feel of the space."

Emma Ressel

"I brought in another stone-patterned rug with some warmer colors in it and topped it with a curved velvet sofa, a marble coffee table, and black leather chairs," says Fromm.

Emma Ressel

Fromm contends that the model lounge was probably the biggest transformation in the project. "Before, there were desks built out along the walls with bookcases built in on either end of the room," she recounts. "We ripped everything out and painted the long wall a charcoal gray to add some depth to the room." Fromm created a gallery wall to showcase historic Ford Models photographs.

Emma Ressel

"This is a long space so we created two seating zones for models to relax in when they're in the office all day," Fromm notes. "Both zones have a gray tufted velvet sofa with a coffee table and two black leather chairs. A floor lamp and another stone-look area rug enhance the cozy, residential feel along with some accent pillows on the sofa.

Emma Ressel

"Across the hall from the lounge, we converted an awkward, empty storage area into a makeup area and closet for the models," says Fromm. 

Emma Ressel

"We took the built-in desks from the original office in the lounge and created a built-in vanity with oversize mirrors and wall sconces to create a clean, minimalistic makeup area for the models."

Emma Ressel

"In the middle of the space, we incorporated a full-length mirror with a bent black metal bench below it to reflect the model lounge on the other side and tie the two spaces together."

Emma Ressel

"Here we wanted to create a space for the employees," Fromm says of the breakout space. "The space is set up with a black leather daybed and two black leather sling chairs. Rolling glass laptop tables can be moved around so that employees can take a break from their desk and work over there for a bit if needed." For Fromm, the cozy area "is the perfect spot to break away from a quick team meeting or relax with a coffee when you need to unwind. The eye candy on the walls doesn't hurt either."

Emma Ressel

"We removed about 12 workstations and separated the area from the open office with an open-backed bookshelf that goes to the ceiling," explains Fromm. "The bookshelf really defines the area from the open office without walling off the space too much." Fromm styled the shelves with vases, plants, boxes, and coffee table books "to reinforce the residential feel intended for this area."

Emma Ressel

"In the CEO's office, we got rid of the massive desk and guest chairs that she previously had and brought in an acrylic writing desk for her with two smaller guest chairs," recalls Fromm. "This took up half the space that her original setup took up, so we were able to introduce a velvet sofa and lounge chair with a white hide rug and lucite coffee table."

Emma Ressel

"The office now has a workspace and an area for more relaxed meetings."

Looking for more office décor inspiration? Step inside our MyDomaine office in Los Angeles.

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