New Digs, New Look: A Katz Makeover
It has been an exciting year for us at Katz. We’ve moved our offices, refreshed our logo and website, and re-positioned ourselves for long-term success in the coming years. To learn more about all these new changes, we sat down with our founder David Katz and our website and logo designer Florian Fangohr.
How long has Katz been in business and what sort of brand did you first envision for the company?
DK: I began Katz in 2002. I had graduated architecture school 15 years before and had a wide range of experience specializing in retail buildings, residential buildings, single family residences, and restoration and preservation. When I opened my own office, I found work in all of these areas. In terms of a brand, I knew I wanted to have a creative, friendly, personable office, and of course, I wanted to be recognized for doing great work.
How has Katz evolved in the years since then?
DK: Starting a business is scary. There’s a lot of unpredictability, and naturally a prime concern is keeping the doors open, which in my case meant taking on a variety of smaller design projects and doing consulting work for other architects and designers. Over time the design projects got larger. Our work today is almost all based in New York City with a particular technical focus on renovation and restoration.
For example, we are now working on the restoration of a 600 seat theater for El Museo del Barrio and a 10-story gut renovation and expansion of a Landmark building in mid-town. The consulting work expanded to become an area of expertise of equal focus. Our clients now include corporations, building management companies, co-op and condo boards and we serve as building architects for numerous Landmark District buildings.
Why do you believe now is a great time to revamp your brand and website?
DK: While we always provided design and technical consulting services, they always seemed to be presented as two isolated areas of focus. We did not want to become known exclusively for one at the expense of the other so the purpose of the branding exercise was to unite our services under one heading.
What was the process like of developing a new logo and website? What sort of things did you want to highlight that suggest the future of Katz?
FF: The site features a responsive design for a world with many screens and people with short attention spans. We decided the management half of the brain should be dominant and look to get the main points across quickly. We used fewer, and literally bigger words.
Having two legs in different industries gives KA stability: Business can shift to strategic planning or helping clients vet purchases when there is less to build, and shift back to design and building when the market asks for it. For the building owner, we wanted to highlight the fact that Katz is flexible and can deliver on all of these needs.
How has the office staff grown in the years since Katz first started? Why is it time to move into a bigger office space?
DK: For years, we all worked in one room. This was fine for a small group, but when we expanded to 10 (or more with interns), it started to get a little cramped. We had rented additional space and had use of a separate conference room which helped alleviate the space issue but made us feel disconnected. Most important, though, I wanted to design our own space to take on and reinforce the Katz Architecture personality.
How do you see the new office space figuring into the direction of Katz moving forward?
DK: Its all in the design of our new space, which has incredible light and views. You can see Hudson Yards, the River, downtown. If you squint from the conference room, you even get a view between buildings of the Statue of Liberty!
I wanted to emphasize all this with a design that was understated, simple and honest. We left the utilities and concrete slab exposed and added custom designed unfinished steel portals with exposed bolts. So on one hand, you have this raw, literal, nuts-and-bolts kind of attitude balanced by expansive ethereal views — which sums up the direction I always wanted to project.
It is an uplifting and inspiring open space that gives everyone enough room to work but still fosters discussion and interaction — and celebration. I insist we end every week with a happy hour and with the great light and western views, this is a wonderful place for that as well.
In terms of a brand, I knew I wanted to have a creative, friendly, personable office, and of course, I wanted to be recognized for doing great work. — David Katz