When Eileen and Jerry Ford established Ford Models Agency in their New York City home in 1946, they created a new kind of global beauty agency concept, and an entirely new business category. Since then, the agency has been the benchmark establishment for all others in the business of beauty.
Opulence and grand scale have always been key features of the agency’s offices around the world from New York City to Paris, Sao Paulo, Chicago, Miami and Los Angeles.
It is not surprising, that this culture of global luxury, plus the heritage of the Art Deco style Warren and Wetmore building on New York’s 57th Street, formed the foundation for the stunning design for Ford Models Women’s Division’s 5000 square-foot (464.5 square metre) penthouse headquarters at number 57 on 57th Street.
Rafael de Gardenas’ Architecture at Large juxtaposed the Art Deco features of the space with Gothic and Parisian elements and established an elegant environment with an imaginative feel of history and efficiency.
For example, the mixing of semi-industrial looking lighting with fantastic murals of flora and fauna by Leon Benn produces a dramatic effect, as does the no-nonsense, factory-like row of work stations positioned at a long desk in a former living room with a prominent fireplace.
Executive offices are located in a three-sided solarium with open terraces and spectacular views as special features.
The harmonious balance of old and modern is always difficult to achieve, but Rafael de Gardenas Architecture at Large has managed to do it graciously and confidently on many occasions. So far, their work in Ford Models Agency remains our favourite. – Tuija Seipell.