Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA)

New York, USA

Company profile

The CFDA’s membership roster reads like a veritable who’s who of the american fashion world. The not-for-profit, founded in 1962 by the publicist eleanor lambert, now represents an exclusive cadre of leading 480 designers, including luminaries such as ralph lauren, donna karan, michael kors and diane von furstenberg, the organization’s current president. The association not only serves fashion’s old guard but supports programs to help foster the next generation of style mavens. Through its foundation, the CFDA also raises funds for charitable initiatives like fashion targets breast cancer.

Project overview

In 2012, the cfda staff had more than doubled in six years, from 7 to 16, and outgrown their office. The move to a larger space presented the chance to upgrade from a humble, not-for-profit environment—“it looked like you were walking into a medical clinic,” says Steven Kolb, cfda’s chief executive officer—to a 9,000-square-foot space befitting an organization serving the country’s top tastemakers. 

With the help of architects buro koray duman, the CFDA created a modern, branded office in the organization’s signature colors while respecting the historic bayard-condict building in which it is housed, the only new york structure designed by famed architect louis sullivan. The cfda also wanted to maintain the open, light-filled interior using a combination of glass-walled private offices for senior executives and open-plan workstations and common areas for the rest of the staff. Since settling into its new home, the not-for-profit has added additional workstations without significantly impacting the square footage or overall aesthetic. “the minimalness of it all makes every add-on seem not like an addition but a part of the original design,” Kolb says

“In our previous space, we were never able to hold board meetings or group membership meetings because of size and furniture. Now we have a conference room that is very adaptable. We can have a small meeting of 27, or easily change that room out and have 40 people. Because of that flexibility in the way the furniture works for us, its like a fashion community center now.”

- Steven Kolb, CEO CFDA

Drivers/client brief

+ Aesthetics, collaboration, brand, sustainability, long-term adaptability, individual customization, open and inviting feel


+ A mix of private offices and open, shared workspaces
+ Room dividers with integrated storage solutions
+ Honor a historic building while achieving a modern, timeless feel
+ Attractive storage for displaying and organizing magazines
+ A high degree of customization of material colors as well as functions
+ Meeting spaces for both small and large groups


+ Environment that balances individual privacy with openness for collaboration
+ A wide color palette, including gradations of color in private offices
+ A setup that easily accommodates future growth
+ Branded office environment that conveys the organization's aesthetic foundation
+ Infrastructure to support current workflow and future updates
+ Greater flexibility for a conference room which allows for variable meetings seating up to 40 people


- 2,760 square feet open space
- 15 open-plan workstations
- 5 private offices
- Accounting office with 3 workstations
- Reception station
- Conference room for 40 people
- Storage and archiving for open spaces
- Meeting/collaborative spaces

USM Products

- USM Haller table plus
- Privacy panels with magnetic and acoustic elements
- 120-inch long haller conference tables with grommets for data and electrical use bookshelves & storage for workstations and open spaces
- Filing credenzas
- 20" deep printer cabinets
- 14" deep media console in conference room
- Retail showcases in reception area with lockable glass doors
- Reception station with lacquered glass countertop
- USM Kitos round tables for break out meeting/collaborative spaces
- Media consoles


Conference room, breakout areas, storage, room dividing, group workstations, private offices, reception, utility stations, cafeteria

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