Meet Andre Kikoski Architects
In an alternate design dimension, if Andre Kikoski Architect were to be a part of a Word Association board game, their card would read, “30 Design Awards, 100 projects, 800 publications across 27 countries”. Each statistic is a testimonial to their innovative and distinct design solution to a complex situation. The principal architect Andre Kikoski completed his Master’s degree in Architecture with distinctions for Innovation in Design and Technology from Harvard University. With clientele that includes institutions like The Guggenheim Museum, Swarovski Crystal, The Howard Hughes Corporation, Saks Fifth Avenue; AKA has delivered unique projects that are a perfect blend of skill and art expressed through their materials and design. In conversation with Principal Designer Andre Kikoski, he presented an insight to his design ideas and inspirations.
Spaceez: Tell us about your firm, and the firm’s overall design philosophy?
AK: We are an award-winning Manhattan-based architecture and design firm grounded by enduring architectural principles, driven by innovation and activated by the untapped capabilities of 21st Century technology and craftsmanship. From work on iconic cultural institutions to ground-up construction with New York’s most accomplished entrepreneurs and tastemakers, we design buildings, interiors and create spaces of engagement that activate your senses, engage your memory and create emotional connection points to develop community and provide a true sense of place.
Spaceez: Where do you draw your inspiration from? Is there a particular person or place you turn to for inspiration?
AK: Everything is designed to encourage connection and offer a pure expression of materiality and artistry that is deeply attuned to the human element inherent in lasting architecture.
Spaceez: In your opinion what makes your design firm stand out from other hospitality design firms?
AK: Whether we are designing a building, an interior, or anything in between, our mission in hospitality is to provide places for people to come together and, if we do our job properly, create community. To meet the needs of a varied and rapidly growing urban population, we need literal and metaphoric pathways and opportunities for people to have positive interactions that help develop meaningful exchanges, and ultimately relationships. This was our goal with The Wright restaurant at the Guggenheim Museum, which is an international destination for design aficionados. We are interested in architecture that creates sensorial environments that are visually and socially engaging.
Spaceez: What is your favorite (hospitality) design project completed by your or any firm?
AK: Our favorite hospitality project, The Wright, is an art-filled restaurant we designed inside the Guggenheim Museum where people interact with the space, with the site-specific art, and with the iconic historic building which we have reinterpreted in our own contemporary vocabulary. The Wright gives people a unique place to converge in and around art, where culture is literally woven into the fabric of the design, so that a conversation about art and place is already started for you. From the moment you walk in this room, it engages you. Inevitably, one experiences the synergy of the melding of art and architecture, whether deliberately or not.
Spaceez: Are you currently working on anything exciting that you would like to share with us?
AK: Yes, we are working on an exciting hospitality concept in Koreatown, Los Angeles.
Spaceez: What is your favorite design element that is essential in any project, e.g. colors, textures, furniture etc.
AK: Our favorite design strategy is to create custom designed materials uniquely for each project. An example of this is in the lobby at One Hudson Yards. We poured molten bronze over linen to create a one of a kind, 25-foot feature wall. It was created at the same fine art art foundry in upstate New York that fabricates sculptures for iconic artists such as Jeff Koons Alexander Calder, Anish Kapoor and Roy Lichtensein (among others). We find going the extra mile really helps a project stand out.
Spaceez: What trends have you noticed in hospitality design?
AK: We’ve noticed an emphasis on specificity. People want experiences that are purely singular and not generic. Our attention to detail is uniquely tailored for specific venues, going beyond the design and through the processes and procedures — from the type of silverware, to the steps of service, and even the server’s uniforms — to deliver.
Spaceez: What five words would you use to describe your firm
AK: Convivial, Sensorial, Engaging, Experiential, Placemaking
Spaceez: How much time do you dedicate to sourcing products and suppliers for the projects you work on?
AK: A lot.
Spaceez: What can we expect to see come out of design studio next?
AK: A luxury high rise in Saudi Arabia.