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NEW YORK — Vera Wang is bidding adieu to the Garment District — but she’s not going too far.
This story first appeared in the August 9, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
For her new company headquarters, Wang was looking for a space with natural light and an open working environment to house all her divisions, including bridal and ready-to-wear. After a two-year search, the designer and Vera Wang Group president Mario Grauso zeroed in on 40,000 square feet at 15 East 26th Street — with unobstructed views of Madison Square Park. The new offices will allow Wang to operate on two floors connected by a staircase. In contrast, her current configuration at 225 West 39th Street features 25,000 square feet spread over five floors, which required executives to take elevators during the day.
“I was just looking for space that would accommodate our growing design, management and sales areas,” Wang said. “What appealed to me about the office area was not only the additional square footage but the view as well. Having a nice view and an outdoors feeling is going to be a bonus. It is also a very private and intimate building which feels very appropriate for us.”
The move is expected to be completed this October. Grauso said it was not a deliberate decision to leave the Garment District.
“We had very specific space needs,” he told WWD. “I asked the realtors to show us spaces in a 20-block radius and we ended up on 26th Street. It’s two floors of a building that are connected and that look at the park. It was hard to say no.
“The proximity [to the Garment District] is still pretty close,” Grauso added. “We wouldn’t want to go too far because we do a lot of business with people in this area. It’s within walking distance if someone needs to run for fabric.”
Wang worked with architects Bradley Zizmor and Dag Folger of a+i (architecture+information, pc) to develop the interior concept, which aims to maximize the open features of the space. Zizmor said that when complete, the headquarters will feel more like a loft space “where creative designs are conceived and executed” and less like a conventional office.
“The goal of the space search for the new headquarters for Vera Wang was to find large floor plates as the company expanded to avoid the separation caused by their current configuration on five separate floors,” Zizmor said. “The vision Ms. Wang set was to create an open working environment breaking down all barriers of communication between design, production, PR, marketing, and sales which currently exist.”
Wang is also moving its Madison Avenue bridal fittings facility across the street from the uptown boutique to the new headquarters.
“The space feels more like a loft space where creative designs are conceived and executed and less like a conventional office space,” Zizmor said.