Thoughts from the Founders: Reflecting from Day 1 and Looking Forward to 2023!

Dani and Sarah officially launched Artisan in January 2021 working out of Dani’s Harlem apartment during the pandemic to Neuehouse when the city reopened, to our beautifully designed offices at 358 Fifth Avenue where we currently reside.  Over the past two years, the founders successfully introduced a new concept to the market, launched a rewarding mentorship program and engaged clients across various industries ranging from Fortune 100 companies to VC funds to nonprofits and startups moving into their first office spaces.  Dani and Sarah have also been working hard at bringing in top talent to the firm – increasing in size from 2 to 8 full time employees in just 24 months with plans to add another 4 full time hires this year.  Our founders recap on the company’s accomplishments and what’s ahead for 2023 below.

What is the biggest thing you have each learned since you founded Artisan?

Dani – It may sound cheesy, but trust your gut.  I’ve always been this way and it has served me well throughout my past experience as a solo business owner but it’s much more challenging trusting that intuition once you’re growing a business and have to find a balance between one’s own perspective, being open to learn so you can grow and therefore become a better business partner and leader.

Sarah – Five years ago when I met our now advisor, Kelly Williams, she matter of factly told me to start my own company.  I thought she was joking – I was in my mid 30s, didn’t have any startup experience and thought I had missed that window professionally.  A couple years later I went to a startup to see how it worked (and how it didn’t work) and knew a few months in, Kelly was right. I met my fearless business partner in 2019 who is by far the most important part of Artisan’s success story.  If I could give one piece of advice to any founder, it’s find the right partner.  Know your strengths and your weaknesses and find someone who has a complementary skill set.  Then build a team of positive people who respect each other, share your values and believe in your mission. Then bring in some of the industry’s most well respected and experienced advisors to support you through the good times, and not so good times … especially the not so good times.  With the right business partner, a team that looks out for each other and a supportive network of advisors and mentors, you will beat the startup odds. Just don’t give up. 

What was the biggest challenge in 2022?

Dani – I think like any new company, a big challenge was generating business leads while growing a team…but also navigating through that with an economy that was (and is!) all over the place made it even more so.

Sarah – Although we officially launched in 2021, Dani and I started working on our full service office advisory concept in early 2020.  Then the pandemic hit. Then the economy took a turn. Then it started to recover right before Omicron hit.  The markets crashed (again), inflation skyrocketed and supply chain issues became an absolute nightmare.  Despite the state of the city, country and world over the past few years, we’ve managed to continue to grow our business with our incredible client base and know if we not only survived, but thrived in 2022, we can get through anything. 

What is the thing you are most proud of from the past year?

Dani -The Artisan team has really grown this year, not only in size but in skill, professionalism and team spirit.  We initially started this company with this dream culture in mind (inclusive, welcoming, entrepreneurial, kind)  and each and every member of our team has added so much to this ideal – I’m most proud of them. 

Sarah – Hands down, our team. They have gone above and beyond to support the dream that Dani and I initially envisioned the first day we met – a better culture in our industry that’s built on teamwork, respect, kindness and mentorship.  Whenever we need a reminder as to why we started Artisan all we need to do is look around the room.  Whether it’s watching them patiently teach our high school mentees about the industry to listening to them calmly resolve issues with vendors or clients to seeing someone on the brokerage team looking at materials with someone on the design team, to bringing in their kids to meet the team for a pre-holiday breakfast break, to hearing music or laughter float around the office … without our team there would be no Artisan. We couldn’t be prouder of them. 

What can the world expect to see from Artisan in 2023?

Dani – Last year ended with so many wins for our team, from incredible new potential clients to brokering excellent deals and winning business from much larger and more established companies – we only hope to continue this pattern in the new year.  We’re just getting started!

Sarah – We have so many exciting projects underway I don’t even know where to begin! It is going to be a very big year at Artisan – our client base is growing, as is our team and business lines.  Thank you to everyone who has supported us to date and please stay tuned for a very exciting 2023! 

Follow along with us on our 2023 journey on  Instagram!  Interested in working with us? Take our quiz to start the process of finding your next office space today!

A Few Of Our Favorite NYC Buildings…

When you specialize in design and project management specifically for office space in NYC, you get to know A LOT of buildings.  We here at Artisan want to share some of our favorites with you and give you the inside scoop as to why we’re partial to them.

Empire State Building

EMPIRE STATE BUILDING. 350 Fifth Avenue, between 33rd & 34th Streets. Built in 1930. 102 Stories.

Why We Love: This iconic building is not only an incredible tourist attraction, its nightly changing lights represent everything from holidays to sporting events to scientific and healthcare organizations and beyond.  It is a staple in New York City and a building that is recognized all over the world.  We have a particularly special view of it from our office, as we are very near by!

The Helmsley Building

THE HELMSLEY BUILDING. 230 Park Avenue, between 45th & 46th Streets. Built in 1929. 34 Stories.

Why We Love: The history of this building runs deep and the architecture and design incorporate it so beautifully.  The building was originally intended to be the headquarters of the New York Central Railroad and therefore has stunning marble and bronze-clad details throughout it’s lobby and elevator banks.  Just above the main entrance sits a clock that includes a statue of Mercury to represent transportation, and a goddess to represent industry.  It doesn’t get much more New York than that.  

Olympic Tower

OLYMPIC TOWER. 645 Fifth Avenue, between 51st & 52nd Streets. Built in 1974. 21 Stories.

Why We Love: Location is one of our favorite things about this building – if you like luxurious things and are looking to find the best shopping in NYC, you are in the right place at Olympic Tower.  Jimmy Choo, H Stern, and FURLA are just a few of the incredible retailers the building boasts. 

Interested in working with us? Take our quiz to start the process of finding your next office space today!

Artisan x Architectural Digest

When we heard we were going to be featured in the October issue of Architectural Digest, we were ecstatic and honored.  To be recognized by arguably the most notable design and architecture publication in the world is more than we could have hoped for in only our second year in business!  

Click here to read the article in full and take our quiz to start the process of finding your next office with us!

Up Close with Lauren, Junior Designer

Each of our clients have different functional and aesthetic wants and needs for their office space, which is where our Design department comes in.  We spoke to our newest addition to the Design team, Lauren, about what she adds to the process. 

Lauren – Tell us a bit about your background in design and how you came to work with Artisan.

Lauren: Before I pursued design in college, I was very interested in fine arts and art history. I became fascinated with the endless possibilities and mediums we have developed over the years to describe art today. I took art programs such as 2D printing and painting at Syracuse University and an Interior Design program at the New York School of Interior Design to determine the right path for me. I knew I wanted to be creative, but in what way? How can I change the idea of visual art and give it a purpose? 

After learning Interior Design at the New York School of Interior Design, I knew that design was the direction I wanted to go. I knew Syracuse University offered Environmental & Interior Design as a major. I adored that the curriculum concentrated on all Environmental aspects in design, not just sustainable design. To them, “environmental” meant working with the world around you. We interacted with local communities and designed based on their needs. We were also taught to understand how the human body interacts in a space to adhere to WELL building standards. 

As graduation was approaching, I was looking to work immediately. I applied to every job I could find until I came across Artisan. I loved how the design completely aligned with the aesthetic of many projects I worked on at Syracuse. I noticed that Artisan strayed away from the basic structure of the typical office space and offered a “resi-mercial” feel to their spaces. I firmly believe that any office you design should feel natural, bright, and energetic. I pushed for that design in my projects, and I knew this was where I should be!

What does your role as Junior Designer entail at Artisan on a day-to-day basis?

Lauren:  I work closely with Dani and Katie to help make their design process smoother. I work on preparatory design elevations, floorplans, and I aid in furniture and material tracking. I am also learning to keep track of the construction punch list to ensure our projects are where they need to be to make our clients happy in their new space. This first-hand experience puts me front and center with the construction and design team to ensure everything stays organized and where it needs to be.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned at Artisan thus far and what excites you about the future of Artisan?

Lauren: Artisan has taught me to be aware of the details needed to create a successful design. From the programming phase to the end of construction, all stages are essential to making the client happy and making the design process easier for everyone. To bring the beautiful ideas we create to life, we as designers must put together a detailed plan of action where we break everything down for our client to make their new office custom-designed to their needs. I am learning that all the elevations, furniture, and floorplans we create are put together with great attention to detail to ensure we all come out with something beautiful!

Want to learn more about how Artisan can create a space that suits your needs? Click here to take our 5 minute quiz and get started today.

Artisan Opens Second Office

Artisan’s newest office is a virtual replica of our NYC headquarters at 358 Fifth Avenue built in blockchain-based Decentraland (45,10) .  Our Co-CEO & Head of Design, Dani Arps designed both locations using a neutral, warm and chic palette, along with a similar furniture layout and inviting aesthetic.  An interconnecting staircase in our virtual office easily connects the three floors to a wide open rooftop where you can check out what other creators are developing around us. 

As recently reported in JP Morgan’s Metaverse Whitepaper, companies of all shapes and sizes are entering the metaverse in different ways, including household names like Walmart, Nike, Sotheby’s, Verizon, Hulu, PWC, Adidas, Atari, and Samsung.  We understand the metaverse is still coming into form with design and utility limitations, but we believe it will eventually emerge as a destination for everyday activities like education, work, shopping and entertainment. Like with any new technology, the transition from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0 will be gradual, but we welcome change at Artisan and look forward to being a part of it! 

Interested in checking out our new office?  Come visit and take a look around – all you need is a computer!  You can easily enter by clicking on “Guest”, creating an avatar and simply clicking the grid map in the upper left corner to locate our parcel at (45,10).  Then hit “Jump In” and you’re there!  Be sure not to miss our QR codes when you first enter through our sleek sliding door – they’ll connect you to our social channels and website.  We look forward to seeing you in the metaverse soon!

Want to learn more about how we created our virtual office or how we can help you create yours? Click here and send us a note. We’d love to welcome you to the community!

Brokerage 101 | Our Process for Finding Your Office Space

Needs, wants, tours, budgets, proposals, leases…there are multiple things brokers handle when finding office space for a client.  Sarah, Georgina, and Carleigh from our Brokerage Team explain. 

Brokerage Team – would each of you please give us a summary of what you do on the team?

Georgina: As a part of the Brokerage Team, I work closely with Sarah and Carleigh.  I’m responsible for business development, real estate advisory for our current clients, lease negotiations / executions, financial analyses, and putting new systems in place for our organization. I’m also fortunate enough to be part of the Artisan Mentored program and enjoy teaching and mentoring our mentees!

Carleigh: I am a Brokerage Associate and assist the team in canvassing the market, coordinating tours, producing tourbooks (information on each space we present to the client), drafting proposals for spaces the client is interested in, and assisting Sarah and Georgina in negotiations, analyses, and anything needed in connection with our Design, Furniture, and Project Management departments to make the process as seamless as possible for our clients. 

Sarah: I’m very fortunate to have a rockstar brokerage team so I get to focus my time collaborating with Georgina, Carleigh and our different departments on strategy, negotiation and execution.  We use our expertise to help our clients make the best decisions for their respective businesses.  I’ve always enjoyed when people come together from different backgrounds to brainstorm, problem solve and compete.  I think the best part about brokerage at Artisan is working with our design, build and furniture teams throughout the process to make sure nothing is missed and there are no surprises for our clients after a lease is signed.  From our first pitch to the punch list, we’re all in it together. 

How can a company looking for office space start the process with Artisan?

Georgina: It’s really simple! They can quickly fill out our quiz to get the process started or reach out to us via emailLinkedInInstagram, and our other social media platforms.

It seems the biggest challenge for companies right now is how to manage hybrid working and bringing people back into the office.  What is Artisan seeing and what advice are you giving? 

Sarah: Unfortunately there isn’t a catch-all answer for all of the questions related to hybrid work that we are fielding. That said, we’re working with clients across various industries to help them figure out the right solution for their situation. The biggest hurdle for every company right now seems to be figuring out how to make their office a place where employees want to return, not be forced to return.  As you can see from the projects on our website, we have a very resimercial design aesthetic that our clients love and has certainly helped with the transition from working from home to working from a new office “home”.  Whether renewing or relocating, office space shouldn’t be a headache, it should be a fun process that makes everyone excited to get back to work! 

Please feel free to reach out to the Artisan Team via our email if you’d like to discuss your situation and how we can help or click here to take our 5 minute quiz and get started today!

Up Close with Katie | Head of Furniture

Finding, designing, and building out office space are equally important and necessary – but it’s the furnishings that pull all of those things together in the end, and can make or break the space. 

Katie – Tell us a bit about your experience in the industry and how you came to work with Artisan.

KL: My background is in interior design with a focus on branded environments. I’ve worked for amazing companies during my career, such as Casper and Herman Miller – helping them create beautiful spaces that best represented their brands. My time at HM in particular really helped build my foundation for great furniture design and a keen knowledge of some of the best workplace products in the industry. After creating spaces and designing custom pieces of all kinds, I wanted to hone in on furniture. Artisan gives me the opportunity to focus on sourcing and curating beautiful furniture, but also building my design skills by creating custom pieces for our clients and sourcing great local fabricators to bring them to life. 

What is your favorite part about procuring furniture?

KL: My favorite part would have to be discovering new designers and brands bringing innovative and unique products to the market – it keeps us at Artisan inspired and excited! It’s the most fun going to showroom visits with clients and seeing their faces light up with excitement to see pieces in real life and test them in person. 

You also help to create custom furniture for certain clients of ours.  How does that differ from choosing ready-made pieces? 

KL: When we design custom pieces for our clients, we have more freedom to create what we want, exactly how we want it. With custom furniture, we always approach it with the lens of solving for the clients needs while ensuring the piece still works with our aesthetic direction. We have more control over the materials, finish, and details so each piece is unique for our clients. 

Want to learn more about how Artisan can create a space that suits your needs? Click here to take our 5 minute quiz and get started today.

By Design – Mood Boards & How We Create Them

Minimalist, eccentric, contemporary, collaborative, office-intensive…these are just a few words that a client could present to our design team when voicing what they want for their new office space.  Where do we begin with bringing their idea to life, while putting our Artisan stamp on it?  We asked Dani and Katie who make up our design department to give us the rundown.

Where do you begin when building a mood board for a client’s space?

Dani: For the most part, clients come to us because they already have an appreciation for our aesthetic.  So it’s a mix of pulling finishes, textures and spaces we’re drawn to as well as creating an overall vision for their spatial direction.  We think about what would improve their brand and how can that be implemented in a way that’s cohesive, functional and beautiful.

Katie: First, we love to get an understanding of the client – what they do, what they believe in, what kind of spaces, textures, and colors make them feel productive and good. Then we’ll use that information to find imagery and materials that evoke that mood and act as a guide as we develop the design. 

What is the best piece of advice you could give on how to find success in mixing materials, patterns, finishes, etc.?

Dani: If you want to mix colors, materials, patterns, finishes etc, be cognisant of tone.  Katie is probably tired of hearing me say ‘tone on tone’ – but it’s a great way to achieve an interesting palette without overwhelming your eye.

Katie: With how we approach this at Artisan, our advice would be to consider a delicacy and balance to the palette when deciding on materials – combining textures, colors, and visual weight to create a timeless mood. 

What if a client is drawn to a completely different aesthetic than what you, as a designer, are normally drawn to? 

Dani: This a great question and one that I get from ‘non – clients’ a lot.  As noted earlier, it’s pretty rare that a client would come to us without understanding our aesthetic at least on a basic level and honestly I’d recommend another great designer if I felt they were a better fit.  The last thing you want as a designer (or client!) is to have to convince a client that your vision for their space makes sense.  That being said the design process is a collaborative one and often, the most interesting spaces are the ones where a client suggests something that we never would’ve and it’s the most unique and interesting part of the space!

Katie: I think a great skill for a designer is being able to adapt! Sometimes if a client’s vision doesn’t align with ours, we challenge ourselves to meet in the middle and find ways to satisfy their specific asks while keeping our foundation of a neutral, functional, and timeless approach. 

Follow us on Instagram to see our weekly MaterialMondays highlight – a mini mood board, if you will!

Want to learn more about how Artisan can create a space that suits your needs? Click here to take our 5 minute quiz and get started today.

Up Close with Tucker | Head of Project Management

How do you describe Project Management?

It’s a complex discipline that requires a broad set of skills. Generally, the PM team helps the client to establish goals for the project, creates and maintains the project budget, and develops and drives the project schedule. 

And the role of the Project Manager?

The PM typically acts as a ‘coach’, responsible for developing a plan and strategy for the project, while the ‘players’ (architects, engineers, designers, and contractors) execute on that vision. Their role often extends to the management of the project team and day-to-day activities. The PM will interact with multiple disciplines throughout the project lifecycle. They must be efficient and forward-thinking in every stage of the project. 

Why do we need it?

It is very often the most overlooked component of a project. Put simply, PMs are responsible for the success of a construction project. The Project Manager is accountable for the outcome of each discipline’s roles and responsibilities. Was the project on time? Was it on budget? Were the goals of quality and workmanship met?

A construction project typically involves dozens of people, all experts in their specific field. A Project Manager is no different. They bring objective skills and technical expertise with the sole purpose of representing the best interests of a project and their client. Tenants are often asked to make decisions without having all the information they need to give an educated answer. A PM makes sure all information is presented in a clear and concise manner (what is the budget impact?, what is the schedule impact?, what is the deadline to make this decision?).

How would you qualify the value of PM?

A PM is often a Tenant’s greatest resource. Their expertise and understanding of both design and construction can save their client time and money. 

Bandwidth – Many Tenants do not have an in-house PM team. Having a PM allows Tenants to focus on their business and reduces the stress and disruption of daily life that a full scale construction project comes with.

Cost Reduction – From the early planning and pre-construction phases through closeout, the PM will offer input on decisions that impact costs, making sure each dollar spent is used efficiently and goes towards meeting the project goals.

Time Reduction – The PM is responsible for establishing, monitoring, and meeting all critical project milestones. They have a bird’s-eye view of the entire project that can help identify how delays in site selection, lease negotiations, design, and procurement may impact completion. 

Give us an idea of your expertise and experience.

I’ve been a Project Manager for over 12 years, working as both a Tenant Representative during my time at Jones Lang LaSalle and as an in-house PM for Owner/Developers at SL Green Realty Corp and WeWork. As a result, I’ve been fortunate to work on commercial office fitouts, building redevelopments, and assets repositioning projects. I’ve managed budgets upwards of $225MM and created schedules for projects spanning nearly two years. My expertise is in commercial interiors (office space), where I’ve spent most of my career. I love partnering with clients in the very early stages of a project to help create a vision, establish project goals, and then bring that vision to life.

Take a glimpse into the future of Project Management, what do you see?

The hybrid model is becoming more and more common, requiring companies to evaluate their real estate portfolio and needs. A Project Manager can be instrumental in that effort by helping companies to understand their needs and plan for a changing future. As companies explore digital options in the Metaverse, they will need PMs just as they do in the physical world. In this role, a PM serves as the point person, coordinating across a multi-functional team inclusive of real estate professionals, designers, programmers, and more. 

Thanks for sharing, Tucker! We look forward to seeing the future of Project Management at Artisan.

Want to learn more about how Artisan creates spaces that suit your needs? Click here to take our 5 minute quiz and get started today.

By Design—Q&A with Anchor & Canvas

We are particular at Artisan in that we are committed to working with vendors and contractors that we have vetted and trust, as they help to shape the final product for our clients. Anchor & Canvas is exactly what we look for in a vendor in that way and therefore we bring them on to build custom furniture pieces – designed by us here at Artisan.  We took a trip to their Brooklyn workshop to see a bit of their build process, and asked their Lead Fabricator, Piotr Shtyk, a few questions as to how they take our designs and turn them into real life quality pieces.  

What is your general process when working with design clients? 

It usually starts with a request for a quote. We review the visual materials and start a conversation to fill in the gaps. The goal in the beginning is to figure out the intended effect of the piece, find out what details are important to the designer and what is left to us to decide in consideration of structural integrity or economy. We often send drawings or models back and forth to confirm the details that are most important to the quote. Once everyone is on the same page and we know exactly how we are going to build it, we provide an accurate estimate. Then comes the final model, and the drawings we generate from the model, and once those are approved, we make the finish samples. We like to document the process and send a few pictures to the designer as the piece starts to take shape, and then again once the piece has been completed. 

What is your favorite part of the process and why? 

There are two definitive moments in the process I particularly enjoy. Arriving at an elegant solution to an engineering problem is very rewarding and the feeling stretches into the build process when parts just click into place like pieces of a puzzle. Then there is the moment of seeing the piece assembled for the first time and realizing how remarkably similar it looks like the rendering we made just a couple of weeks ago. I recall twirling it around on my monitor, and now here it is on the floor, tangible and, more often than not, very heavy.  

What is the most exciting challenge when getting new furniture designs to fabricate? 

The most exciting challenge to me is an opportunity to use a new technique or process that really stretches our abilities just past our typical comfort zone. It should be far enough removed from our skillset to force us to really focus and learn, while being related enough that we have a solid foundation upon which to build that knowledge – that’s the sweet spot.

Stay tuned for the final products! 

Ready for an Artisan space of your own? Click here to take our 5 minute quiz and get started today.