I do not travel well to New Jersey (I always get lost). So when I was invited to visit the office of Michael Aiduss in Montclair, I was reluctant to take the trip. However, once there I discovered an extraordinary office with a charismatic leader and a dedicated and talented staff. A summary of my recent conversation with Michael follows.
Michael’s office is housed in a large, rectangular brick box ( formerly a Lacrosse manufacturing facility), that sits across the street from the Astro Social Club, a Montclair institution. He chose this location because he realized that the large and open space had the potential to be developed into a laboratory, studio, office and conference center that could be designed and manipulated to visually communicate his growing lifestyle brand.
The space has elegant proportion, scale and flow. The 17’ ceilings, contrasting black-and-white color palette, altered texture of cement block walls, and comfortable fabric columns create a chic, warm modern and elegant environment.
Art plays a large part in Michael’s design philosophy and some really great pieces–including photographs taken by Michael–hang in the office. He believes that art recalibrates a room; the right imagery can transport an old-world interior of paneled walls and over-upholstered furniture into a chic, compelling space with a modern vibe. Selecting pieces of art in the right color and scale controls the mood and attitude of the room. Michael’s intuitive ability for choosing objects and art that are compatible distinguish his designs.
Michael conquered the challenge of the proverbial “brown box” by: adding simple, long linen curtains hung with just the right folds for warmth, a mixture of formal and informal fabrics (plaid on the conference room chairs alongside white leather and metal 30’s chairs) for a bold modern stroke and a large, older dining table (with beautiful new leaves featuring brass inlay) as a visual centerpiece. Other touches include 24” baseboards that align with the sheet bronze kick-plates on the doors
When asked how clients respond to the environment Michael has created for himself, he said they often are not quite sure what to say. Michael is then able to communicate and educate by discussing the components and practicalities of good design. He discusses the layering of materials and objects, the importance of big gestures and the experience they will to create together. He wants his clients to participate in the process so that they feel a sense of ownership from the beginning.
Michael’s business partner, COO and husband, Joe Gandarillas, has great style himself. He has a strong business approach to design and is invested in the quality of life of the growing staff. For fun, Joe and Michael work out, do yoga and of course, travel.
Look for a Michael Aiduss office in New York City shortly. After experiencing his current space, I am sure he will make an impact in the New York market.
Michael Aiduss Interior Design
107 Forest Street
Montclair, NJ 07042
(973) 783- 0787 (office)
(973) 783-0793 (fax)
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