STUDIO TOUR: The Design Firm Behind New York's Hottest Nightclubs

iCrave office

Photo: Megan Willett/Business Insider

The design team at ICRAVE is behind some of NYC’s most exclusive nightlife spots, including Catch, Provocateur, and STK.The company is helmed by Lionel Ohayon, a prolific designer and entrepreneur who is the driving force behind his team’s award-winning projects and inter-disciplinary work.

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Both Ohayon and his company have been credited with making the Meatpacking District NYC’s most popular place to go out thanks to a slew of ICRAVE-designed nightclubs, restaurants, and lounges. Some of the biggest celebrities and models in the world can be found dancing on their banquettes, with a line of hopefuls at the door just waiting to get inside.

But this New York design and branding firm has long since branched out from its Meatpacking District-beginnings to unveil airports, casinos, and cruise ships across the U.S.

And what started as a two-man operation back in 2002 has now become a 38-person team, with 12 new employees added in 2012 alone. Obviously, they needed a new place for their expanding firm and projects.

The new studio near Madison Square Park was team-designed, and is still an ongoing collaboration constantly being re-imagined with in-house competitions. “It was a lot of fighting,” says ICRAVE Lead Designer Jesse MacDougal of the new studio office. “There still is a lot of fighting. It’s designing for designers.”

The company is growing so fast it’s almost too big for its new 8,000-square-foot space, even though they only just moved in this past Memorial Day. There are already tentative plans to start expanding into the floor above.

“We’re meeting in our fire exit,” laughs MacDougal. “We’re so busy that we need to have impromptu meetings all the time. If a room is full, we need to go find a place.”

But that doesn’t seem to hamper the creativity of the team that has recently finished designing Delta’s new LaGuardia Terminal and EMM Group’s latest modern Asian restaurant, The General. If anything, it seems the firm and their ideas are only getting bigger.

Welcome to the ICRAVE studio.

The first thing you see after exiting the elevators is a huge graffiti mural and archery target.

The mural is meant to mimic a construction barricade, and will be constantly changing. Check out the roller skates in the upper left corner.

The space is 8,000-square-feet in total, but the team broke it down into sections.

This is the entrance, where visitors can sit at the long wooden table or on the couch.

These monolith doors were specially designed for the ICRAVE office, too.

They open up to reveal a meeting room, and can be pushed back to create more space.

ICRAVE is all about using as much surface area as possible. Here, a pulley system reveals the kitchen behind a magnetic, chalkboard wall.

ICRAVE wanted to have an open studio where everyone sits together (including Lionel) and can easily sponge off one another.

They have a total of 38 full-time employees on staff as of 2012.

This meeting area is designed so people can walk by and check out current projects in development.

In here is the archival material room, where past patterns, fabrics, and project material boxes are kept.

One last look at how the system is broken down into colour.

The pit lamp was bought by Lionel on a business trip to Amsterdam from the store 360V.

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