If necessity is, as they say, the mother of invention, then Aesthetic Movement has New York City’s insane real estate to thank for pushing them out of two neighborhoods before they settled into their current cavernous hidden gem in Long Island City. Between now and when the design consultancy and sales showroom first opened its doors in 2000 under a different name, it has held down office space in both the Meatpacking District and DUMBO before each of those neighborhoods became the overpopulated hub of creative agencies, tech start-ups, boutiques and condos that they are today.
But moving out to Queens in 2010 has worked in their favor. Aesthetic Movement’s combined office space and showroom has settled nicely into an unassuming converted cigar factory not too far from the East River, in a quiet part of LIC that’s been relatively untouched compared to the explosion of new construction further south. And what their location may lack in easy access to a subway stop, it more than makes up for with the most prized possession in all of New York City: ample space.
Space is a must for Aesthetic Movement, as the showroom hosts some 40 home, accessories and lifestyle brands. To showcase them all, founders Jesse James and Kostas “Gus” Anagnopoulos installed floating walls, but left the cigar factory’s original floor and ceiling intact. This layout allows each brand to exist in their own environment, meaning you can find neon-painted bows and arrows from Crown Heights artisans Fredericks and Mae not too far from Matt & Nat’s minimalist vegan leather handbags, a few feet away from the textile placemats of Chilewich. Sure, each brand has a distinct point of view, but they all fit together under the pitched ceilings in a way that makes sense, bound together by a superlative design sensibility. The effect is like entering into a particularly well-curated bazaar.
On the opposite end of the space, through a kitchen that would bring most apartment-dwellers I know to tears, Aesthetic Movement’s New York-based employees share a semi-open-floor office (the company also has showrooms in Chicago, LA, Atlanta and Las Vegas). It’s decorated with the kind of effortless eye for design that only true creatives can actually pull off, where even inspiring photography and magazine cut outs pinned haphazardly to the wall look like something from an artist’s studio.
A list of everything I saw that I wish I had in my own workspace would be too long to compose here, but we can start with the library that includes a coffee-table sized Patrick Demarchelier retrospective and a hardcover book on Hermes crafts, a check-in desk by Seletti made from a cow-shaped shipping crate, and at least one of the four resident office dogs. Dibs on Edie, the wirehaired Vizsla.
For more on Aesthetic Movement, visit aestheticmovement.com.
Photography by Christian Cox