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Monday, December 28, 2009

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Andre Kikoski, New York-based Architecht Extraordinaire

Andre Kikoski is a multidisciplinary NY-based architect that is committed to artistic innovation, material research, and detail-oriented design. All of these qualities emerge from intensive investigation and a taut creative narrative that is characteristic of each of his projects.

His most recent project for the Guggenheim Museum includes the new restaurant The Wright and CafĂ© 3. The Guggenheim project is representative of Andre Kikoski’s style - inventive, dramatic and highly tactile. He is currently working on a dynamic new retail space in Bushwick, Brooklyn in which by using a metal exterior illuminated by LEDs, Kikoski has merged a pair of existing warehouses into an upscale retail and entertainment destination that takes the architect’s trademark subtle poetry to its limit — a building that disappears. In addition, his projects include a distinctive grouping of elegant residences, inventive restaurants, and exciting contemporary hotels located throughout the United States.

Kikoski’s award-winning architecture and design have received a Nomination in the James Beard Foundation Awards for Outstanding Restaurant Design, a Lumen Award for Lighting Excellence, and the Edwin Guth Memorial Award from the International Association of Lighting Designers, among other honors.

His work is internationally published and he has lectured and exhibited at The Architectural League of New York, The Center for Architecture at the New York AIA Chapter, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, The New York School of Interior Design, and New York University.

His firm has been named as one of “Ten Young Firms to Keep an Eye on” by Oculus, the AIA New York Chapter magazine, and one of “The New Garde of Ten Designers to Watch,” by New York Magazine.

Before founding his own firm in 2002, Kikoski gained experience working with such notable firms including Eisenman Architects, Richard Meier & Partners and Skidmore Owings & Merrill. Kikoski received a Master of Architecture from Harvard University, Graduate School of Design and a Bachelor of Arts from Wesleyan University. Kikoski lives in New York City with his wife who was previously featured as a Mover and Shaker and son.   We are so pleased to present Andre as our latest Mover and Shaker!

Peachy Deegan interviewed Andre Kikoski for Whom You Know.

Peachy Deegan: What inspired you to become an architect?
Andre Kikoski: A childhood full of travel to the most amazing places imaginable taught me to see the beauty and power of architecture – something I also realized seeing Phillip Johnson’s Glass House in New Canaan, CT.

What should Manhattanites know about architecture that most do not know?
As my former employer I.M. Pei always said – great clients make great architecture, not great architects.

What did you learn from working for and with other architects?
That the pursuit of perfection and value of strong ideas are essential to make quality architecture

What do you enjoy the most about having your own firm?
Unequivocally, I love the breadth and depth of our clients. It is inspiring to work with and learn from them.

What makes your firm one of the best?
We take nothing for granted, and believe that the best solution for every design emerges inevitably from a careful study of the owner’s goals and the project itself.

What would you like to do professionally that you have not yet had the opportunity to do?
I would like to work in Paris or London. There is an aura of history in those cities that I find compelling and inspiring to a firm as contemporary as ours.

What or who has had the most influence on your pursuit of excellence?
That’s a tough question – I’ve enjoyed the privilege of having some amazing teachers, mentors, and friends. To name just one person seems inappropriate… I’d add to that that I rowed in college – which is all about the precise repetition of a singular motion. It required a tremendous focus and being in the present that is very important to me today…

What are you proudest of and why?
My family without question… I’m honored to be the father of my son Lars – who thinks and says the most amazing things– and the husband to my wife Kim – who sees the brilliance, humor and grace of the world we live in. And also the amazing talent we have assembled at Andre Kikoski Architect!

What is your favorite place to be in Manhattan?
I love watching the sunrise over the East River – it’s a beautiful, fleeting moment in a busy, hectic city.

What is your favorite shop in Manhattan?
I love the print fair at the Park Avenue Armory – there’s always an amazing collection of works on paper by celebrated artists drawing in their own hands that speaks to an architect’s love of color, geometry and form.

What is your favorite drink?
I love Campari. Always. And thanks to my wife Kim Donaldson’s website – – I am developing quite a palette for classic Bordeaux vintages.

What is your favorite restaurant in Manhattan?
Of course I’m thrilled with the outcome of our latest project – The Wright at the Guggenheim Museum. And then without question the Four Seasons. It is always correct and always fun.

What is your favorite Manhattan book?
Where else but New York could the Fountainhead be set?

What has been your best Manhattan athletic experience?
In college we rowed around Manhattan, which was a little sketchy at times, but very memorable…

What is your favorite thing to do in Manhattan that you can do nowhere else?
I love the exhilaration of a New York minute!

What has been your best Manhattan art or music experience?
It was great fun to collaborate with Liam Gillick on the piece he created and installed in The Wright – architects and artists see things in a way that is similar, and yet is so very different – and I’m so happy with the final outcome.

What do you think is most underrated and overrated here?
New Yorker’s insatiable drive to find the newest and most of the moment in New York sometimes forces us to overlook what is so important in the familiar and what we know. Yet without it, we wouldn’t be New Yorkers…

Other than Movers and Shakers of course, what is your favorite Whom You Know column and what do you like about it?
Nightlight is a great way to keep up with what’s going on

What else should Whom You Know readers know about you?
That I’m driven to know what’s truly interesting, timely, and innately memorable – and of course what it makes it so…

How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers?
By my website or email

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