MARKZEFF is an interdisciplinary architecture and design firm that emphasizes innovation and originality in every project. Founded in 1985 by Mark Zeff, the firm has created extraordinary environments all over the world. Based in Dumbo, Brooklyn, the company specializes in a broad range of work from luxury residential, hospitality, and retail to high-end real estate development to product and brand development to super yacht design. This award-winning practice has earned its reputation for delivering cutting edge design with an eye for elegance and style.
Attention to detail in every project is paramount to the company’s success and is a characteristic the firm has maintained since its incipience. Their original and distinctive environments seamlessly integrate the highest quality craftsmanship, handmade items, custom furniture, lighting, and hardware with the latest technology. Each project tells its own story, and it is through the design they enable their clients’ visions to shine through.
The company’s services include interior design, architecture, yacht design, product design, custom furniture and lighting, branding, graphic design, and strategy.
HOSPITALITY – SELECT PROJECTS
MARKZEFF has been tapped to design the flagship Virgin Hotel that will be located in NoMad, the hottest new area for residential real estate, design and restaurants in New York City. This highly anticipated property includes 450 guest-rooms with three floors of pool and restaurant space. The design firm will also be designing the 240-room Virgin Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee on Music Row, which takes inspiration from the music scene.
MARKZEFF has successfully collaborated with Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group (KHRG) on several projects including Hotel Van Zandt in Austin, Texas, where the firm infused new energy into the Rainey Street Historic District with a 16-story hotel with 319 guest rooms, multiple restaurants, and a live music venue. MARKZEFF’s team turned to Austin’s music scene to form the baseline for the hotel by paying homage to folk music legend, Townes Van Zandt. This influence can be seen in the lobby lounge’s installation of birds, made from vinyl records, to curated collections of found objects such as vintage radios and microphones, to the varying shades of blue found throughout the hotel as Townes’ final album, No Deeper Blue symbolically plays. To keep the hotel from being one-note, Zeff invented a fresh design style, “elegant cowboy grunge”—western motifs with a modern twist.
The firm also developed The Commoner restaurant and bar in the Hotel Monaco in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for KHRG, where MARKZEFF looked to the historic building in which it is housed and to the heritage of the city to inform the design. MARKZEFF also created the signature restaurant Ave and the casual beach bar Coccoloba the new Seafire report in the Cayman Islands. The scope of the work at the island retreat included everything from the brand development, name and concept of the food and beverage facilities to envisioning and implementing innovative interior design. Additionally, MARKZEFF will collaborate with KHRG on the design of a new hotel property in Seattle, Washington
MARKZEFF is also involved in the development of several hospitality projects to be completed starting in 2017 well in the next few years including the complete renovation and redesign of Joie de Vivre’s Hotel Kabuki, with the addition of a new restaurant, in San Francisco, California, the design of the interiors for the Mountain Shadows resort in Paradise Valley, Arizona, and at the Supernatural Hotel in Amsterdam. The firm has partnered with Hilton Worldwide, globally, to conceive and design the hospitality giant’s new lifestyle brand, Canopy, with the first hotels opening in San Antonio, Texas, Rockville, Maryland, New Orleans, Louisiana, Ithaca, New York and Portland, Oregon. Further, MARKZEFF will bring the first six-star hotel to the East Coast of North America with the renovation of the Adelphi Hotel in Saratoga Springs, New York.
Previous hospitality projects include Hampshire Group’s Dream and Night hotels both located in New York City as well as their private fleet of luxury yachts called Fathom. Following the success of these projects, the design firm was hired to take on a two million square foot hotel development of the Hard Rock Hotel brand for the Morgan’s Group in Las Vegas, Nevada.
MARKZEFF first ventured into hospitality by working with New York City-based restaurateur Jimmy Bradley of DLA Restaurants in 1998. Today, The Red Cat still enjoys a stellar reputation for its culinary delights and the enchanting ambiance.
LUXURY REAL ESTATE – SELECT PROJECTS
MARKZEFF was tapped to be the interior designer for all the public spaces and the residences for the luxury condominium development and sales office for 500 W 21st Street for Sherwood Realty. Located along the Highline in the Chelsea Section of New York City, this extraordinary property sold out within six weeks of the opening of the sales office for the property. For the residences, the firm created interiors the have a modern, industrial-chic vibe. Each apartment has exclusive custom designed, handcrafted, elegant details including bronze oil-rubbed fixtures and hardware.
Additional real estate projects in process for MARKZEFF include the firm’s second project in Austin, Texas: Seventy Rainey Residences, an incredible luxury condominium development by Sackman Enterprises. This project, like many others Zeff has executed, will seamlessly bring together brand development and interior design to create and deliver cohesive and innovative environments for a fresh, new demographic.
BRAND DEVELOPMENT – BLACKBARN
Mark Zeff launched his own lifestyle brand, BLACKBARN, in the spring of 2015, which includes real estate development, a restaurant, a book, and a workshop/retail. The name comes from the home the South African-born designer built in the Northwest Harbor section of East Hampton. A sedate, sexy modern black barn that stands in contrast to the area’s myriad, out-of-place, oversized dwellings, BLACKBARN is a blend of industrial, artful, refined, and understated. BLACKBARN is a lifestyle that redefines luxury, where the cornerstone is finding the right location and creating a home that is authentic to its surroundings.
BLACKBARN Real Estate is a residential design service that creates bespoke spec homes for those who desire unconventional simplicity. The first residence was completed in October 2015 in Sag Harbor, and other properties in East Hampton and Sagaponack are in the works, with other locations to be announced.
For Black Barn Restaurant, Zeff partnered with John Doherty, former Executive Chef at the Waldorf Astoria hotel, which opened September 2015. Located off Madison Square Park in New York City, the design ethos of the restaurant takes nomenclature from the construction methods of barns, and uses elements like trusses, barn roof structures, and cladding methods to build its design vocabulary.
BLACKBARN Book is a lavishly illustrated monograph that celebrates Zeff’s seminal project, BLACKBARN. The barn-inspired home has been over thirty years in the making and changed the equation for how he designs residences. Oro Editions published this book in December 2015.
BLACKBARN Shop is a home emporium of distinctive, sophisticated design finds from all over the world, located in DUMBO, Brooklyn (20 John Street). The stunning 3,000 square foot space has the charm of a cabinet of curiosities, with the elegance of a high design experience. This experience here is emporium-meets-atelier, which offers found and designed items in addition to offering custom design services. Clients and designers will be able to buy found objects, art, and furniture, BLACKBARN-designed home products, as well as custom designed items. “The goal is for our clients to find beautiful found and new objects, but also be able to consult with one of our in-house designers to create a custom kitchen, dining table, light fixture, or anything else you might need for the home,” said Mark Zeff.
Mark and Kristen have utilized items found on their extensive travels as the baseline for the collection on display, and have commissioned artists and artisans both locally and from places such as Morocco, Bali, South Africa, Spain, Portugal, and Italy to create pieces for the shop. From Mark’s native South Africa, there are antique Cape Dutch farmhouse furniture and objects, as well as handwoven baskets made by the Cape Town Society for the Blind. Balinese ceremonial necklaces made of cowry shells are displayed as objet d’art. Pieces from Morocco include antique, handmade kilim rugs, baskets, and blankets. From Italy, there are handcrafted ceramic lamps in white and bronze.
PRODUCT AND FURNTIURE DESIGN
Maison Gerard, one of the world’s leading furniture galleries specializing in fine Art Deco and contemporary design, debuted the Bronze Age: Constantine Series by Mark Zeff. For this collection, Zeff took inspiration from his favorite Art Deco and 1940’s French modernist designers. Bronze is the material that forms the foundation of this collection that consists of a desk, console, club chair, armchair, and ottoman.
Watermark Designs, a leading manufacturer of decorative plumbing fixtures, bathroom accessories, and lighting and elegant hardware for the luxury commercial and residential markets, created a proprietary plumbing fixture collection by Zeff. This collection was used exclusively at the Sherwood development, and a second line, H-Line, was launched and available nationwide.
Zeff, who began his career in residential design, has created homes for clients including Hilary Swank, Annie Leibovitz, Alexis Bittar, and Gabriel Bryne, among others.
MARKZEFF is counted among the Top-200 Interior Design Giants and the top 75 Hospitality Giants in Interior Design magazine. MARKZEFF is an award wining firm whose many accolades include: Best of the Year Award by Interior Design for Hospitality and Office Design, Hospitality Design Award for Best Hotel/Day Spa, Gold Key Award for Excellence in Hospitality Design, How International Design Award for Environmental Graphics, and Print magazine’s Design Annual Award and Creativity + Commerce.
MARKZEFF’s work has appeared in numerous publications including: The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Interior Design, Architectural Digest.com, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Los Angeles Times, Travel + Leisure, Elle Décor, Financial Times How to Spend It, Conde Nast Traveler, I.D., Details, Hospitality Design, New York, Food & Wine, Wallpaper, New York, Las Vegas Review-Journal, and Philadelphia Inquirer among others.