After more than 30 years as an architect, 25 of them as the head of his own firm, Ted Moudis has his thoughts very much on the here and now — and, quite often, tomorrow.
Ted Moudis Associates is consistently one of the top firms in New York City and across the country, having designed corporate and retail interiors for clients such as the National Football League, Newsweek, Tiffany & Co., Morgan Stanley and Conde Nast.
With their work, the company, which has more than 130 employees with satellite locations in Chicago and London, has been collecting acclaim, being named to the top 100 interior design giants list in Interior Design Magazine and consistently winning at the International Facility Management Association Awards for Excellence.
Perhaps it is this level of success that fuels Moudis’ focus on the here and now. He answers questions about the past, but points to other sources of information, such as a coffee table book that was released for Ted Moudis Associates’ 25th anniversary this year, to better explain his company’s origin story.
When asked about the most difficult part of building his own firm, Moudis answered: “Everything.” This started a series of requests to elaborate, which were always obliged, but with a tone that suggested he would rather be talking about current projects.
“Not good,” he replied when asked what it was like putting up a firm during the “extremely difficult” recession years of the early 1990s. “Many people asked me, why’d you pick this time to start your business. It had nothing to do with the economy,” he said.
He attributed Ted Moudis Associates’ longevity to relationships that “stepped up” to give them work during the lean years of the recession. Their earliest clients include bank, Manufacturers Hanover Trust and investment management company, Jones Lang Wootton.
Moudis’ hesitation when it comes to chit-chat is in sharp contrast to his exuberance when it comes to his firm’s work. “The work that we are doing is at the forefront of the innovative work that’s out there,” he said.
It is this innovation that he points to as his company’s main method of retaining clients. “We have to stay ahead of the times. Staying with the times is too slow,” he said. As office amenities increasingly become recruiting tools to many global companies, Moudis and his architects have been at the forefront of designing innovative spaces to both facilitate productive work and to help people enjoy their working environment.
Having designed pioneering office spaces for a whole array of industries, Moudis said that the sector is constantly changing as the needs of employers change rapidly. Saying that innovation in design can grow stale within six months with the arrival of “something greater and better,” Moudis and his team tends to shoot for longevity with their projects.
“When we design an office space, it can’t be obsloete by the time you move in,” he said. “Years ago, office spaces used to be able to last 10 to 15 years. Now, an office space would last you five years before you consider making changes.”
Ted Moudis Associates may push for a common goal among its designers, but that’s as far as it goes in terms of uniformity. Moudis said that they deliberately avoid having a signature design, saying that “no two clients are alike.”
“I can walk on to a job, never been there before, and I can tell you who designed it. It’s a signature. We do not do that. Every job is designed for the client,” he said.
The firm’s preference for unique designs may be the reason behind the major projects that it has recently worked on.
Ted Moudis Associates designed the headquarters of advertising company Initiative. For the space, the firm perpetuated a new trend in office design, installing cushioned bleacher seats called the “Grandstand” that are meant to encourage collaboration.
The company also made news when it was tapped to design the new office of Compass. The home search app firm recently signed a lease to occupy an additional floor at 90 Fifth Avenue.