MN architecture firm wins clients by translating an inclusive mission into unique spaces

Applause is welcome at MN, whose founding mission is to welcome and celebrate the diversity of New York City, both in terms of ethnicity and vision, and to foster inclusion among its staff by matters of race, sex, origin and experience.

“I am always happy that you see people clamoring to enter restaurants,” said MN partner Preeti Sriratana. “But people don’t realize that these spaces were designed by this team, that they are projects of a black creative director.”

Garnett is from Oakland, California. Sriratana, who oversees client relations, is a child of Thai immigrants who grew up in rural Illinois. Together with COO Steven Harper, who is white and originally from North Carolina, they run one of the few award-winning American architectural firms co-led by people of color in an industry where only 2% of American architects are black. , according to the National Council of Architects Registration Offices. The three partners created the firm after connecting with their mutual love of the city for its ability to welcome all kinds of people.

At MN, of the 18 full-time employees of all seniority levels, half are people of color and, separately, half are women.

Company policy emphasizes kindness. Late nights are rare, and despite the contingencies and emergencies inherent in construction projects, the average work week is between 40 and 45 hours. The partners did not make any layoffs during the pandemic.

MN was founded in 2015 and already has a list of reputable restaurants in its portfolio. In addition to Saga, there is Crown Shy, Cote and his bar Undercote, and Nami Nori. MN has built the Crye Precision space at Brooklyn Navy Yard and will be redesigning an iconic location that he cannot yet disclose. When Del Posto, a former Mario Batali restaurant, opens under new management, it will also be designed by MN.

The company’s hospitality practice began in 2014, just before its official launch, when art dealer Larry Gagosian and celebrity sushi chef Masa Takayama opened Kappo Masa restaurant. Since then, customers have said the company’s designs are having real business results. At Shuko, a Japanese restaurant near Union Square, the private dining room was usually not reserved. After the MN’s renovation, groups started booking it twice a night, he says.

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