Storytelling has existed as a form of communication for thousands of years. It provided our ancestors with a way of transferring lore from one generation to the next. Our brains process information most effectively when it is linked with raw emotion, as in a story. You’ll never lick a spoon fresh out of the freezer or grab a hot baking sheet from the oven with an uncovered hand – because your parents told you the story of what would happen if you do.

Today businesses take a keen interest in their narratives, too. It’s not enough to simply list a mission statement and core values on a website. To give their messaging more resonance, companies are looking for ways to tell their stories that go beyond marketing and advertising. As an interior designer for corporate spaces, I’m often called upon to tell the story of a business through design. A perfect example of this is the law office of Gallet Dreyer & Berkey, LLP (GDB).

GBD hired my firm in to renovate their offices in New York City. Through clever interior design choices, we were able to create a narrative in design that tells the story of the firm in a way that is subtle, yet powerful. I’d like to share some highlights of this wonderful project with you:

Let’s Begin with the Elevator Foyer

Despite being widely regarded as one of NY’s top firms by Martindale-Hubbell®, GDB’s first objective was to make visitors feel comfortable the minute they step out of the elevator. That led us to choose welcoming wood paneling for the elevator foyer. The warmth and texture of the wood evokes a feeling of humanity and sincerity. The brushed stainless lettering was custom created to match the firm’s logo and articulates clarity and attention to detail. Two of the firm’s core values. The subtle two-toned marble flooring expresses nuances of understanding and trust.

Through the merging of wood, steel and stone GBD is telling their story to every visitor that steps out of the elevator: “We are rock solid, but we’re people, too. Here, you’ll find warmth, attention to detail, and stability all in one place.”

The Reception Area

To reflect the company’s mission of unyielding transparency, we installed transparent double-entry doors that separate the reception area from the “work area” of the office. Once inside the reception area, visitors are greeted by a clean-lined reception desk with a decorative textured glass art wall panel to reflect light, inspire movement, and create openness; staying true to the company’s story.

We love the firm’s art collection and our choice of neutral furniture and finishes makes it really pop. The furniture, despite being minimalist in style, was “tushy tested” by a group of attorneys and the trusted office manager to ensure just the right feel for their clients. Talk about R&D!

The Conference Room

The conference room is dominated by a custom-made gorgeous and impressively long conference table with a built-in integrated communications system for easy access. The lovely pattern in the wood surface defines individual seats and keeps the table from being overly intimidating. Totally in line with the GDB’s story.

With openness and transparency in mind, we created a central visual buffer in glass, which provides spaces for privacy while allowing light to filter through.

The three large bowl fixtures over the coffee table flood are not only striking but also provide a deeply comforting source of light. It’s a bright room, but not intimidating.

The carpet was selected for its supreme durability. A mélange of dark and light fibers will foil the detritus of even the longest meetings. The wall treatment in charcoal and natural linen is the perfect backdrop for more of the firm’s lively hand-selected artwork.

Interior design for corporate spaces provides the wonderful opportunity for us to play the role of storyteller as well as an artist. It is through our use of design as means of exciting the emotions of our clients that we have had the opportunity to create spaces that excite staff, clients and fellow designers alike.

Let’s create spaces like these together.

— Marilyn

Sygrove Interior Design Services

Sygrove Associates Design Group is an NYC interior design company. Our company’s founder Marilyn Sygrove is the lead interior designer on all projects. And she’s as tough as you are when it comes to quality, aesthetics, and coming in on time and on budget.

It all starts with a design consultation with Marilyn. She takes the time to thoroughly understand your design needs then personally directs all interior design, planning, and installation activities. Her work has been delighting clients, co-op and condo boards, and homeowners for over 30 years.

You can reach Marilyn by email at or call her directly at 212.757.0631.

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