A Pelham, NY, Loft: the Office Space of Rose Fass, Owner of fassforward Consulting Group
Photo by Ken Stabile
Six years ago when Rose Fass was scouting a new location to house her growing company, fassforward Consulting Group (fassforward.com), she sought a light, airy, and open space that was also a bit industrial—think SoHo meets the Sound Shore. She found exactly what she was looking for in a second-floor loft space in the Sanborn Map Building on Pelham’s Fifth Avenue. Built in 1905, the brick, gargoyle-adorned building is steeped in history—and intrigue: top-secret maps for Allied invasions in World War II were stored here, under the FBI’s watchful eyes, “and it was here that the confidential plans for the Manhattan Project were conceived,” says Fass, who was hoping the space would be conducive to similarly explosive creativity for her firm. Here, she takes us on an unclassified tour of her corner of the loft.
Photo by Ken Stabile
1/ Fass fell in love with the work of a designer she discovered in Skaneateles, New York, who fashioned translucent colored glass tiles and used them in a dining table. She commissioned him to create similar translucent tile paneling for the desks throughout her office, using shades of green and blue. The colorful tiles have become emblematic of the company, with their images used on the company’s website, business cards, and other material.
2/ “All of our chairs are on wheels,” Fass says, “so that, if someone’s interested, they can wheel themselves over to butt into a conversation. We’ve legitimized eavesdropping—here, it’s okay to listen in. So if you’re gonna make a personal call, it’s a good idea to do it outside.”
3/ “Three of our desks, including mine, were originally used in The Stepford Wives movie set.”
4/ “These are our two awards from Inc. magazine. We’ve been honored by them for the second year in a row, for being one of the fastest-growing small businesses in our category.”
5/ “I love clear glass things, because they remind me of the importance of transparency,” says Fass, who decorated her desk with clear glass pyramid, box, apple, and rose—all gifts.
6/ The loft is adorned with several oversized, train-station-style clocks, because “we really believe that time is the new currency,” says Fass.
7/ The building’s windows are 10-feet high.“We like a lot of natural light, because it really induces creativity,” says Fass, who made their office a no-fluorescent zone; she keeps the overhead lighting off unless absolutely needed. “Fluorescent lights are horrible—they sap your energy.”
8/ “This toy truck is a gift from our biggest client, Verizon.”
9/ “Without any walls, we get so much more square footage out of our space. We use open bookshelf dividers to give us a bit of coziness.”
10/ “Most of my books concern organizational change, transformation, innovation, leadership. I’ve been very inspired by an author named Dr. Peter Koestenbaum. He is the author of The Inner Side of Greatness and The Leadership Diamond. We’ve done a lot work with his material. We also like Geoffrey Moore—Crossing the Chasm and Inside the Tornado.”