Alda Ly Architecture Brings a Well-Curated Identity to Life for Athena Club

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New York, NY — ALA has designed Athena Club’s new 2,300-square-foot Manhattan headquarters, partnering closely with the self-care brand to translate their brand identity from paper to a welcoming space for working.

While ALA works on offices of all scales, with some spanning more than 20,000 square feet, Tania Chau, Director of Interior Design notes that in this case they transformed the space without changing the existing layout, saying that “We wanted to show what we can do with a smaller area and budget, through being really creative with finishes and furniture and without undertaking significant construction work.” 

Athena Club originally achieved success in the direct-to-consumer mass retail razor market with the mission of “better made simple,” and now delivers a range of high-quality, environmentally-friendly body care products at attainable prices. Before approaching ALA to fit out a new office space in Manhattan’s Flatiron District neighborhood, the Athena Club team had meticulously developed its own strong visual identity: a distinctive color palette comprising bright and neutral tones spanning navy to soft pink; values and taglines surrounding wellness, honesty, freedom, fun, community and simplicity; and logos and patterns juxtaposing bold lines and shapes that form playful geometries.

 ALA drew inspiration from these brand expressions, using them as a jumping off point to carefully curate mood boards and craft a custom approach to bring the visuals to life. The resulting program begins with a bold lounge and product area upon entry, giving way to a large conference room, huddle room and an open workspace with a lounge, which collectively accommodate more than 30 staff.

 The entry combines a custom semi-circular channel back sofa by ROARKE Design Studio upholstered in navy velvet atop a pill-shaped peach rug by Warp and Weft. “Athena Club wanted something that felt very communal up in the front, and the custom sofa in their brand blue really makes a statement when you come in,” says Chau. “We've been in the space and have seen staff use it to have meetings and it's a really great, casual gathering or huddle area.”

 Because Athena Club often invites partners and buyers into their office, they wanted an area to display products front and center. ALA designed a custom millwork piece comprising a blue fluted arched niche with open shelves and a backlit logo set against white marble-look quartz with storage beneath.

 As the entry turns the corner into the main open workspace, the designers identified an opportunity to integrate counter and seating areas along a light-washed wall that enjoys views of a neighboring water tower—a classic New York moment. A white-tiled counter with on-brand light blue grout and upholstered rich blue stools wraps along one side, transitioning to a built-in pale blue banquette faced by a curved white Modshop boucle sofa to define a lounge area.

 “The client wanted to have a place where people could sit and have lunch or use it as a casual workspace, so we thought that would be a great place to put a counter and look outside,” Chau says. “We ran the counter around the corner to the other side so it connects that space to the main workspace.”

Athena Club’s office design marked ALA’s first foray into creating a custom workstation set. The firm collaborated with a local Brooklyn millworker to fabricate three rows of workstations that feature a triple-fluted arched leg echoing the detail used in the entry area. “The shape is really beautiful and is a subtle nod to a repeating design motif in the client’s brand,,” observes Chau. “If you pick a standard workstation product, you won’t get that elegant shape in the furniture or the leg."

Meeting rooms and a private office received tailored touches that blend brand cues with employee comforts. In the large conference room, ALA made smart reuse of existing elements left behind by previous tenants, including simple ceiling pendants and media storage millwork, while infusing the room with a strong sense of brand via bold blue walls and large scale digital posters of Athena Club imagery displayed on Samsung Frame TVs. ​ Rove Concept’s Mia Chair adds a distinctive look to the room, and is paired with an oak Union Wood Co. Radius Conference Table. Casala’s Capsule benches upholstered in light blue line the walls, adding a pop of contrast as well as additional seating capacity. ​ 

A three-person meeting room next door contains cozy swivel armchairs with laptop tables around a marble coffee table. Around the corner a private office accommodates the CEO, with a sleek freestanding desk, Eames soft pad leather desk chair, and a curved lounge chair that ​ lends the room a sophisticated yet functional feel. All of the meeting spaces and office feature new wall to wall deep pile carpeting from Warp & Weft in a luminous pale blue with a hint of sheen.

 These touches are more important than ever in the post-Covid office design landscape. ALA has observed clients seeking shorter-term leases and focusing on providing amenities that staff will appreciate: “We're bringing a mix of aspects that they can get at home, like comfort and convenience, and also aspects that they can’t get, like social spaces and a dedicated work area,” says Founder and Principal Alda Ly. “For our workplace projects, the most important part of our process is to listen and help them understand why they need an office so we can design the most successful space for them in this hybrid world.”

Photography by Reid Rolls:

Project Credits:

Client: Athena Club

Address: 915 Broadway, Suite 1408, New York, NY 10010

Interior Design: Alda Ly Architecture PLLC

Project Team: Alda Ly, Principal; Tania Chau, Director; Michaela Delasanta, Designer; Marlee Anderson, Designer; Micah McKelvey, Designer

General Contractor: Darby Construction Services

Millworker: Elephant Custom Furniture

Workroom: Prestige Furniture & Design

Signage: Velement Worldwide

Photography: Reid Rolls 

Materials and Finishes:


  • Custom Sofa - Design by Roarke Design Studio, made by Prestige F&D
  • Arched Display Millwork - Elephant Custom Furniture
  • Backsplash - Silestone Et. Statuario
  • Backlit sign - Velement Worldwide
  • Rug - Warp & Weft Lori Prism rug in Cipria
  • Lighting - Urban Electric Co. Push Sconce in Sapphire Blue

Conference Room:

  • Chairs - Rove Concept Mia
  • Table - Union Wood. Co Radius table
  • Whiteboard - Clarus
  • Benches - Casala Capsule Bench in Febrik Gentle -0733, 0783

Huddle Room:

  • Armchairs - Casa Magna Caprice Swivel armchair
  • C-table - Stylex Trim Task table

Private Office:

  • Desk - CB2 Ridge Bleached Oak Desk
  • Desk chair - MillerKnoll Eames Soft Pad Side Chair, Armless
  • Guest chair - Rove Concepts Nova Lounge chair
  • Storage - Muuto Modular Shelving System in Midnight Blue

Workstation Area:

  • Workstations - custom, made by Elephants Custom Furniture
  • Chairs - Kinnarps Capella chair high black in Camira Xtreme in Rum
  • Dividers - Buzzispace Buzzishield Desk in BuzziVelvet in Blush
  • Mobile Pedestal - Branch Furniture Small Filing Cabinet

Staff Lounge:

  • Tile: Nemo Tile Metro
  • Grout: Starlike EVO
  • Bar Stools - Mobel Font Light bar stools
  • Counter height table - Stylex Obair Round table
  • Sofa - Modshop Sag Harbor sofa
  • Side Tables - Gallotti & Radici Cookies
  • Planters - Ferm Living
  • Custom banquette - Prestige F&D with Elephant Custom Furniture

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About Alda Ly Architecture

Alda Ly Architecture (ALA) is a full service architecture and interior design firm that emphasizes deep listening and hands-on collaboration with clients throughout the design process. The firm serves established organizations as well as entrepreneurs and startups who are looking to rethink traditional healthcare, retail, office, and cultural spaces. ALA is a recognized thought leader in biophilic design and has been featured nationally and internationally in publications such as Metropolis, Contract, Interior Design, and Wallpaper*, among others.

The New York City-based studio’s long list of clients includes Bloomberg, Red Bull, Princeton University, Rent the Runway, Christian Louboutin, The Wing, and women’s healthcare platform, Tia. While ALA’s projects range in scale and type, they all share ALA’s minimalist and playful design vocabulary, and seamlessly combine comfort, wellness, smart planning and fresh interior design concepts. To arrive at these thoughtful, custom solutions, ALA treats each as an opportunity to foster a client’s creativity.

Because the studio often gives form to services and business models that have few spatial precedents, it starts each project with a discovery phase in which an organization’s founders, team members, and users share their individual experiences with that brand; ALA’s ethnographic research becomes the basis of programming and functionality, as well as concepts for layouts and finishes. The Studio is committed to expressing every commission’s potential within the constraints of time and budget.

ALAis a certified Minority and Woman-owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) in NYC.

Alda Ly is founder and principal of ALA. Born in New Zealand and raised in a working-class suburb of Los Angeles, she would watch her cabinetmaker father draw kitchen elevations and accompany him to open houses to see how other people shaped their spaces. From the moment she studied freehand drawing as a UC Berkeley undergrad, Ly knew she wanted to become an architect, and went on to earn a Master’s degree from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. While still a student at Harvard, in 2008 she helped launch MASS Design Group, the award-winning nonprofit design practice dedicated to humanitarian and socially sustainable work.

Since 2002, Ly has lived in New York City and has worked at Rafael Viñoly Architects, 212box, HWKN, and Leong Leong. In these tenures, she nurtured a curiosity in evolving work and cultural spaces, and discovered a talent for leading project teams with empathy. She also co-founded Designers Assembly, which supports young architects who aspire to ethical, creatively fulfilling entrepreneurship. She lives with her husband Rob, a tech product manager, and their son Simon and daughter Stella.