With a More Spacious Showroom, Zak + Fox Embraces New Beginnings

The purveyor of artisan-made fabrics and wallpapers cozies into a gut-renovated New York City showroom that embodies founder Zak Profera’s adventurous spirit.

For the past twelve years, Zak + Fox has established itself as one of the design trade’s go-to sources for artisan-made fabrics and traditionally printed wallpapers. Though his business was flourishing, founder Zak Profera was grappling with heart-wrenching change, namely the loss of Shinji, his longtime Shiba Inu companion who inspired the Fox in his company’s name. He channeled that heartache into creating the Harvest collection of poetic, anecdotal fabrics that debuted to acclaim at Paris Déco Off last month. At the same time, he was eyeing expansion into new product categories like custom rugs, so a more spacious showroom was top of mind as he started fully embracing new beginnings. “We were outgrowing our old space,” Profera tells Surface, “and were looking to create something that we knew we’d be in long-term.” 

The successor would have big shoes to fill: since 2018, the business had occupied a secluded, 3,000-square-foot jewel box on the fourth floor of a historic building on Park Avenue South. But he found the perfect option just a few blocks away that offered double the square footage and quickly got to work gutting, rebuilding, and decorating it to reflect his brand’s adventurous spirit. Crafting a showroom from the ground-up while also thinking about his business needs a decade down the line proved no small feat. “There are endless decisions to make,” Profera says. “We had to think about how to best represent the brand and the client experience while simultaneously thinking about how to build something functional.” 

The answer, it turns out, lies in warm, old-world textures commingled with vintage midcentury furnishings that allude to what Profera describes as a “forgotten New York.” Cozy wooden displays showcase an extensive array of Zak + Fox textiles while giving each fabric room to breathe. Vintage and antique furniture sourced from Parisian flea markets, quaint shops in Hudson, and his own storage units complements the oak’s rustic sheen, embodying the thirst for travel and growing repertoire of cultural references that continue to set his brand apart. That alchemy forges a lived-in ambience layered with the narratives woven into his brand and the city he plans to call home for the near future. “There’s something irreplaceable about the experience of being here,” Profera says. “Many designers and architects keep practices down here and it has always been important for us to serve as a space for that community.”

All photography by Stephen Kent Johnson.

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