• 01.31.03

Business Casual

If Abercrombie Fitch were a place, what would it be?

“If Abercrombie & Fitch were a place, what would it be?” In 1998, when the hip clothier spun off from the Limited, A&F CEO Michael Jeffries found himself asking that question. He was determined to trade the retailer’s vanilla office space for a corporate headquarters that would better reflect the brand’s aesthetic. The challenge to create the right feel fell to Ross Anderson of Anderson Architects and his New York – based team. The firm was able to come up with the perfect fit: Their campuslike design, set on 300 wooded acres in New Albany, Ohio, drew inspiration from the retailer’s ruggedly trendy clothing and cheeky corporate attitude. The CEO’s desk-free office is set between two spacious meeting rooms, and it has plenty of windows so that Jeffries can wave to people passing by on the campus below. Stairs lead up to the company “treehouse,” a lofty perch, modeled on a forest-fire lookout tower, that serves as a meeting space for Abercrombie teams. Anderson used inexpensive construction materials — cement board, plywood, cedar — but assembled them as if they were luxurious. Think of it as the office-space equivalent of Abercrombie cargo pants.

About the author

Linda Tischler writes about the intersection of design and business for Fast Company.