More akin to a hospitality brand, The Malin West Village offers a premium service in its work-focused members club with interiors inspired by the local neighbourhood and historical building
For nearly two decades, the late conceptual painter Jennifer Bartlett both resided and worked on her post-minimalist oeuvre at 134 Charles Street, in New York’s West Village. Otherwise known as the American Railway Supply Building, the landmarked, multi-use edifice dates to 1911, when it was a factory churning out the likes of brass baggage checks and badges for the railroad industry. Later, in the 1960s, automobile scion Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. transformed it into a showcase for his personal collection of art and artifacts.
Ciaran McGuigan, founder and CEO of The Malin, was so enthralled by this cultural and industrial heritage that he decided to open the third outpost of his burgeoning members-only workspace here. “The history of the building is incredible, and I have long been obsessed with Jennifer Bartlett. She’s an artist I’m attracted to in relation to her use of colour,” says McGuigan.
Comprising 10,000 square feet over two floors, the Gallery and the Studio, The Malin West Village follows intimate locations in a Soho loft and at The William Vale hotel in Williamsburg. Members (capacity is limited to always ensure a peaceful ambience) choose from communal seating, dedicated bespoke desks demarcated by poured crystal dividers, and private offices. They brainstorm in meeting rooms, Zoom with colleagues in soundproof booths, and take breaks in the kitchen and outdoor courtyard.
Inspired by the neighbourhood’s past, McGuigan, who also serves as creative director of Orior, the Irish furniture company his parents launched in 1979, led the bohemian-chic design of The Malin West Village. Rustic brickwork was unearthed from behind walls and drop ceilings gave way to original wooden beams. “We brought these elements back to their raw forms,” points out McGuigan, and they are complemented by millwork that nods to bygone train cars and door frames that remain adorned with Bartlett’s art.
The vivid hues, the marble, and the textured bouclés all reflect McGuigan’s luxe, soulful approach to his business. “I don’t think of The Malin as a co-working brand, but a hospitality brand,” he explains. “It’s a place where names are remembered, and notes are handwritten. Our general managers are looking after a finite number of people, not the masses, so they know who their members are and can champion their needs on a day-to-day basis. They have an owner-operator mentality.”
McGuigan deems the hushed library, named for Bartlett, the centrepiece of The Malin West Village. “The Calico wallpaper, the old windows, the Pierre Frey velvet fabric on the sofa, the beautiful travertine table—all the materials we’ve juxtaposed within that space make it sing,” he says. He’s also impressed by the garden level below the parlour. “With its 12-foot-high-ceilings and little terrace you don’t think you’re in a basement. The team did a phenomenal job making it feel on par with the first floor,” he adds.
One of the biggest compliments that McGuigan frequently receives is how the vibe is comfortable, not highbrow. That’s exactly the atmosphere he wanted to create when he first conceived of The Malin while holed up in Ireland during the pandemic and imagining the precarious future of the office. “It’s inviting, warm, convenient, and functional at the same time,” McGuigan says of The Malin overall, and “it’s striking a chord.” Next up is a 16,500-square-foot branch in Nashville’s Wedgewood-Houston area, the first of several properties slated to open by the end of the year.
Images by Sean Robertson
Enjoyed this article? Read more: DesignAgency pays homage to the Venice Beach neighbourhood for the LA outpost of NeueHouse