Krista Ninivaggi

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Krista Lyn Ninivaggi
BornJune 24, 1979
New Jersey
ResidenceNew York
Alma materRhode Island School of Design
Years active2002-present
Known forHospitality interiors, large-scale multifamily residential interiors
AwardsCurbed Young Gun (2013) Contract Magazine Designer of the Year (2014)

Krista Ninivaggi is an interior designer who has had considerable success in hospitality design. She is one of the few designers named by Contract Magazine as its Designer of the Year while still in her 30's.[1] Her innovation in hospitality design and creative pull in materiality makes her a highly sought after designer. Based in New York, she has recently expanded from her focus on restaurants, perfected during her years at Rockwell Group and AvroKO. Her wider design portfolio now includes projects from art design to offices.

Early life[edit]

Her early life consisted of growing up in New Jersey with her mother and father, Helene and John Ninivaggi.[2] She has one younger sister. During her life in New Jersey she always had a great love for city life. Ninivaggi began her design career at Rhode Island School of Design. She graduated with two bachelor's degrees, one in fine arts and another in architecture. During her years as a student she had several internships, most notably at the Guggenheim Museum and at Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects.[3] After graduation, Ninivaggi decided to pursue her love of urban living and moved to New York City.


New York is where Ninivaggi developed a sophisticated and cutting-edge approach to hospitality design. She mentioned she wanted to be able to "script the night" through her hospitality designs.[3] After graduation, Ninivaggi moved to New York City where she began her career at Rockwell Group in the fall of 2002. After 3 years of working at Rockwell Group, she left the company in 2006 and worked with a design consultancy for a brief period of time, and then moved over to begin work for AvroKO. She credits her time at AvroKO to when she was able to see a number of high concept interiors work realized. Ninivaggi remained at AvroKO until 2010, and then began work at ShoP Architects in 2011. She said that she received the job at ShoP Architects through a softball league that also proved to be an ideal networking opportunity; she played on the field with people who later became her colleagues. During her time at ShoP, she was named director of interiors.[3] At this current time, Ninivaggi has now left ShoP Architects and is working to grow her own firm, K&Co, which specializes in hospitality and large-scale multi-family residential interiors. Because of all of Krista Ninivaggi's success at the various companies she has worked for, she attended the 35th Annual Interiors Awards Breakfast hosted by Contract Magazine, which was held on January 24, 2014. Here she was named the Designer of the Year for 2014.[4]

Materials and fabrication[edit]

During Ninivaggi's time at ShoP she began to work strongly with the relationship between materials and technology. She has spectacular skill in the technique of "direct to fabrication". She used technology such as laser cutter and 3D printers in order to make mockups of various lighting designs, etc.[5] Ninivaggi's expertise in material innovation was also the basis for her contribution to flooring company Tarkett's "Collections Infinies". Ninivaggi is one of the "five creative stars" who were invited to develop designs to be digitally printed on Tarkett's luxury vinyl tile.[6] Her design that was featured is called "Glow", and the designers were said to have been chosen for their "creative strength and vision".[7]


During the beginning of her career at Rockwell Group, Ninivaggi worked on several projects. One of these included the interiors for Nobu Fifty Seven, a sushi restaurant in New York City. As she moved onto work for AvroKO, she worked on the Lily & Bloom Restaurant in Hong Kong's LKF Tower. This project included multiple custom made design elements that she had to take into consideration. While at AvroKO, Ninivaggi also did design work for the Park Avenue Café. This café changes its interiors for each season, which means there are 4 scenarios that Ninivaggi had to design for in this project. During her time at ShoP, Ninivaggi amassed a lengthy portfolio of accomplishments. She is credited with building the ShoP interiors team "virtually from scratch...leading the design of the interiors of Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Shopbop headquarters in Manhattan, projects in Botswana and Washington, D.C., as well as the firm's own new office in the Woolworth Building".[3] For the Barclays center, the spaces included the Vault Suites, individual suites, the 40/40 Club, and nearly every other main area. Ninivaggi's team also designed a prototype for an e-classroom that is to be used in the teachers college at Columbia University.[3] At Ninivaggi's own company, K&Co, one of her most high-profile works was a rainbow pool at residential complex Manhattan Park on Roosevelt Island. In 2015 she collaborated with Pliskin architecture, Citi Habitats New Developments, and artist HOT TEA on a design for what's known as the "pop up pool club" and is considered to be one of the many great public art installations in New York City.[8] In 2016, artist Andrew Faris was the featured artist for the second consecutive year of the project.[9]


  1. ^ Czarneki, John (January 2014). "Krista Ninivaggi". Contract. 55 (1): 51–61.
  2. ^ "Krista Ninivaggi, William Prince". New York. New York Times. 29 March 2009.
  3. ^ a b c d e Czarneki, John (January 2014). ""Krista Ninivaggi."". Contract. 55 (1): 51–61.
  4. ^ ""Contract Celebrates the 35th Annual Interiors Awards."". Contract. 55 (2): 15. 2014.
  5. ^ ""An Interview With Materials And Rapid Prototyping Specialist Krista Ninivaggi."". ArchDaily. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  6. ^ "Tarkett: Collections Infinies - Contract Magazine". Retrieved 2017-04-27.
  7. ^ ""Tarkett Brings Art to Flooring Through Collaboration with Top Designers."". Tarkett. Business Wire. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  8. ^ Dailey, Jessica. "Take a Dip in Roosevelt Island's Wild Rainbow-Painted Pool". Curbed New York. Vox Media Inc. Retrieved 9 November 2016.
  9. ^ "Roosevelt Island's Candy-Colored Pool is Back". Curbed NY. 2016-05-28. Retrieved 2017-04-27.