is a building and interior design studio that works with cultural institutions, forward-thinking companies, and creative individuals to tell their stories through design. We work between scales and disciplines, designing environments, objects and experiences that convey a sense of elegance, care and levity.
Civilian Objects, a new retail platform for manufactured home and office goods will be launching in October 2021.
Bard College Berlin Residences Opening Summer 2021
Berlin DEBard College Berlin Residences Opening Summer 2021
Berlin DECIVILIAN is leading the architectural and interior design effort to create new student residences for Bard College Berlin that maximizes the students’ experience of living and learning in the artistic, political, and economic center of Europe.
Located in leafy Pankow, the former East German embassy district, and arraying 39 apartments across 46, 000 SF, the fraternal twin buildings respond to the multifarious architectural character of the neighborhood and create porous connections with the surrounding institutional buildings. Arranged perpendicularly on a corner lot, the buildings frame a courtyard that serves as an informal community gathering place and provides a gateway between the adjacent Intelligienzberg Park and Bard College Berlin’s outdoor residential amenity spaces.
New Lab 77 Washington 2020
Brooklyn NYNew Lab 77 Washington 2020
Brooklyn NYCIVILIAN collaborated with Newlab to reimagine the interiors of a 1930s-era manufacturing building at 77 Washington Avenue into a cutting-edge space designed to accommodate Newlab’s rapidly expanding community of experts and innovators applying transformative technology to solve the world’s biggest challenges.
The new project follows CIVILIAN’s work designing Newlab’s 84,000 square-foot headquarters at Building 128, a former shipbuilding facility in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. A few blocks from the Navy Yard, Newlab 77 Washington provides six floors of additional space for the burgeoning Newlab community to bring together entrepreneurs, engineers, inventors and industry leaders to create sustainable solutions and enterprises.
Photography by Brian W. Ferry
Fort Greene Townhouse 2020
Brooklyn NYFort Greene Townhouse 2020
Brooklyn NYThrough a series of surgical interventions, CIVILIAN transformed the parlor level of a historic Fort Greene townhouse for an active family, turning the previously cramped and partitioned space into a free-flowing living-and-dining area that better supports the client’s lifestyle. By boldly rethinking circulation and discreetly integrating storage, the redesign creates open, flexible spaces for family life, working, and entertaining guests.
Throughout, CIVILIAN modernized the interiors while embracing and elevating their historic character by crafting contemporary elements that integrate sympathetically with original features of the house.
Photography by Brian W. Ferry
CIEE Rome Global Institute 2019
Rome ITCIEE Rome Global Institute 2019
Rome ITCIVILIAN transformed a former embassy in Palazzo Capizucchi—a 16th-century ecclesiastical residence in the heart of Rome—into a new academic center for the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE).
Throughout, the project’s sensibility pays homage both to the attenuated language of Baroque interior ornamentation and the asymmetrical geometries of 1950s Italian design. The result is a space where the program, architecture, and interior design coincide to offer study-abroad students a singular experience that is deeply rooted in the culture and history of Rome.
Photography by Rocco Rorandelli.
Exalt Youth Office 2019
New York NYExalt Youth Office 2019
New York NYExalt—a non-profit that supports court-involved youth—hired CIVILIAN to transform a cramped and dated space in a 1901 office building into an inspiring environment that empowers participants to learn marketable skills and find steady jobs. CIVILIAN designed its new 4,000 sq ft space to be a dual-use office and classroom.
With seating for 16 staff, a lounge area, a pantry, two meeting rooms, printing and IT facilities, and two classrooms, Exalt is able to triple its previous level of service. Through these updated and expanded facilities, the organization is better-poised to demonstrate to more young New Yorkers the power of educational engagement as an alternative to criminal justice involvement.
Photography by James Chororos
Shared Living Studio Prototype 2017
Brooklyn NYShared Living Studio Prototype 2017
Brooklyn NYA 290 sq ft living-space for two with kitchenette, in-suite bath, dining zone, separated lounging and sleeping areas, with plenty of storage. Prepared as part of a marketing effort for the boutique hostel and student residence brand Other Spaces and constructed in a warehouse in Brooklyn. Project design in collaboration with Stonehill Taylor Architects.
Photography by James Chororos
Gowanus Project Space 2017
Brooklyn NYGowanus Project Space 2017
Brooklyn NYA 4,000 sf office and studio on the ground floor of a converted Gowanus warehouse. The renovation restored the facade and converted the former ground-floor woodworking shop into a flexible gallery, studio space, office, garage and gym.
Photography by James Chororos and Chris Mosier
Brooklyn NYNewlab 2016
Brooklyn NYCIVILIAN, in collaboration with DBI Projects and Marvel Architects, was tasked with turning a century-old ship building facility into a multidisciplinary space for Newlab, a technology hub built to solve systemic challenges with frontier technologies..
Photography by Spencer Lowell
CIEE Berlin Global Institute & Dormitory 2015
Berlin DECIEE Berlin Global Institute & Dormitory 2015
Berlin DEThe Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) is a global nonprofit that enhances students’ intercultural skills through enriching study-abroad programs. CIVILIAN led the transformation of a historic factory in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district into an international campus that aligned with the organization’s goal of providing students with flexible and unique study-abroad experiences.
Photography by Chris Mosier
Jardins de Métis International Garden Festival 2014
Grand-Métis QCJardins de Métis International Garden Festival 2014
- CIVILIAN named AN Interior Magazine Top 50 US firms
- Newlab 77 Washington featured in Domus
- Yellowtrace publishes Newlab 77 Washington
- AN Interior interviews CIVILIAN and writes on Newlab 77 Washington
- Frame Magazine publishes Exalt Youth
- Interior Design Magazine profiles Exalt Youth's new space
- Metropolis Magazine features Exalt Youth
Nicko Elliott, PrincipalNicko Elliott, PrincipalNicko Elliott is the principal and co-founder of CIVILIAN. He was previously Creative Partner at the real estate development firm Macro Sea, where he led the design of innovative living and working development projects including Newlab in Brooklyn, and CIEE'S Global Institute in Berlin. Prior to that Nicko worked on projects ranging from penthouse renovations along Central Park, implementing a contemporary urban waterway plan in the medieval center of Fez, Morocco, to collaborating on a residence/gallery with Ai Weiwei in Shanghai. Nicko holds a Master of Architecture from the University of Toronto and an undergraduate degree in Musicology from Western University.
Ksenia Kagner, Co-founderKsenia Kagner, Co-founderKsenia Kagner is the co-founder of CIVILIAN and leads creative direction and new enterprises. Prior to co-founding CIVILIAN, Ksenia led design at WeWork, where she collaborated with cross-functional tech, sales and real estate teams, and fostered partner relationships with global clients and Fortune 500 companies such as Google and Microsoft. She led the renovation of the Chicago Navy Pier while at James Corner Field Operations, and has worked for leading architectural firms in Rotterdam, London, and Berlin. Ksenia earned her Master of Architecture at McGill University and her undergraduate degree in architecture from the University of Waterloo.