Sandow Makes Strategic Investment in Surface Media and Merges Design Agency Culture+Commerce into Surface
Today Sandow CEO Adam Sandow and Surface Media CEO Marc Lotenberg announce that Surface Media, a design-focused multimedia company, has merged with Culture+Commerce (C+C), the 20-year-old agency representing some of the world’s top designers. Following a significant investment from Sandow, C+C’s former parent company, this strategic commitment is intended to considerably expand the reach and foster the growth of both C+C and Surface Media.
Culture+Commerce is widely known for connecting innovative design professionals to the most dynamic brands and businesses in the world. Surface Media is a storytelling company that looks at the world through the lens of design and includes a digital platform at SurfaceMag.com, print magazines Surface and Watch Journal, a custom publishing unit, a licensing arm with SurfaceHotels.com, and a highly regarded event program.
As part of Surface Media, C+C is now managed by Lauren De Niro Pipher, who previously held senior positions in sales, investor relations, and global business development at both Uber and Virgin Galactic. C+C is expanding as an agency under Surface to include both emerging and established designers with proven talent whose work meets the quality standards set by Surface Media. C+C also will offer consulting services to companies and brands seeking advisement on strategy related to design. The agency will focus on creative representation, brand and business development, digital marketing, and strategic partnerships for both the designers and brands it represents.
The decision by Sandow to invest in Surface Media was driven by the shared focus on design of both C+C and Surface. “The merging of Culture+Commerce and Surface Media is a natural extension of the collaborative relationship we’ve developed with Surface over the last four years, and we look forward to watching its growth and success under Marc’s and Lauren’s leadership,” says Sandow.
Lotenberg and Pipher immediately revised the agency’s business model, evolving it from a commission and royalty-based fee structure to a simplified retainer model focused on accountability and results. “We consider the designers we work with to be partners in the business and believe this will allow for a more transparent relationship and give our designers 100 percent of the proceeds from their work,” says Lotenberg. “Demand for quality design is growing at an exponential rate. These designers trust us and we value them. Now, we can expand our relationship to not only offer platforms to tell their stories and showcase their work, but to help guide and position them for further success.” Lotenberg adds that Surface will invest in additional staffing and new technologies focused on digital marketing to allow designers better positioning from a business development standpoint and to engage with brands in the most innovative and dynamic ways possible.
Under the new Surface Media business model and with Pipher at the helm, C+C already has signed a range of designers across a variety of disciplines, including Dror Benshetrit, Todd Bracher, Paul Cocksedge, Joe Doucet, Benjamin Hubert, and Fernando Mastrangelo. “I am honored to represent these extraordinary designers and to work with the leadership team at Surface Media to guide them all toward exciting new business collaborations and future success,” says Pipher. “We look forward to announcing even more news to the international design community in the coming months.”
Surface editor-in-chief Spencer Bailey, who also oversees all content as editorial director for Surface Media, adds that C+C is a natural fit for Surface. “This extension of Surface Media—to represent designers from a business perspective—will allow us to offer more value as a company by further diversifying our partnerships with brands and various institutions through more powerful and extensive collaborations,” says Bailey. “Maintaining journalistic integrity and quality standards remain our top priority. Culture+Commerce will not seek or pursue representation of designers or brands that do not meet our editorial standards nor will we as editors treat the work of those clients any differently now that Culture+Commerce is part of Surface Media.”Please visit Culture + Commerce at culturecommerce.com for more information.
Culture+Commerce is a design management agency dedicated to enhancing the value of today’s most innovative designers, architects, businesses, and brands. We represent designers looking to drive profits and artistic progress through a variety of projects, partnerships, and digital marketing. C+C carefully considers the skill set and preferences of each client, working together to promote his or her talent to the most relevant and complementary global brands. We also offer consulting services to companies and brands seeking advisement on business growth and positioning within their respective industries. Access to the resources of Surface Media’s network positions C+C as a leading authority in the business of design.
About Surface Media
Based in New York, Surface Media is a dynamic storytelling company that looks at the world through the lens of design. Its flagship magazine, Surface, was founded in 1993. With various channels to reach its audience—a digital platform at SurfaceMag.com, print magazines Surface and Watch Journal, and a highly regarded events program—Surface Media sets the standard for quality across a vast range of creative disciplines and industries. The company’s custom publishing and native content unit, Surface Studios, partners with brands to produce distinctive projects that speak to design-conscious individuals. Its agency and consultancy, Culture+Commerce, offers representation to emerging and established designers as well as expert guidance to brands seeking design services.
Founded in 2003 by visionary entrepreneur Adam I. Sandow, Sandow delivers powerful products, services, and experiences to a highly selective audience. Serving consumers and businesses across the luxury, design and beauty categories, Sandow’s diverse portfolio includes media brands Interior Design, Luxe Interiors + Design, and NewBeauty, as well as global materials consultancy Material ConneXion and famed retailer Fred Segal. The company’s headquarters are in New York City’s Time-Life Building, with corporate headquarters in South Florida and offices around the world.