Big Mack

It’s always impressive when a young talent makes a big impact on the interior design community. It’s even more notable when you can already be considered a professional pioneer. 

Marcus Mack is our in-house Interior Designer. He first joined Ideal as a full-time intern while a student at the NDSU School of Interior Design. Since then, Mack has transformed into a full-fledged professional that is sought after for his innovative approach to the modern workspace. 

As one of the relatively few African American Interior Designers on the local scene, he is also considered a trailblazer for others in the field. We recently sat down to talk about his work process and emerging trends he believes will impact the future of the business. 

Diverse in Talent

The first thing you notice about Mack in person is his infectious smile. It is clear he brings the same kind of inner light to his work. While it may seem a small detail, we found it impressive how Mack has already made Ideal’s new HQ feel like a place you’d actually leave home to spend a day or two in the office. 

“A client called the new trend in commercial interiors “res-a-mercial” which cleverly describes the work I do for clients,” said Mack. You see his approach clearly reflected in the commercial lines that Mack and others have chosen for Ideal to represent. These include award-winnng products like the Honey modular work system from Darran, soft seating from Via, new solutions from Mien, and many more. 

Marcus Mack in the new HQ of Ideal Commercial Interiors in Minneapolis.

“I gravitate to furnishings and systems that are fluid, open and diverse.” 

If you were to pin Mack down to a single word to describe his process it would be “elevated.” Every project for him is a lift of sorts that begins with determining the parameters of a space (called a space plan) and then carefully selecting the elements that will create the “ideal” workspace, one that is comfortable, functional and diverse. 

“When I talk about elevating a project, I truly mean that every detail, from the textiles to the fixtures and furnishings should be more than thought up, but also thought through. This way everything I design into an interior space has a place and a purpose. And to use an old expression, Ideal tries to meet the needs of “every pocketbook.” says Mack. 

Mack calls his work and approach “elevated.” Our impression of the spaces that Ideal is progressively creating for a diverse range of clients –from health care and education to large government and Fortune-class corporate installations – is the quiet elegance of the interiors that always have an accent. If we were to pinpoint the quality of this young designer’s work, we’d say it is an aspirational quality that leaves you feeling refreshed. 

It’s amazing, really, how relaxed this Interior Designer seems, as Ideal Commercial Interiors continues to grow at a breakneck pace. Case in point, shortly after opening their new facilities in the Northwind Lofts in the North Loop of Minneapolis, the company doubled the size of the space. Mack mentioned that he sees this expansion as an opportunity to build fixtures that will allow Ideal to showcase many more of their innovative lines, including the Frasch line of finishes that Mack considers a perennial favorite. 

It is at this point in an interview, that you ask the subject about their life beyond work. While Mack has a diverse set of interests, he has a devotion to his craft that is characteristic of top creatives. 

Given the stature that he has achieved at a relatively young age, simply focusing on his daily work is exceptionally fulfilling. “I like saying that business is an adventure,” says Mack, “and if that is true, then the bigger the business, the bigger the adventure.” 

As Ideal continues to grow, his life is not about surviving the daily grind, but thriving in a fast-paced world. 

Which brings us back to the “pioneering” part of his journey. You need only to attend an industry conference in the Twin Cities to see the paucity of BIPOC representation in commercial interiors and interior design. BIPOC professionals are very much the exception, not the rule. While some will argue this diminishes what “could be,” Mack has little time for abstractions. As a man of action, he believes that if he can make it, others can follow and that the proof is in the doing. Spoken like a trailblazer, we’d say. You go, Big Mack, we got you.  

(This is the first in a series of interviews on what it means to be Ideal.)