Skyscrapers, bridges, wireless technology, etc. are all things that most of us ponder from afar with some fascination. Glen Coben, however, grew up with a father whose engineering projects caught his imagination and passion early in life and inspired him to be part of the building process. Coben, however, was intrigued by the idea of collaborating with people to extract their vision and dreams and bring them to life, so he decided to study architecture and design.
Coben graduated from Cornell in 1985 after exciting stints as a teaching assistant in the College of Hotel Management, surveying architectural ruins in Rome, working as a field architect in Sardis, Turkey, and then discovering the realities of on-site building construction in New York.
After graduating, Coben joined the architecture and design office of SITE Projects, Inc. as an associate from 1987 - 1992. Some of his projects included: The Plaza and Park at Ross’s Landing, in downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee; The Four Continents Bridge in Hiroshima, Japan; and The Isuzu Space Station, a children’s park in Yokohama, Japan.
In 1992, Coben joined NIKE’s retail design division as the director of the store planning and design group. His responsibilities included overseeing the designs of all domestic and international NIKETOWNS and assuring a successful completion both aesthetically and financially. He also served on the internal advisory board for diversity at Nike. Coben learned at Nike how to take a global brand’s mission statement and express those values in a way that is locally relevant, ties-in with the community, and yet resonates globally.
In 1996, Coben joined the Rockwell Group and became a principal in the firm. He led a group of over thirty architects, designers and personnel in the creation, development and implementation of location-based entertainment and hospitality facilities throughout the world. Projects included: The Theater for the Academy Awards, Hollywood, California for Trizec Hahn Centers; The Hacienda Football Stadium, Los Angeles, California for Michael Ovitz; The Coca-Cola Sky Field, Atlanta, Georgia.
In April 2000, Coben opened Glen & Company in order to provide customized designs that realize a client’s vision while also engaging their customers. There is a trend in the market towards collaborative design that enhances a guest experience while reinforcing a brand’s core values. As brands look to partake in the arts, humanities, sports, etc., in order to be where their customers are, a stinging reality is setting in; just hanging up a sign in left field or blasting your brand on a jumbotron is not registering in a meaningful way with consumers. Coben’s successful projects demonstrate that brands can integrate into the lives of their customers, but it needs to be in a seamless way that adds to the experience.
Glen & Company’s current projects include the design, development and implementation of several value-oriented hotel projects in the creation of urban examples of how a hotel’s brand standards can be challenged and re-designed to meet the demands of being located in an urban location such as Manhattan.
Glen & Company projects have been published in Hospitality Design, Metropolis, Interior Design and have been cited in The New York Times. In 2002 the firm was a Gold Key Award Finalist for Guest Room Design (Flatotel) in the competition sponsored by Hospitality Design magazine and was recognized by Hospitality Design magazine as one The New Breed in 2003. The April 2007 issue of Hospitality Design Magazine features 7 Square Restaurant, while the October 2008 issue features where Glen Coben likes to shop in Tokyo.
Glen Coben is a member of Board of Advisors of Culintro, a culinary trade organization whose mission is to establish a source that will provide insights on major trends, access to business professionals, and serve as a gateway to influence culinary industry development. Additionally, Glen Coben recently served as an Assistant Visiting Professor of Interior Design at Pratt Institute.