Interior Designer Milo Kleinberg Dies at 97

Milo Kleinberg, the famed interior designer known as the “King of the Garment District,” has died. He was 97.

MKDA, the 75-person architecture and interior design firm Kleinberg founded, announced his death. He passed on June 19, but MKDA didn’t disclose his death until this week. While he died at his home in Riverside, the cause was not revealed.

Kleinberg was born in Vienna, Austria, migrating with his family to the United States after the Nazis began occupying the country in 1939. The family ultimately settled in Brooklyn’s Borough Park neighborhood and after selling handkerchiefs, Kleinberg became an associate with an architect in the city.

In 1959, Kleinberg started Milo Kleinberg Design Associates, a solo operation at the time. Kleinberg found a niche working with commercial real estate players to design spaces that could market the buildings and their amenities.

Nowhere did Kleinberg prove more effective than in Manhattan’s Garment District. Fashion brands flocked to him to design their showrooms, recruited by the likes of Gloria Vanderbilt and Ellen Tracy. A key innovation of his was the use of glass partitions to divide spaces.

Kleinberg’s firm also designed retail and office spaces for a number of clients, including Citibank, Lufthansa, Merrill Lynch and Apple Bank. Additionally, the interior designer offered pro bono consulting services to causes close to his heart, including the Riverdale Jewish Center.

MKDA has four offices across the country, including locations outside of New York City such as Stamford and Miami. Today, it is run by Milo’s sons Michael and Jeffrey Kleinberg, who remembered their father as a philanthropist and “true visionary in the world of interior design.”

Kleinberg is predeceased by his wife of 60 years, Bertha, as well as his sister. In addition to his two sons, he is survived by several grandchildren and great grandchildren, several of whom are roaming the halls as MKDA employees.

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