After completing a degree in architecture and design at Carnegie Mellon University, Richard Klein moved to New York City and served as design manager for the NYCSCA (New York City School Construction Authority). Working closely with leading architects to redesign buildings in the nation’s largest school system, Richard honed an authoritative eye for detail at all levels of the design process. Motivated by the burgeoning design culture of the West Coast, Richard relocated to San Francisco to further explore his interest in design and lifestyle philosophies that were taking root there in the early 90’s. Settling in San Francisco, Richard was an Art Director of Macy’s West, specifically working with Macy’s magazine. He also began to take on various freelance projects within the design community quickly becoming a fixture in the Bay Area’s design community and working with such companies as Wells Fargo, Levi’s and Esprit. Merging his innate ability to cultivate and curate pioneering local talent, Richard created the Surface Gallery in San Francisco. Through viral marketing and weekly events, the gallery gained increased popularity among the city’s creative community. Richard quickly realized the need to provide a larger conduit in order to properly discuss and disseminate the work of these emerging artists. The gallery morphed into a publication and Surface Magazine was born in 1993. In tandem with the exhibitions, Surface magazine focused on inventive West Coast artists and designers hand-picked by Richard. Richard began to develop an international reach locating edgy talent from around the globe.
With advertisers lining up at Surface’s door, Richard began focusing his efforts more on the publishing side, and paying special attention to developing the brand identity of the rapidly expanding media company. Within a short period of concentrating on the business side of the enterprise, Richard quickly realized the potential for the brand to move beyond the book, expanding Surface’s trademark ability to locate and support new talent into larger scale three dimensional projects. Richard conceived, developed and launched several brand programs that resonated with the international design community. Furthering the capacity of the Surface lifestyle, Richard collaborated with the Hotel on Rivington in New York City’s Lower East Side to create a two- story penthouse that lets Surface guests and designers live in ultimate luxury as curated by Surface.
Seventeen years after launching the first issue of Surface, Richard Klein has seen the circulation of the magazine blossom to 135,000 and his independent media brand has become the focal point for a loyal community of design enthusiasts and opinion-leading readers that reside in well over 200 countries. In 2008, Richard oversaw the licensing of the Surface brand to a Beijing publishing company – and Surface China was born.
Over the last year, Richard has lead the launch of the DOT429 brand. He is currently the CEO of dot429, participates on the San Francisco leadership council of GLAAD, and is on the advisory board of MCF. Richard is the Co-chair of the San Francisco Glaad media awards in June of 2010.