is New York City-based design entrepreneur. He developed One 7th Avenue South, and created and co-owns the restaurant Hotel Griffou, and the fashion label Karolina Zmarlak.
Born in Stanford, California, Keyes studied urban planning at the Woodrow Wilson School of Princeton University, earning a B.A. in 1995. He was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to study architecture in Barcelona where he earned a Master's degree from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya in 1997. He received a Masters of Science from the Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation in 1999.
Keyes founded MODO to house his spatially based endeavors to use modern techniques in fashion, design and building under one roof. For President Barack Obama’s second inauguration, “roughly 400 guests-including John Legend and Chrissy Teigen, Paula Abdul, Sophia Bush, and designer Karolina Zmarlak - toasted to four more years of Barack Obama at the residence of architect Arthur H. Keyes in Washington, D.C. The evening was hosted by Keyes’s grandson, Jesse, whose design firm MODO was instrumental in remodeling the historical abode.”
Jesse Keyes developed One Seventh Avenue South, a full floor triangular condominium building in downtown Manhattan where Keyes "was looking for a development opportunity," he said, "to make a statement." He is co-owner and operating partner at Hotel Griffou where the design makes reference to New York's past, "As celebrities like Chloë Sevigny, Rachel Ro, Harvey Weinstein, John Leguizamo and Ross Bleckner filter in, the partners are still finding the past a calming obsession." Keyes on his grandfather’s modernist residential masterpiece in DC, “There is a flow from the interior to the exterior, and an inherent sense of design.” The house “embodies the essential modernist tenet of building what you need and nothing more.” MODO designed and developed the Intent Media work environment, open yet with concentrated functionalities, which “befitting a tech company,” enables “hack days” as well as “tech talks".
He is also the co-founder and Business Director of the Karolina Zmarlak fashion label. With his background in architecture and design, Keyes worked with Zmarlak to make conceptual and versatile pieces: “'Just as the Parisian woman is famously able to style the same garment in a myriad of ways with accessories, our pieces can be accessorized within their own structure.'says Keyes." With his partner, Karolina Zmarlak, their designer fashion label was selected as one of sixty “Premier Designers” in the uppermost design category at Neiman Marcus Direct. Keyes produced a film for Karlina Zmarlak that was launched on W Magazine's Fashion Film series: "Double Identity/Podwojna Tozsamosc was inspired by Women of Communism in Poland."
Keyes designed E_P, in the basement of the old CBGB's, which is now below the John Varvatos boutique on the Bowery. "Keyes created the live music private event space working with counterculture artist Sam Bassett" where Axl Rose of Guns N' Roses played and partied after his John Varvatos Concert on February 11, 2011. He also designed the XIX lounge on Kenmare Street, "decked with lipstick-red leather couches ringing the room and a series of 1,000-pound slabs of etched marble hanging on the walls." He wrote a column for Blackbook Magazine, entitled "Dark Design," concerning the aesthetics of nightlife.