Text description provided by the architects. A/D/O, the new design space in Greenpoint, Brooklyn founded by MINI, has completed construction, and will open to the public following the holiday season. Designed by Brooklyn based nARCHITECTS - the award-winning firm, founded by Principals Eric Bunge and Mimi Hoang, that was behind New York City’s first micro-unit building – A/D/O will provide a groundbreaking new kind of space for designers.
Occupying a former warehouse at the intersection of Norman and Wythe Avenues in Greenpoint, the new space will be open to the general public, combining spaces for events and exhibitions, design education, free communal workspace, a fabrication lab, a design shop, and the new restaurant Norman, by chef Fredrik Berselius with Claus Meyer. The building will also host Urban-X, an accelerator founded by MINI and SOSV, which supports startups working on products and services to improve urban life.
Reflecting the role of A/D/O in actively encouraging the cross pollination of creative ideas, nARCHITECTS’ transformation of the 23,000sf building was guided by a principle of remixing. According to nARCHITECTS Principal Eric Bunge, “This idea of remix - which we applied to both the physical building and its program - involves placing existing and new conditions into varying and often ambiguous relationships.”
“Rather than simply dividing the existing warehouse into various zones for different activities, or, on the other hand, creating a continuous and undifferentiated space,” says Bunge, “We chose to create variable connections between gastro, event, design, exhibition and retail spaces. Neither rooms nor an open hall, the spaces kind of bleed into each other, allowing people who are curious to see what would normally be going on behind closed doors.”
One example of this intentionally ambiguous approach to remixing can be found in the new “porch” at the main entrance. A triangular section at the southwest corner of the building was removed, replacing an opaque facade with full glazing that invites passersby, and offers wide views down Wythe Avenue from within. While this intervention is clearly new, nARCHITECTS has rebuilt the building's modified outline using the original graffiti covered bricks, resulting in “reconstituted graffiti”. This approach was applied to all the new apertures that have been introduced into the existing façade. “What was really important to us,” says Principal Mimi Hoang, “was to create a project with rich layers of history – of the building, and of the community.”
A central feature of nARCHITECTS' design is a large kaleidoscopic periscope that reflects both the Brooklyn and Manhattan skylines, joining these together into a single horizon - a remixing at an urban scale that visually and metaphorically brings the city together and into the space.
Extending the principle of remixing, nARCHITECTS has designed custom reconfigurable furniture for the project, including the large X-shaped modular “Crosstalk Table”, the “Pie Lounger”, functioning as both seating and a stage; the “Design Library” bleacher seating, and custom tables throughout the restaurant. The flexible nature of this furniture will allow these free-flowing spaces to double as platforms for A/D/O programming.