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A/D/O is a design space in Greenpoint, Brooklyn that provides a new platform for designers to collaborate and foster a broader conversation across and beyond disciplines. Occupying a former warehouse at the intersection of Norman and Wythe Avenue, the new space will be open to the 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.
Courtesy A/D/O + nARCHITECTS, image courtesy Matthew Carbone
Reflecting the role of A/D/O in actively encouraging the cross pollination of creative ideas, the transformation of the 23,000sf building was guided by a principle of remixing. Rather than simply dividing the existing warehouse into various zones for different uses, or, on the other hand, creating a continuous and undifferentiated space, we chose to create variable connections between gastro, event, design, exhibition and retail spaces. Neither rooms nor an open hall, the spaces bleed into each other, allowing curious visitors to see what would normally be going on behind closed doors.
The principle of remix extends to the physical transformation of the formerly opaque one-story building by maintaining much of the existing structure and creating contrast between old and new materials in the areas of intervention. By removing a triangular section at the corner of the building and inserting full height glazing, a main entry ‘Porch’ invites in passersby and offers wide views down Wythe Avenue from within. While this intervention is clearly new, the building’s modified outline was rebuilt using the original graffiti-covered bricks, resulting in what we now refer to as “reconstituted graffiti.” This approach also frames the many new apertures introduced into the existing façade.
A central feature of the design is a large overhead kaleidoscopic ‘Periscope’ that reflects and joins the Brooklyn and Manhattan skylines into a single horizon – a remixing at an urban scale that visually and metaphorically brings the city together into the space.
Fredrik Berselius (Aska) and Claus Meyer (Great Northern Food Hall and Agern) are partnering with A/D/O as co-restaurateurs to open the restaurant, bar and café within A/D/O. nARCHITECTS' approach to the design of this 160-seat restaurant extends the idea of remix, by contrasting newly inserted elements with the rough existing brick walls. A zig-zagging "curtain wall" allows the restaurant to be closed off from the Public Space during events. We remixed inside and outside by removing the roof over part of the building and replacing it with an open steel frame, resulting in an outdoor dining and event space.
Extending the principle of remixing, we 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 for the restaurant. The flexible nature of this furniture allows the free-flowing spaces to double as platforms for A/D/O programming.