Location: Brooklyn NY
Type: Commercial interior
Size: 1,000-sf renovation
Team: Michael Lillard
Program: Two-person work station with copy/print and storage, plus four-person work area, and conference room/sample library
ABA’s NYC Office is configured as a room-within-a-room, a figure/ground study with the overall cube-like workstation reduced/eroded to those surfaces that support function, circulation, sight-lines - the scenario evoking that of an abstracted aediculated space. The skeletal structure, not only opens the space to the surrounding walls for art display, but is a fragmented form that is completed in the mind's eye similar to how a traditional aediculated space (often merely corner posts and a ceiling/roof, framing artwork) is likewise completed. Thus, the structure is a "ghost" of its conceptual, complete self. The idea of evoking things that are not present, or evolving new things from past things, is further entwined here with the use of recycled materials. The aged and scared lumber is left as-is to expose its prior physical configurations. The resulting sculptural formwork with pronounced blemishes, layered space and meanings, is an example of ABA's low/high design approach, here: combining the practical use of recycled materials with a playful interpretation of aediculated space (low costs merged with high ideals).
The office was previously a storage area and so contained several wood-shelving units. The wood is reconfigured to create “new” desks, shelves, storage cabinets, and worktables. This saved the lumber from the landfill and cut construction costs dramatically. Inexpensive industrial strip lights and vintage fixtures are coupled with the upcycled lumber, maintaining an overall bare-bones aesthetic. The T5 florescent lights are crudely wrapped with color gels, softening the lighting while adding a bit of levity. All the design choices, while stark and divergent, remain cohesive. The sculptural workstation resonates with the art on the surrounding walls, no flashy materials or products to distract from ideas. While the project was completed on a minimal budget, a high-end aesthetic was achieved nonetheless. Finding cost-effective solutions to create artfully-nuanced work is important to ABA's design process. No matter the project budget or aesthetic goals, high-end or low-end, ABA strives to find innovative ways to exceed client expectations.