Amanda Coen

Brooklyn Night Bazaar Brings Life to Spacious Williamsburg Warehouse

by , 12/17/11

Brooklyn Night Bazaar; Williamsburg; Brooklyn; New York; New York City; night market; flea market; JDS Architects; Julien de Smedt; Ken Farmer; Aaron Broudo; Inhabitat NYC; Inhabitat; Amanda Coen; Amanda Silvana Coen; green design; green architecture; sustainable design; urban planning; public space; sustainable architecture; repurposed space; repurposed materials; industrial warehouse; Nuit Blanche; DoTank: Brooklyn

As the pop-up design movement grows, it seems perfectly logical that Broudo would call upon Ken Farmer to join the team. A member of DoTank: Brooklyn, Farmer is more about taking action than talking even if things happen at an experimental level. He has seen many low-budget projects accomplished in a short amount of time that draw attention and transform the urban landscape. The bazaar is no different. Marrying form and function, Farmer’s innovative vision moves beyond high design, making it an inclusive practice that the public can be a part of and enjoy.

Part of Farmer’s goal was to celebrate work done by hand and the collaborative links that exist in what can often seem an overbearing metropolis. To realize his vision, he contacted world renown architect Julien De Smedt who recently received multiple awards for his ski jump in Norway. Given only about four weeks to complete the project, De Smedt agreed to design the furniture and basic layout and worked within strict time and budget parameters.

For De Smedt, the process was highly rewarding. Most architectural projects are drawn out, many taking years to accomplish. Additionally, he had always been highly inspired by the old Brooklyn hip-hop scene and was excited for the chance to design something that could contribute to urban social life. The atmosphere is fun and casual with paint on the floor that loosely demarcates the various areas- bar, lounge, stage- and guides visitors through the space. The Bazaar is divided into two areas- one with vendors, food and space for talking and the other a ticketed performance space with live music, food, a half pipe and a bar. For the furniture, De Smedt chose to work with plywood because of its relatively low cost and pliability. He designed a series of bars, lounge areas, dividers and stairs that double as seats and display surfaces and will hopefully be used in future markets. A series of huge weather balloons with “Brooklyn Night Bazaar” printed on them draw attention to the expansive vertical space offered by the repurposed warehouse.

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The mega pop-up is something that is increasingly difficult to pull off in urban areas due to costs and zoning rules. Farmer explained it as a fleeting phenomenon that continually gets pushed further and further out of urban centers. He also stressed the importance of such events in the context of a weak economy. “People are boot-strapping through their own ingenuity and we are enabling a platform for it.” In the midst of vendors selling homemade jams, handmade zines, vintage clothing and unique jewelry, Farmer pointed out how De Smedt’s architectural installations add to the space. One of De Smedt’s “stair” designs simultaneously served as a resting spot for a father and son, an intimate couple and a photographer and designer deep in conversation. The bazaar is more than a new means of revenue sources; it’s also about re-creating social ecosystems with an underlying intention of sustainability.

Transcending the reclaimed shipping pallet mentality by enlisting the help of an architect and art director, Broudo’s Bazaar pushes the boundaries of the pop-up movement. Farmer explained, “There is a new economy that needs to be taken seriously and it’s worthy of a presentation level that connotes that.”

The Brooklyn Night Bazaar takes place from 5 p.m. to midnight, Dec. 15-17, at 149 Kent Avenue.

+ Brooklyn Night Bazaar
+ JDS Architects
+ DoTank: Brooklyn

Images © Amanda Silvana Coen for Inhabitat

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