Fabrica 718 Transforms Retro School Desks into a Bar for Veronica People’s Club in Brooklyn

by , 04/21/11
filed under: Architecture,Brooklyn

veronica peoples club, fabrica 718, greenpoint, refurbished design, school desks, bar, heather millstone, light fixture, desk legs, pendant, hanging

© Sean Hemmerle (left) / © William Mebane (right) via Fabrica 718, LLC

Refurbished school desks from the 1950s purchased by Heather online serve as the principal element of the design. The trapezoidal solid wood tabletops are arranged side-by-side to form the bartop, while frames and legs were transformed by craftsman David Jesse Ramirez into new, inventive furnishings that look like rare items from vintage stores. Cubbies taken from the underside of the desks are assembled into a shelving unit at the bar. LED light fixtures are built from cut leg posts and attached to the walls, while a central feature of the bar, an undulating hanging light fixture, is assembled from entire desk legs. The legs are welded in a series, mirrored, so that the feet of each pair of legs form an opening, where a lamp is attached. Together, the crafted pieces carry a common aesthetic much more effectively than a simple hodgepodge of found objects, and express the collaborative tendencies of the design team.

The deconstructed desks establish the “creative workshop” spirit of the space, and durable non-toxic materials are manipulated to complete the design. A screen wall constructed from an aluminum mesh and a kit-of-parts wall shelving unit encases a stairwell down to the basement, and doubles as display shelving for liquor bottles. The screen creates the illusion of a larger space, and allows light to filter into the downstairs space, decreasing the demand for artificial lighting. A 1950s steel cabinet salvaged from the renovation of a Pratt dormitory is used to store dinnerware. Booths are constructed with minimal waste from durable cementitious boards. The half-pipe shaped seats, inspired by a nearby indoor skate collective, are functionally and formally reminiscent of soda shop booths, further evoking a 1950s, coming-of-age theme.