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Fabrica 718 Transforms Retro School Desks into a Bar for Veronica People’s Club in Brooklyn
Posted By Leonel Ponce On April 21, 2011 @ 4:10 pm In Architecture,Brooklyn | No Comments
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.
Doors and full-height windows at VPC use small scrap pieces of translucent glass, procured by Heather from construction waste. A metal and wood frame built from scraps gives the impression of another rare antique, and the translucent glass lets light in and creates an aura of mystique via ghostly passers-by. To tie the space together, corrugated aluminum siding is painted white and attached to acoustic ceiling panels, forming a continuous ceiling surfaces that doubles as a light reflector during the day. In conjunction with low-wattage, task lighting fixtures, the panels drastically reduce energy usage  in the bar. A fluorescent light sculpture reminiscent of Dan Flavin’s work provides the only storefront signage, and helps illuminate the interior at night.
The physical elements of Veronica People’s Club exemplify the collaborative ingenuity behind the space’s mission and its creators. Both Heather and Julie believe in the power of working together for a common goal, and of taking unwanted, wasted materials and synthesizing them into something completely fresh and unexpected. The partnership started at Millstone’s East Village  bar Heather’s, and continued on to a renovation of the artist’s apartment. At this stage, these two women can almost read each others’ minds. With the team’s emphasis on refurbished materials,  product design, playfulness, and the creation of the unexpected, an aesthetic may not be apparent until late in the process. That’s where communication and intuition come in. “Julie is an amazing interpreter of the messes in my brain,” says Heather, “she allows me to express myself.”
Self-expression is the name of the game at VPC. Day-to-day operation of the People’s Club, true to its name, builds upon collaboration and inclusiveness. Heather Millstone and her partner, resident chef Dre Herrera, don’t merely run a bar ; they serve food , alcohol, coffee, art , music, networking, fun and a community center to their neighbors. Rotating chefs prepare food for a weekly Sunday brunch in the back patio, with local ingredients . Occasionally, the managers organize a neighborhood potluck, and Dre often makes tamales on busy nights at the bar. VPC hosts a drop-off point for Plovgh , an online food market, where people pick up groceries ordered from local farmers each week. A coffee pick-up window preserves the community connection during the day, when the bar is closed. Permanent and rotating art exhibits adorn the space, rotating musicians and DJs provide consistent entertainment, and the space serves as a welcoming club for creative minds of Brooklyn and beyond.
Carefree and unabashedly inventive as children, Fabrica 718, Heather Millstone and their team combine remnants of past youth into a truly sustainable, creative, community oriented People’s Club.
+ Fabrica 718 
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URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/nyc/fabrica-718-transforms-retro-school-desks-into-a-bar-for-veronica-people%e2%80%99s-club-in-brooklyn/
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 Veronica People's Club: http://veronica-peoplesclub.com/
 Fabrica 718: http://www.fabrica718.com/
 found objects: http://inhabitat.com/nyc/the-queens-kickshaw-astoria-gets-a-new-coffee-shop-designed-using-local-reclaimed-materials/
 Greenpoint : http://inhabitat.com/nyc/greenpoint-residents-choose-environmental-projects-to-get-7m-in-state-funds/
 : http://inhabitat.com/nyc/fabrica-718-transforms-retro-school-desks-into-a-bar-for-veronica-people%e2%80%99s-club-in-brooklyn/veronica-peoples-club-bar-detail/?extend=1
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 rare items from vintage stores: http://inhabitat.com/nyc/brooklyn%E2%80%99s-film-biz-prop-shop-is-a-treasure-trove-of-recycled-design/
 LED light: http://inhabitat.com/tag/led-lights
 Pratt: http://inhabitat.com/gorgeous-myrtle-hall-shows-off-pratt-institutes-commitment-to-sustainability/
 reduce energy usage: http://inhabitat.com/5-tips-to-cut-your-electricity-bill-with-green-energy-expert-david-johnston/
 East Village: http://inhabitat.com/nyc/tag/east-village
 refurbished materials,: http://inhabitat.com/nyc/lot-ek-uses-recycled-truck-bodies-to-create-a-rooftop-penthouse-in-nyc/
 Image: http://inhabitat.com/nyc/fabrica-718-transforms-retro-school-desks-into-a-bar-for-veronica-people%e2%80%99s-club-in-brooklyn/veronica-peoples-club-exterior-facade/
 bar: http://inhabitat.com/nyc/eat-drink/green-booze/
 food: http://inhabitat.com/nyc/eat-drink/restaurants/
 art: http://inhabitat.com/nyc/art-nyc/
 local ingredients: http://inhabitat.com/nyc/brooklyn-grange-worlds-largest-rooftop-farm-kicks-off-second-growing-season/
 Plovgh: http://www.plovgh.com/index.html
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