Brooklyn-based Fiyel Levent was one of the talented designers that participated in the innovative 12 x 12 project, which upcycled wood from some of New York’s historic buildings into beautiful furniture. Levent’s source of materials was the Mars Bar, a seminal East Village haunt that shuttered its doors to the chagrin of aging punks everywhere in 2011. Paying tribute to the cast of characters that frequented the bar since the 1970s, Levent created Vice Box, a gorgeous liquor and wine cabinet from reclaimed wood emblazoned with her signature pattern of circles.
Each of the planks of red spruce in Levent’s Vice Box is sure to have been witness to years of the crazy antics that happened in the dive bar frequented by the Rock and Roll set. Mars Bar represented the epitome of the rough-and-tumble Bowery of years past, and was a sister bar to the also defunct punk rock haven, CBGBs, which was just a few blocks away. The destruction of Mars Bar is considered by some to be the last stand of the bohemian spirit of the East Village.
To pay tribute to the bar’s mythic character of grit and excitement, Levent immediately decided to create a bar cabinet. Playing up on the rough wood surface of the planks, she fused the well-worn textures with smooth, milled areas, creating a combination that meshed her own design character with the history of wood. Her classic patterns of circles of varying sizes were milled using an exacting CNC machine, playing up the natural grooves of the rough wood.
The resulting reclaimed wood piece is the Mars Bar all grown up, an exquisite home-bar for storing and displaying spirits, while still being a little rough around the edges.