A/D/O Shutters

John Hill
1. May 2020
Photo © Matthew Carbone

A/D/O, the design space created by MINI and housed in a former warehouse in Brooklyn renovated by nARCHITECTS, will close permanently at the end of May.

Since it was inaugurated in early 2017 with a three-day festival, A/D/O hosted 39 exhibitions, according to the journal post announcing the space's closing, as well as more than 400 public programs, including workshops, talks, and lectures. Described as a hub "to empower the design community to explore creative solutions to improve urban life," A/D/O also offered free communal workspace, devoted half of its footprint to a fabrication lab and other design spaces for paying members, and held within its brick walls a restaurant and small store open to the public. (The restaurant is the only component that will remain open after May 31.) A courtyard at the rear of the building had a rotating display of artworks, including a clay-making "factory" created by Assemble.

No doubt the design by nARCHITECTS was aligned with A/D/O's mission and increased the space's appeal. They creatively reused the formerly industrial space for contemporary needs but also riffed on the old architecture. This happened most overtly in the recomposition of graffiti-tagged bricks across the exterior walls, which had new windows cut into them. A new angled glass wall at the corner welcomed people into the inviting interior while signaling that something new was afoot in this corner of Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Inside, the fairly raw, unadorned space featured special moments, none more surprising than a kaleidoscopic skylight that fused skyline views of Manhattan and Brooklyn into one.

Alice Rawsthorn is one of numerous design voices praising A/D/O in its farewell journal entry; she writes, "A/D/O has been an engaging and energetic force in the New York design scene in the last three years, which will be greatly missed."

The open communal workspace (Photo © Matthew Carbone)
The kaleidoscopic periscope (Photo © Matthew Carbone)
A diagram explaining how the framing of the periscope worked (Drawing: nARCHITECTS)
The small store with a curated selection of books and other wares that was aimed at designers (Photo © Matthew Carbone)

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