Scents and Striations
15. April 2021
Photo courtesy of D.S. & Durga
The new Brooklyn outpost for D.S. & Durga, the perfume house founded by David Seth Moltz (D.S.) and Kavi Ahuja Moltz (Durga), stands out for the striated walls that resemble rammed earth. The walls are actually concrete, though, a product of circumstance and hands-on testing.
Location: 126 North Sixth Street, Brooklyn, NY
Client: D.S. & Durga
Designer: Kavi Ahuja Moltz with K&CO and Pilskin Architecture
Material: Precast concrete wall panels
Fabrication: Oso Industries
The boutique on North Sixth Street in Williamsburg is the second location for D.S. & Durga, following its NYC flagship that opened in Manhattan's Nolita neighborhood a couple of years ago. Kavi Ahuja Moltz, who trained as an architect before launching D.S. & Durga with her husband in 2009, designed both stores with K&CO, the interior design firm founded by Krista Ninivaggi. Kavi and Krista attended the same high school and reconnected to work on the stores, which appear to be gaining in ambition each time.
The Williamsburg outpost occupies a one-story building with a simple exterior: black painted brick, illuminated signage, and a folding wall that slides open to reveal the bespoke interior. The main space has wares displayed on two tables — one custom concrete and one a classic of early modernism — and on shelves set into one of the walls. A window at the back reveals a small atelier where D.S. & Durga's scents are developed. Tying the whole together are the striated walls that wrap three sides of the small store.
Explaining the design of the precast concrete walls, Ninivaggi said that at some point in the process "the whole design team became hooked on the idea of using rammed earth." Such an application in New York City is rare — if not nonexistent — something the team quickly learned after some phone calls and research: "We realized that not only would the climate in the Northeast likely not allow for rammed earth to be feasible," Ninivaggi continued, "we could also not find anyone locally experienced with rammed earth construction."
So the designers tapped into the "amazing architectural concrete" available in the area, working with Eric Weil at Brooklyn's Oso Industries to devise precast panels that echo rammed earth. Creating the final look was a bit of trial and error, with the designers playing with mixes at Oso's shop to nail down the colors and appearance of the precast panels. The result is a soothing, yet provocative space — no doubt aligned with the scents produced by D.S. & Durga.