Desk Job: StudioSC Applies Local Vernacular to Brooklyn Desks
Recycled materials and rough surfaces are de rigueur, at this point, in über-hip neighborhoods of Brooklyn, New York. And that can sometimes make a design scheme seem undercooked. But StudioSC’s Stephen Conte managed to apply that vernacular to refreshing effect at Brooklyn Desks.
With both shared and private offices catering to the local creative class—small music labels, graphic designers, and the like—this coworking facility occupies the ground level of a converted concrete warehouse. Conte recalls the 10,000-square-foot space he first encountered as “a blank canvas. The structural columns and the floor slab existed, and that was it.” He started by painting those columns in different shades of gray and polishing up that concrete floor.
The landlord was getting rid of the warehouse’s safety-glass windows, covered in graffiti, so Conte repurposed them. Installed, backlit, at the ends of runs of offices, the windows “bring so much character into the space,” he says.
Another key move was to use one of the world’s least-inspired materials, OSB, in surprising ways. Craftsmen—based in Brooklyn, natch—built a reception desk from offcuts of the stuff, multicolored layers topped with white solid-surfacing. Meanwhile, triangular panels of OSB, some of them dyed on-site, form a bright mosaic concealing ductwork. He also went so far as to clad a whole hallway with OSB rectangles, then apply 1970’s comic-book pages and Life magazine photos to create a playful montage.
The budget was tight, so furniture largely came from design-friendly mass producers. For the lounge’s rug, however, something custom was required. “There was a lot of brown and green, so we were looking for a pop of color,” he says of the blocks of yellow. Even in groovy Brooklyn, a little sunshine is appreciated.