By Katy B. Olson
Collaboration is the keyword at A/D/O, a newly debuting Greenpoint, Brooklyn, design space for designers of all stripes—and non-designers too. When it opens next month, the 23,000-square-foot center, a former bakery which affords panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline, will unveil programs designed to facilitate interdisciplinary design partnerships. The brainchild of MINI, an independent brand of the BMW GROUP, A/D/O will offer private desk rentals (available daily, weekly and monthly) and serve as home to both URBAN-X, an accelerator for engineering start-ups, as well as to classes and workshops led by designers.
Education and Entrepreneurship
A/D/O’s onsite instructional arm, Design Academy, is being led by the space’s director of design, Daniel Pittman. On that docket, there are discussions, in-house research, designer residencies, competitions and commissioned installations, with the initial theme of study being “Dystopia Versus Utopia,” a focus on design’s potential impact on the future. URBAN-X, the in-house accelerator partnership between A/D/O and HAX, the world’s largest hardware accelerator, will offer a three-and-a-half-month program for tech entrepreneurs specializing in design, engineering and usability.
“Designers continue to determine what our world feels like and how we experience it,” says Esther Bahne, president of MINI Business Innovation. “The role of the designer in this age of rapid change will become ever more important, and we want to sharpen their tools and give them a strong platform. A/D/O will further allow MINI to engage deeply with progressive visions of design, and serve as a prolific source of innovative ideas for the future."
Coworking and Collaboration
The shared space, called The Workspace, is outfitted with facilities for designers spanning disciplines including architecture and textile, industrial, product and graphic design, among others, with a 3-D printer, hot wire foam cutter, paint booth, eight-color plotter, risograph duplicator, etching press, screen printing kits, foil stamper and debosser, desktop digital loom, desktop wax jewelry studios, vinyl cutter, mini lathes, sewing machines and other resources. Members will have opportunities to exhibit their work onsite, and will have access to the center’s staff, mentorships and programming. Full-time memberships, which are application-based, are $650 monthly.
The goal? To foster interdisciplinary partnerships in a space that itself is built for collaboration. ”Great design thrives in dynamic spaces,” says Nate Pinsley, managing director of A/D/O. ”We set out to create an ideal environment for creative output—both through our physical space and through programming that prompts designers to explore new paths.”
The general public is invited too: A large free space, a design library and design store, exhibition space and outdoor areas are open to visitors. MICHELIN-starred chef Fredrik Berselius of ASKA and chef Claus Meyer of the GREAT NORTHERN FOOD HALL and AGERN, will herald an as-yet-unnamed Nordic-influenced restaurant, also open to the public and serving three meals daily, including a European canteen-style lunch daily as well as an in-house bakery and late-night bar. The restaurant will be a part of the design conversation, too, explains A/D/O: “This unique partnership between Meyer, Berselius and A/D/O will create a platform for exploring how design and food relate. A/D/O’s philosophy of surfacing new ideas through collaboration and experience will be mirrored in the day-to-day operations of the restaurant.”
Green and shared spaces; all renderings courtesy A/D/O
A/D/O will open for an invite-only preview on December 8, and applications for The Workspace will be available when the site goes live tomorrow.