Contract - September 2009 - (Page 46)

design As the general public’s awareness of environmental issues rises on a steady basis, so too does the debate over what it truly means to be green. In this conversation, Green Depot, a Brooklyn-based supplier of environmentally friendly and sustainable building products, services, and home goods, seeks to prove two things sustainable living is not: boring and unaffordable. Since its founding in 2005, Green Depot has sought to make green building products and services readily available as well as cost competitive to facilitate the adoption of green practices into standard construction. Targeting the trade, the company’s showrooms and distribution centers across the Northeast stock materials that must pass through a filter examining their health, durability, performance, life cycle, natural resource conservation, and energy conservation. In opening its first retail outlet for general consumers, it was important that the new venue dovetail with this overarching corporate philosophy. “Our mission is to demystify green because green is such a nebulous term that means different things to different people,” explains Honey Berk, marketing director for Green Depot. “The design of the store is meant for people to walk in and see a green space that’s not beige, not boring, not crunchy. It’s very colorful. The idea is to show people that green really is affordable, easy, accessible, and the materials can be quite beautiful.” True to its mission, it’s fitting that rather than tearing down and building new, the company commissioned New York-based architecture and design firm Mapos to rehab and renovate a landmarked structure on the Bowery in Manhattan. “The whole neighborhood is keeping with the ethos of the company, with the idea of reuse and turning something older into something new,” says Berk. Like many of its neighbors, the building—the 1885 Young Men’s Institute, the home of the city’s first YMCA—had a storied history and had once housed the studios of renowned artists Mark Rothko and Fernand Léger as well as author William Burroughs. Remnants of past tenants remained, including original glazed ceramic tile on the wall, the YMCA’s maple gymnasium flooring, and a swimming pool added in 1915 that was cemented over in the passing decades. The HVAC system was a patchwork of additions with pipes that still served existing lofts in the floors above what would be Green Depot’s basement space and first-floor store. Most recently, the space had served as a restaurant supply store, with tables and chairs stacked chock-a-block to the ceiling. While to some architects and designers these souvenirs would be immediately discarded, to Mapos they served as an opportunity to turn trash to treasure. “We actually directed the demo crew to keep anything they found,” says Caleb Mulvena, co-founder of Mapos. Adds Colin Brice, co- green apple With its first retail outpost, designed by Mapos, Green Depot seeks to show general consumers that environmentally friendly goods are affordable, accessible, and anything but boring By Katie Weeks Photography by David Pinter, Amy Herring, Colin Brice Starting at the front door (above), Green Depot's first retail outlet is a purposeful blend of old and new. Inside (opposite), the educational component was just as important as the design. Large graphics showcase the criteria with which Green Depot reviews all of its stock. 46 contract september 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Contract - September 2009

Contract - September 2009
Don’t Judge A Floor By Its Cover
Smart Workstations
Green Collar Jobs On The Rise
From Castle to Treasury
Make Me A Star
Green Apple
A Different Ball Game
Creative Energy
Quiet Riot
Books Stored
Reading Room
Designers Rate: Casegoods
Ad Index

Contract - September 2009