Appealing to both design nuts and NYC history buffs, the 12x12 exhibition showcases the work of a dozen furniture designers supplied with lumber reclaimed from 12 demolished buildings across the Big Apple.
It’s not entirely unusual for furnishings made from salvaged bits and pieces of NYC landmarks to make an appearance at NY Design Week (see, for example, Uhuru’s Coney Island Line from 2010). This year, however, a fantastic exhibition titled 12x12 in which 12 participating designers crafted contemporary furnishings made from lumber sourced from a dozen different — and often iconic or historic — demolished/dismantled buildings across the Big Apple took this theme to a whole new level.
The Sawkill Lumber-organized exhibition showed earlier this week at WantedDesign and also includes an online auction component — it’s going on now through May 25 in case you’re inclined to bid on a lounge chair made from redwood reclaimed from a Park Ave. water tower, for example — that benefits Brooklyn Woods, a nonprofit organization that teaches low-income and unemployed New Yorkers woodworking and cabinet making skills along with offering job placement guidance and classes in safety and math. Along with Brooklyn Woods, Build It Green! NYC and 3rd Ward served as the exhibition’s co-sponsors.
Now onto the good stuff. Below, you'll find a video detailing the exhibition followed by a brief rundown of the dozen designs that are currently up for grabs. The 12x12 website has plenty more info on the historical backgrounds of each building, the different species of wood used, and on the designers themselves. There's also a fascinating page detailing historic East Coast lumber operations as well as a titillating historical overview of nails. A little something for everyone, eh?
Eastern white pine reclaimed from 211 Pearl St., Manhattan, an 1832 Greek Revival commercial warehouse built for soap (and future toothpaste) magnet William Colgate in 1832. The building’s interior was gutted in 2007.
Heart pine reclaimed from 131-137 Emerson Pl., a historic building in Brooklyn’s incredibly leafy and incredibly diverse Fort Greene neighborhood (former home of this blogger). The building was demolished in 2008.
Short leaf pine reclaimed from 157 Hudson St., an 1880s building in Tribeca that was initially used as horse stables for American Express. The building later became a factory and then a series of nightclubs in the 1990s. The interior was dismantled in 2006 and the building is now home to several (most likely crazy expensive) loft apartments.
A mix of woods used as scaffolding planks in recent repair work performed on the exterior of P.S.17: The Henry David Thoreau School in Queens. Metal from the scaffolding is also incorporated into the design of the desk.
Douglas fir reclaimed in 2012 from 862 Washington St. in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. Before the neighborhood became a congested tourist trap (blame the High Line) and shopping/nightlife destination before that, the building was, no shocker here, home to a series of meatpacking businesses.
Long leaf pine reclaimed from 603 Dean St. in Brooklyn, a 1928 building used as a manufacturing facility during WWII and, later, a hotel for the homeless. The building was dismantled in 2011 to make way for the controversial Atlantic Yards project.