After catching my first glimpse of the gorgeous Garage — the debut architecture project from the Seattle-based repurposed cardboard lamp specialists at graypants — a couple of months back, this stunning out building conversion project on the Puget Sound has been making the rounds again (h/t to Lloyd over at TreeHugger) complete with a new (and totally mystifying) promo video.

There’s not a whole lot of juicy back story to share here, really: the gents at graypants were commissioned to convert a decades-old garage with one hell of a view (it’s located on Vashon Island, I believe) into a “residential cabin” — a project that the firm describes as involving “a careful balance of preserving memory of the existing structure and repurposing materials extracted from it.”

Given that graypants’ claim to fame is the design of dramatic, highly detailed lighting fixtures made from scrap cardboard and other repurposed materials, the emphasis on reuse/recycling, making the old new again, played heavily into the transformation.

It’s also a transformation that didn’t go unnoticed by the Seattle chapter of the American Institute of Architects: the AIA Seattle bestowed the project with a 2013 Honor Award this past November:

Garage by Graypants was unanimously well-received by the jurors as a project that is ‘in between architecture and art’ and pushes how we define indoor and outdoor spaces. The transformation of a post World War II garage was very simple yet complex in the layers it revealed and the way it was reinvented with transparency. The jury was struck by the design team’s ability to gain so much by deploying a set of deceptively simple gestures. Space and light, new and old, and domestic and outdoor appeared to be the architect’s principal devices.

Graypants describes the garage-to-cabin conversion process as being a “remix of the familiar and the novel, the past and the future.”

Mystery, memory, poetry and light. Reinvigorating a tired, post World War II structure (aka: shi**y garage) which was worn and forgotten. The existing was rich with stories, its walls layered with past impressions of formwork and family dinners. Separating, and then joyously recombining materials to impart them with new life. Scratched boards become a textured backdrop defining new functions, while the remaining structure is dismantled into flooring, concealing beds and lounges beneath. Reclaimed pine, a discarded basin, and a century-old stove introduce the memories of others …

The garage aims to make design mysterious. Making mundane tasks of our lives into opportunities that create beauty through joyful interaction. Providing a canvas that allows imagination to make new old and old new. The new becoming a theatre to watch the old gradually fade away. This space wasn’t about ordinary… it was about touching on boundaries of what is ordinary.


On that note, as mentioned, graypants, in collaboration with Shep Films, has also released a 7-minute head-scratcher of a short film to accompany the project. It’s also titled “Garage.” I’m not sure what any of it is supposed to mean (It's all very Coastal Living meets Stanley Kubrick — I gave up somewhere between the strapping hipster woodsman who appeared to be constructing a time machine and the dripping slime shot), but boy does that cabin sure look beautiful.

Via [Designboom], [TreeHugger]

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