Madera was founded with a clear objective: to offer high quality, beautiful and sustainable wood products for architecture and design, while having a positive impact on the environment and the local economy. By practicing a forest-to-floors approach and creating a direct link between clients and the source of the wood, carefully sourcing materials from sustainable sources, designing products in-house in their Brooklyn studio and manufacturing them locally in New York, they offer an alternative that is high quality, sustainable, and locally made.
In their recent expansion, Madera worked with designer Michael Yarinsky to convert a turn of the century warehouse space just outside the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The existing structure was incredibly run down, but had the good bones and charm they desired. The design focused on maintaining the authentic character and detailing of the existing space while creating a boutique, almost “non-commercial” program and aesthetic throughout. The idea in many ways was to make the space a gallery for wood, rather than a sales floor. To that end, the simple use of natural sky lighting, highlighting the existing structure, and a subtle, yet powerful use of Madera’s own wood as a cladding material succeeds in making a modern space with much of the authenticity intact.
Programmatically, the design also challenges the traditional showroom experience. The office space is raised and out of view of the showroom floor, the space has an in-house wood shop for quick sampling, the kitchen serves as a showpiece for kitchen manufacturer Reform, and the product is displayed in a minimalist (think Donald Judd) way. Upon entering the showroom one comes upon an art gallery within a repurposed industrial icebox - Cooler Gallery. The gallery, curated by the designer Michael Yarinsky, serves to activate the space with a monthly exhibition and opening, but also to tie the Madera showroom to the surrounding art, design, and manufacturing communities. The curation aims to reflect the essence of this intersection.
The gallery design focused on showcasing art in an a-typical way. The small scale of the icebox paired with the large expanse of the showroom floor and the use of impactful materials are really what defines this project. Early on a decision was made to not try to create your typical white wall gallery. This has and continues to challenge artists showing at the space to take these constraints into consideration - to incredible results. Through site specific works and curated group shows, a feedback has begun to be seen between the art and the space itself.