After over a decade curating, promoting, and producing nomadic dance music events throughout NYC, a metal shop in Williamsburg has been reinvented as VERBOTEN’s first permanent home. The 10,000-square-foot industrial shell is host to immersive experimental events, from techno music dance parties to massive late-evening yoga sessions, weddings, performances, business events, and epic Sunday brunch parties.
Raw material testing inspired a design anchored by huge steel and concrete components, bent as thick, vast sheets and laced with torched wax. Detailing and dramatic proportions define the atmosphere of space. Custom concrete panels calibrate desired transmittance of light, view, and texture through gradients of porosity created with strategically inset Plexiglas and cast wax eliminated with a blowtorch. To support wide-ranging event dynamics and scales, modular furniture was designed to be extensively reconfigurable.
Material innovation and craft is paralleled by VERBOTEN’s cutting-edge technology. Strategic lighting, expansive video streams, and voyeurism are at play within the venue’s incredibly immersive sound system. A one-way mirror reflects the activity of the dance floor and stage, providing a unique experience for individuals occupying the reverse side where the men’s urinals overlook the main room, merging the most intimate and communal experiences.
Across an event night, the space welcomes over 1,000 people through massive panels of weathered steel to share a reclaimed resilient wooden dance floor that literally flexes to support the animated audience. Select guests experience 300 linear feet of liquor stored behind the main stage, screened by 11-foot-tall porous steel doors. Throughout the venue, over 8,500 square feet of steel defines the cocktail bars, stage, toilet stalls, coat check, reception, and storage.
In an era when so much of our existence is mediated and interactions are increasingly virtual, the intensely collective multi-sensory experience in real time with hundreds of other humans feels both timeless and refreshingly present.
Karla Rothstein - Architect Sal Perry - Architect John Perez - Client / Designer Jen Schiffer - Client / Designer Sean Dawson - Project Manager Bridget Rice - Project Manager Hajeong Lim - Intern Margaux Young - Intern LIGHT::heavy - Lighting Consultant Waking Dream - Video Consultant ITI Audio - Audio Consultant Andy Grossman Upholstery - Custom Furniture Van Grouw Welding - Custom Fabrication Lorenzo Villaggi - Custom Fabrication Demitra Konstantinidis - Custom Fabrication Robert Silman Assoc - Structural engineer Tan Engineering - MEP Engineer Dimensional Dynamics - General Contractor SawKill Lumber - Flooring Supplier Ho Kyung Lee - Photographer Brendan Vogt - Photographer Menbar Photos - Photographer