29 NORMAN AVE, BROOKLYN, NY 11222, UNITED STATES
Re-purposed warehouse space into coworking, cafe, design store, public event space & public art space. A/D/O is located in a 23,000 square foot former warehouse in Greenpoint, Brooklyn’s Industrial Business Zone. It has been converted into a space for creative exchange and was built by Mini.
Located in a trendy area in a trendy neighbourhood full of trendy things, it is surrounded by lots of small businesses in a growing office district. As plans for the much hyped shut down of the “L” are underway and with many young creative’s choosing to live in Brooklyn purveyors of office spaces are increasing their spend in Brooklyn with the hope that their target market will choose to work closer to where they live bypassing Manhattan all together. As such the ‘creative office’ district is expanding.
Located in a growing area that is already set up with many local scene cafes, independent shops and super sceney hotels, the biggest challenge for A/D/O was going to be drawing people out to Brooklyn from Manhattan, the type of people that live and play on the island and only visit Brooklyn with a purpose.
They kicked off their programming with a design conference and sets of design talks from well known designers which helped to establish it’s presence & give people a reason to come to this particular destination during the day and mid week.
The creative space is backed by a larger parent company Mini (the car company). Already established as part of the design community, each year Mini has awarded one design firm with the Mini Living design task which has garnered worldwide attention. A/D/O is an extension of Mini’s presence as a supporter of design & seemed to help enhance how this space was adopted by the larger design community in New York.
A/D/O is also home to URBAN-X, a start-up accelerator by MINI. The venture combines the core competencies of MINI with best-in-class acceleration process, investor network and experience bringing new innovative technologies to market. It seems to be a nice example of how a commercial entity can create a presence in the community without the need for omni present branding.
The space is described as being founded with the purpose to serve the creative community, locally and globally it is named after Mini’s first group of innovators & strives to spark new creative work and build a meeting place for pioneers from diverse backgrounds. It is a mixed-use building with a strong lean towards servicing the design community, however the way that it interacts with the street, having the large open cafe and the store hold the major frontages allows it to still feel welcoming to your every day user.
Because MINI’s goals here don’t seem to be to make a tonne of cash, it feels like an example of the friendliest type of gentrification. The filler building that is there to ‘give back’ to the new hipster crowd taking over the neighbourhood.
If your goal is to create a really nice mixed use space that with the ability to interact with a local community group, without the pressure to perform commercially - Find a major company with compatible social intentions to partner with you to make it happen.