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October 11, 2022 3 min read

Shot of the desk installed at 184 Morgan Street, Jersey CIty, NJ. By Matthew Gordon.

 

 

The Project:

This summer we teamed up with some familiar faces from design firm, K&Co (now merged with Woods Bagot), and had the opportunity to revisit a past design and adapt it for a new residential condo located at 184 Morgan Street in Jersey City. We were delighted that they wanted to bring back the design we used for ourD.S. & Durga project, which incorporated striated layered concrete loosely inspired by the “rammed earth” techniques often used by architects. We initially developed this technique as wall-cladding for the D.S. & Durga project, but this time our task was to play around with the design language and adapt it to be used in a desk for the reception area of this new residential building.

 

Shot of the desk installed at 184 Morgan Street, Jersey CIty, NJ. By Matthew Gordon.

 

The Challenges: 

The main question we had to ask ourselves in order to tackle this was: Can we adapt this flat panel design to something rounder? The original project was already a novel innovation as a flat panel design, so we anticipated that adding curves to an already technically challenging process would make it all the more daunting. 

 

 

Shot of the desk installed at 184 Morgan Street, Jersey CIty, NJ. By Matthew Gordon.

 

Here’s how we tackled it: The desk was designed to be over 12 ft long, so the entire facade of the desk had to be made in one single piece. This required some in-depth mold-making, which we worked on for about a week just to get us to the starting point. The 12 foot piece included the front side and the 2 curved edges and then 2 more flat panels added to the side.

 

Original CAD of the desk outlining dimensions. 

 

In order to test out the technique and its viability in a new form, we had to create a mock version of the desk to ensure that the different colored streaks would even take to a curved surface. 

 

Testing the viability of multi-colored concrete on a rounded surface. 

 

One intellectually and physically challenging portion of the process was pouring the streaks up the curved sides and making sure all the colors stayed in place now that we adapted this technique into a new form. The colored concrete was hand poured into the different layers over the "Formica"-lined mold. 

 

Color-matched concrete based on client's specifications.

 

We matched the colors they gave us and created custom colors for the stripes based on what the designer asked for. We used a more solid monochromatic colorway for the desktop, however, which was cast in a separate piece. 

 

Installation day at 184 Morgan Street. 

 

We then assembled the whole piece on site, which took a full day to assemble and get set up. 

 

Installation day at 184 Morgan Street.  

 

According to the designers' sketches/CADS, the desk was also meant to be leaning slightly forward, so we had to engineer the piece so that it could tilt forward and hang vertically without coming apart or breaking, all while the concrete was only 1 inch thick!

 

Original CAD of the desk outlining dimensions. 

  

Although the process was demanding, testing the bounds and limits of concrete is what we love to do and always welcome this type of project. The intensive research and development aspect of the project is really what made it challenging, but also a lot of fun. We love knowing that there is the possibility that it can blossom into a full-blown product or service line that we reuse, and willingly embrace any project that may lead us to a process or technique that we can apply to a different project, effectively furthering our role in the constant evolution of concrete design. 

 

Behind the scenes images from our Greenpoint studio. 

 

The Results: 

Our project was completed in July of this summer, but the 41-story reinforced concrete superstructure of184 Morgan Street is steadily rising next to the Powerhouse Arts District inJersey City and is set to be completed in 2022. 

 

The reception desk installed at 184 Morgan Street in Jersey City.  Photo by Matthew Gordon.

 


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