Building on Bond Part 1: About the Space, Interview with Phil Morgan

Building On Bond

www.buildingonbond.com
@BuildingonBond
Address:112 Bond St. Brooklyn, NY
Miles from La Colombe Torrefaction: 90.5
Best Blend: House blend (B.O.B.)
Paired Best With: Morning glory muffins -made with bran and carrot with chunks of apple and oatmeal- from Patisserie Colson

Building on Bond occupies a turn of the century building on the corner of Bond and Pacific streets, in the Boerum Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY. New York Magazine calls this cafe/restaurant/bar, “a flat-out cool space.”  It’s designed, built and owned by Hecho Inc, a design and construction firm that also operates out of the same location. The bold accents of color and the texture of the objects in the space are emphasized by the gorgeous light that comes from the sizable windows. There are so many elements of the space that sparked our curiosity as we are big fans of the warmth that wood creates in interiors. Hecho Inc describes Building on Bond as:

“A former bodega and barbershop, Building on Bond exemplifies the lighthearted approach restaurant design and construction can take when it’s out to build something playful and provocative at once. Elaborate cabinetry from some kind of forgotten House of Wonders, gewgaws of arcane origins, and materials of the highest and lowest orders do time alongside vibrant, original artworks, millwork, and finishes, which, taken as a whole, generate a very unique and innovative attitude toward design conception and development.”

A few years back Phil Morgan and his Hecho Inc business partner, John Kole, had been looking for a space for their workshop and design studio. In August 2008  Phil saw the space while walking his dog and he thought it would be perfect. “It was going to be a combination of our studio and workshop. Through the windows [of the workshop] you would be able to see people putting together some of the pieces of woodwork we design.”

For the first few days when the workshop side wasn’t finished, they put tables and chairs in the space to drink their morning coffee. This was the start of the space turning into Building on Bond. Instead of a workshop Phil and John now use the space as a showroom of sorts by bringing new clients there to meet. Phil says “it showcases some of the stuff we like to do.”

Some of the stuff they like to do is repurposing items, so every object in the cafe has a fascinating story. The giant cabinet was our favorite item: “There was a government liquidation site… a federal government army site. They had a truck and tank repair shop and this cabinet was where they kept the parts for repair, but it was never used.”

But they do use it at Building on Bond. “It turned into a sort of secret message place. Kids leave little messages with cute handwriting and it’s sort of a treasure hunt.”

The bench seating in the cafe is from a closed down church in Connecticut and the maple butcher block came from another restaurant Hencho Inc was building. Most of the other materials, such as the wallpaper, came from BIG NYC (Build It Green), a non-profit outlet for salvaged surplus building materials. The wall art was created by John Kole, a former Rhode Island School of Design printmaking major.

When Phil and John got their hands on the space, the landlord was starting to do renovations but had only done demolition at that point. Some might think this gave them a blank slate to work with, but they didn’t even have that in the beginning. “It had linoleum floors so we started lifting up the linoleum and then there was plywood. Underneath the plywood there was more linoleum and then more plywood. Under that there was more, five layers of linoleum and plywood! What we ended up being able to do was dig down to the original wood floors from 1905. That is now what we’re using in the cafe.”

To make more use of the original structure they dug up a lot more than the floor. “When we took apart the old aluminum door we noticed that there was a wood frame for the doors. I went to the Department of Buildings and asked them if they could dig up their archives to find the drawings for this building. They were able to get the drawings from the original architect on this cloth that smelled like my grandfather’s sweater! 2’ by 3’, all hand-drawn from 1909. It had all the architectural details of the store front and how the space was laid out and where the toilets were. It turned out that the wood frames did in fact fit the opening for the door and we made photocopies of the drawings of the doors went to a manufacturer and got the oak doors custom made. So the doors we use are replicas of the original.”

You can see Hecho Inc’s work all over NYC. Check out their other projects at hechoinc.com

Check back next week for Part 2 of this feature on Building on Bond.

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