Upstairs lounge with “DIY” design approach opens at Public Records


Public Records co-founders Shane Davis and Francis Harris have added a bar and lounge on an upper floor of their multi-purpose creative venue in Brooklyn.

Upstairs is the latest addition to Public Records, which was opened in 2019 by musician Harris and creative consultant Davis, who led the design of both the original spaces and the new lounge.

Dark marble bar and seating
The Upstairs lounge at Public Records is anchored by a dark marble bar and glossy black floor

The extension joins a variety of programmed areas in the industrial brick building, including a cafe and record store, a plant-based bar and restaurant, an outdoor garden and a Sound Room for live performances.

For Upstairs, Davis collaborated with DSLV Studio on the interiors, Arup for the acoustics, and a cast of makers to renovate the upper-level space – once occupied by Retrofret Vintage Guitars.

Chairs in front of large speaker cabinets
A “DIY approach” was taken to the design of the space, which involved multiple collaborators

“We felt that people would value a space that inspires more intimate connection than our other spaces,” said David. “This framework then provides opportunities to explore our ideas and showcase those of our collaborators on various scales, whether it be a sound system, a chair, an event series, or a cocktail.”

The room is anchored by a dark, patterned marble bar, which together with the glossy black floor contrasts the mostly white walls and furniture.

Speaker cabinet with subwoofer
Particular attention was paid to the sound quality in the space, which includes large subwoofer speakers by OJAS

Particular attention was paid to the sound quality in the space, where walls are furred out and undulated to bounce music around the room from large subwoofer speakers.

These are housed in cabinets by Devon Turnbull of OJAS and positioned against the back wall, with either side of the cabinets containing a diverse array of equipment including a reel-to-reel tape player.

Seating area with cream leather banquette
Custom furniture pieces include the PR Lounge Chair, designed with local fabricator Joe Cauvel

Patrons will be able to choose from a curated selection of records and CDs available to play during gatherings, events and parties.

“Intentional listening on an audio system that showcases the practices of production in the music space allows for a deeper understanding and appreciation of the cultural significance of musicians and producers who are an integral part of how we shape our perception of the world,” said Harris.

Wrapping the room are cream leather banquettes, accompanied by circular glass tables, and black ceramic and foam stools commissioned from Zurich-based artist Cristian Anderson that are reminiscent of used paint buckets.

Also scattered through the space is the custom PR Lounge Chair, designed with local fabricator Joe Cauvel and constructed of plywood and steel with exposed joinery.

Lounge area with plants in foreground
Exposed ductwork and services found throughout the old industrial building are also present in Upstairs

Exposed ductwork and services found throughout the building are also present in Upstairs, which continues the same “DIY approach” taken to all of Public Records’ spaces.

Brooklyn has no end of venues that act as community hubs, workspaces and nightlife spots geared towards its thriving creative population.

Round black stool with a glass-topped side table
Black ceramic and foam stools by artist Cristian Anderson are reminiscent of used paint buckets

Among others are The Mercury Store performing arts centre in Dumbo and the 77 Washington artist studios in the Navy Yard.

Elsewhere in New York City, creative co-working space Neuehouse recently updated its hospitality areas.

The photography is by Ill Gander.


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