The Nursery Is an Outdoor Music Venue Designed To Be Dismantled

Public Records founders Shane Davis and Francis Harris delve into how they built the low-waste, multipurpose music hub and greenhouse.

Music 
3,697 Hypes 0 Comments

You are reading your free article for this month.
Members-only

It’s a Sunday afternoon in June, and while many of the city’s club-goers are still recovering from their nights out The Nursery’s day party is just getting started. At 3:00 p.m., a fresh-faced audience has gathered in the garden, chatting as they await that afternoon’s act: a jazz and R&B fusion act dubbed the Sonic Messenger Quintet. As headliner DJ AceMoma occupies a sound booth level with the crowd, it’s easy to forget that just a few months ago, the music-filled greenhouse was an empty asphalt lot.

Directly adjacent to where The Nursery is now situated is Public Records – an all-in-one vegan restaurant, cocktail lounge and music venue housed in what was formerly the ASPCA headquarters. Since 2019, the nearly 10,000-square-foot industrial-inspired building in Gowanus has quickly established itself as a cultural hub for its diverse music programming and the platform it provides to independent musicians, from jazz acts to house music DJs.

Three years later, Public Records founders Shane Davis and Francis Harris began ideating how to make use of the asphalt lot next to Public Records’ garden and provide a new social space, particularly one designed with the local community in mind. When it opened this past May, The Nursery, similar to the amorphous identity of Public Records, marked not only a radical transformation of the lot itself but a complete overhaul of what one would expect a club to look like.

Davis, who handles design and creative direction, tells Hypebeast that designing The Nursery — a vast, airy space filled with plants — was “informed by a necessity of temporality.”

In charting out their plans for The Nursery, the duo says that the central focus was to use the lot as a functional plant nursery. Davis and Harris, having been informed by their experience with Public Records the first time around, knew they would be bound to some of the rules and regulations of building in New York, hence the need for a temporal space.

“The foundation of The Nursery is to serve this double function as an actual plant nursery for our collection of plants in the winter and as a gathering space,” Davis says. “As we kind of dove deeper into it and explored the possibilities for this site, it started iterating into something that was more dynamic and multifaceted.”

Davis and Harris tapped Mattaforma, a New York-based architecture firm that draws on environmental research, to help design a structure that would be easily reconfigurable and generate a minimal amount of waste during its construction. A U-shaped greenhouse with heating and cooling capabilities was formed out of three shipping containers, dimensional timber and polycarbonate. From start to finish, the construction took place without the use of any heavy machinery. Not only will The Nursery be converted into an insular greenhouse to protect the plants during the winter months, but it’ll additionally provide a private dining room for patrons of Public Records’ restaurant.

OJAS and NNNN, two independent audio brands, were brought in to assemble The Nursery’s sound system, while the Los Angeles plant studio Cactus Store curated the landscape design. Brooklyn-based firm Space Exploration helmed the interior design of the utilitarian DJ booth, drawing inspiration from the shipping container that houses it.

From ecology to acoustics, a driving force behind each decision made during The Nursery’s build was that function was first — and form was second.. “The architecture that composes the planters and the benches may look normal but they’re all highly absorbent surfaces, so those function to treat sound,” says Davis. “Even the bamboo, which envelops the space, has certain sound absorbing properties.”

Even prior to its launch, The Nursery had a built-in audience thanks to the cult following that Public Records has accrued over the past few years, but it’s also had its fair share of newcomers – myself among them – join the ranks. Beyond the drinks, food and unparalleled vibe, Harris, who leads music programming, says Public Records is “grounded in the music.” While it remains to be seen exactly how the space will be converted come winter, presently, The Nursery acts as a host to Sunday Series, a weekly day party boasting an eclectic roster of acts each week, many of whom originally held residences at Public Records’ main Sound Room.

Compared to the Sound Room and UPSTAIRS lounge, Harris describes the Sunday Series as being more geared towards the local community, not merely those who like to hit the club.

“Sunday series is a little bit more of an outside like breezy, cool vibe,” Harris says. “A family can show up and hang out or an older couple from the neighborhood can roll through.”

“It definitely differs from what we would do with the Sound Room, which is a little bit younger, and the lounge being more for archival music. We have to think of these different spaces in different ways from a curatorial standpoint.”

Although The Nursery is an offshoot of Public Records, it’s a standalone gem in its own right. Davis and Harris have cultivated a particularly unique space unlike any other music venue in Brooklyn or New York City for that matter. The Nursery is unpolished, unpretentious and provides a thoughtful solution to the typical waste involved in building – and eventually dismantling – urban infrastructure, combined with a meticulously curated lineup of artists that always delivers.

This weekend, The Nursery will emanate the sounds of West Coast house, welcoming Vancouver’s D.DEE and Oakland’s Space Ghost. For the ensuing weekends, Davis and Harris have already queued up a stacked calendar of musical offerings across genres. Throughout the summer and in the months thereafter, The Nursery, still in its infancy, will continue to evolve.

Read Full Article

What to Read Next

Dial In to Hell Phone, Bushwick’s Underground Techno Hotspot
Music 

Dial In to Hell Phone, Bushwick’s Underground Techno Hotspot

The founders behind Hell Phone speak on their DIY approach to creating the community-centric club night.

The Hundreds x Concord Records is a Soulful Tribute to Jazz Music
Fashion

The Hundreds x Concord Records is a Soulful Tribute to Jazz Music

Presenting fresh graphics to honor Miles Davis, Duke Ellington and Wes Montgomery.

AAPENOW’s 2024 Spring/Summer Collection is an Ode to Japanese Design Heritage
Fashion 

AAPENOW’s 2024 Spring/Summer Collection is an Ode to Japanese Design Heritage

Presented by AAPENOW
The collection, including tracksuits, sleeveless vests, and the introduction of sun-protective jackets, will launch alongside the AAPE Store Kyoto opening.


Björk Is Coming to Brooklyn for “Under the K Bridge” DJ Set
Music

Björk Is Coming to Brooklyn for “Under the K Bridge” DJ Set

The day’s roster also includes Shygirl, Sega Bodega and more.

Reebok Presents Skate-Centric CLUB C BULC
Footwear

Reebok Presents Skate-Centric CLUB C BULC

Paying homage to the Club C and LT Court with a skate twist.

Conquer Your Concert FOMO With the New Sonos Era 300 Speaker
Tech & Gadgets

Conquer Your Concert FOMO With the New Sonos Era 300 Speaker

The hourglass-shaped smart speaker takes spatial audio to new heights.

Dior Officially Presents the B33 Sneaker (and its "Dior Tears" Iterations)
Footwear

Dior Officially Presents the B33 Sneaker (and its "Dior Tears" Iterations)

A key part of the brand’s Fall 2023 collection, equipped with an authenticity-guaranteeing NFC chip.

New 'Dune: Part Two' Trailer Sees Timothée Chalamet's Paul Atreides Fight for Revenge
Entertainment

New 'Dune: Part Two' Trailer Sees Timothée Chalamet's Paul Atreides Fight for Revenge

The film also stars Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Austin Butler, Florence Pugh and more.

"Medium Ash" Falls on the Nike Terminator Low
Footwear

"Medium Ash" Falls on the Nike Terminator Low

With support from a dark gum sole unit.


Thomas Kastholm’s TK8 Daybed Gets a Canvas Update
Design

Thomas Kastholm’s TK8 Daybed Gets a Canvas Update

Marking the piece’s first time using the sturdy material. 

Through the Lens: Aleksandr Babarikin Documents Life Experiences Through Abstraction
Art

Through the Lens: Aleksandr Babarikin Documents Life Experiences Through Abstraction

Creating a distinct style that references French Impressionism.

Rampage Sound is Bringing the Notting Hill Carnival to the Barbican
Music

Rampage Sound is Bringing the Notting Hill Carnival to the Barbican

Together with the 30-piece Jules Buckley Orchestra, Rampage Sound is redefining classic carnival anthems for one night only.

Zinedine Zidane Partners With EA SPORTS as Latest FC FUTURES Ambassador
Sports

Zinedine Zidane Partners With EA SPORTS as Latest FC FUTURES Ambassador

Hypebeast spoke with the French phenom about returning to his roots and championing the next generation of footballers at his Z5 facility in Aix-en-Provence.

Casanova Sentenced to More Than 15 Years in Federal Prison
Music

Casanova Sentenced to More Than 15 Years in Federal Prison

The rapper pled guilty to racketeering and narcotics charges last year.

More ▾
 
We got you covered. Don’t miss out on the latest news by signing up for our newsletters.

By subscribing, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.