A Design Boutique, Gallery, and Bar Where Community Is Key

In Common With, the lighting studio founded by Nick Ozemba and Felicia Hung, recently unveiled Quarters, a Tribeca gallery, design boutique, bar, library, and dining room that fully realizes their communitarian vision.

The Great Room at Quarters

Studios with the most soul and staying power realize that community is what imbues design with magic and memory.  That seems to be the raison d’être of Brooklyn lighting studio In Common With, whose founders, Nick Ozemba and Felicia Hung, incorporate community throughout their entire practice. Besides emphasizing how their serene, often earth-toned fixtures (circular clay sconces, fluted glass pendants) reflect the contribution of sundry invisible hands, the six-year-old studio strives to create experiences their peers won’t forget. At last year’s Milan Design Week, the duo eschewed antiseptic showrooms to instead take over a Città Studi bar by installing a series of billowing glass fixtures created with the like-minded designer Sophie Lou Jacobsen. With good company and an aperol spritz in tow, the takeover endures as one of this writer’s favorite Fuorisalone outings in recent memory by virtue of simply easing the stress of an otherwise frenetic week.

In that respect, In Common With’s latest outing makes perfect sense. Yesterday, the duo officially unveiled Quarters, a multifaceted concept shop and community space where the power of collaborative design is felt deeply throughout. Occupying more than 8,000 square feet of a historic 19th-century loft in the heart of Tribeca, Quarters serves as both an elegant showroom for In Common With’s latest lighting experiments and a refuge where anyone, regardless of design know-how, can walk in and enjoy themselves. Each space is well-appointed, yet the relaxed ambience charts a refreshing detour from uptight showrooms where it’s unclear whether you’re allowed to interact with the design. Instead, Quarters feels lived in. “It represents our imagination, values, and ambitions in a tangible form,” Ozemba says. “It’s an open invitation for others to find inspiration in our world.”

In Common With founders Nick Ozemba and Felicia Hung

There’s ample inspiration to plumb. Upon entry, visitors immediately find a study outfitted with vintage Mario Bellini sofas, ceiling frescoes, and wall tapestries. The full-service bar down the hall is equally well-appointed, largely thanks to artist Claudio Bonuglia’s breathtaking fresco that frames it and Shane Gabier’s geometrically patterned tiles that lend texture. It’s an ideal place to sip before heading upstairs for a dinner party at the 50-seat dining room, which is serviced by a full kitchen.

Elsewhere, rooms are furnished with a combination of vintage pieces and those designed by the founders and their peers—or, in many cases, a combination of creative forces. A springy chandelier adorned with Jacobsen’s plush pink Flora fixtures presides over an intimate sitting area, but pieces the studio created with ceramists Danny Kaplan and Simone Bodmer-Turner are also on view. The opening of Quarters also marks the launch of In Common With’s inaugural collection of heirloom-quality wood furniture, which features hand-painted trompe-l’oeil surfaces with customizable inlaid iconography. Everything, even the vintage pieces, is available for purchase.

Also spread throughout Quarters is a library comprising an array of titles about design, furniture, art, and the art of living well, which guests can pull up a seat and peruse at their leisure. In that sense, Quarters seems to hearken back to the participatory spirit that once flowed freely throughout Tribeca’s ad hoc art spaces in the 1960s. It also marks a stellar entry in the neighborhood’s current resurgence as New York City’s unofficial new design district. Colony, Superhouse, and Annex Giancarlo Valle all recently opened nearby, joining a spate of area staples like Cristina Grajales Gallery, TRNK, Egg Collective, and R & Company. That close-knit energy—and the serendipitous encounters it stewards—is exactly the point. “By welcoming others and fostering our artistic community, it will continue to evolve in new and exciting ways,” Hung says. “With each new perspective and collaboration, Quarters will transform again and again.”

Quarters is located at 383 Broadway, New York.

All photography by William Jess Laird.

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