The lobby at 12 Warren is truly something to behold. Featuring a custom chandelier by Bec Brittain and a series of photographs by Jacqueline Hassink documenting the quarry that supplied 12 Warren’s unique bluestone façade, the lobby blends the natural with the industrial. It also reflects the rich elements that comprise the modern metropolis of New York City. Brittain and Hassink’s diverse careers have led them both to Tribeca to put the finishing touches on one of the city’s most unique condominiums.
The façade of 12 Warren invokes the quarry where the rock was hewn, with layers of stone and cantilevers mimicking the forested site of a cliff-side extraction. While stone can be cut, polished, or stacked, it cannot be wrought like iron or bent with bare hands like clay. Hassink captures the material’s unyielding and imposing presence in her photographic series Blue Walls, USA (2013).
No stranger to quarries, Hassink has often explored the brutal processes involved in removing stone for its many uses. She aptly captures the changes to the topography as the rock is quarried, creating visual tension with the conflict and collaboration between natural evolution and the human imperative to transform. The result is a deft contemplation of the awesome beauty of each, and her Blue Walls series in 12 Warren’s lobby offers residents and visitors a glimpse at the Tompkins Bluestone Quarry in Hancock, New York, where 12 Warren’s stones originated. Each photograph invites viewers to meditate on our origins: in the industrial past and the natural world beyond Manhattan.
While the works of Hassink explore the interplay of people and places, Bec Brittain’s custom-designed chandelier both integrates and contrasts with the natural architectural elements around it. Where light normally pierces inward and opens up a space, Brittain’s geometric installation allows it to cascade and flow outward in multiple directions. The light disperses to complement the gradations of color and textures in the bluestone grit of the lobby’s walls and floors while creating a warm glow against wood panels. The result is a delicate dance that wields the stillness and frenetic qualities of light playing with the metal and glass.
The chandelier is an exemplar of Brittain’s dynamic product design work and part of a larger unorthodox career trajectory. Brittain studied at Parsons School of Design, found truth in art while studying philosophy at NYU, and worked briefly as an architect before turning her talents to product design — and, of course, lights. It’s no wonder then that Brittain’s attention-grabbing work seems to defy genres and expectations — and draw the eye upward as 12 Warren’s residents pass through the lobby on the way to their elegant residences.