Brian Janusiak and Elizabeth Beer, the duo behind Various Projects, recently opened their second retail establishment, Project No. 8b, in lower Manhattan. A sibling to the couple's acclaimed women's wear boutique just blocks away, Project No. 8b's equally minimal interior houses a tightly edited selection of men's apparel and accessories, many of which hail from Europe.
Foregoing expensive or elaborate interior details, Brian and Elizabeth use utilitarian rolling racks, accentuated by a selection of vintage furnishings from the couple's private collection, along with a few potted plants to merchandise their wares. An alternating selection of e15, the German manufacturer of austere wood furniture, provides the perfect counterpoint to the clothing on-hand, which includes Bless and Kostas Murkudis from Berlin, Natalia Brilli from Paris, Hope from Sweden, Saskia Diez from Munich and Maison Martin Margiela, to name only a few. Sprinkled throughout the space are a variety of objects—a leather-covered skateboard by Brilli, sterling silver key tags by Various Projects and badminton rackets and shuttlecocks from Germany—which attest to both the couple's manifold interests and their curatorial abilities.
Cool Hunting took a moment to ask Brian and Elizabeth a few questions about opening yet another store in New York and what Various Projects is up to next. Read below.
You just opened a new men's boutique mere blocks from your first store, Project No. 8. What on earth led you to do such a thing during a recession?
Yes. Excellent question. We did not necessarily plan the course in exactly that way. The wheels were set in motion some time ago and the build out of the space took much longer than anticipated. A big part of the process was dealing with NY's changes to building codes and regulatons that took effect right at the time we tried to get started.
It is not that interesting to too many people perhaps, but it seems that a big part of creating a space in NY are the long-form gymnastics involved in the paperwork and permitting process. We experienced it with Project No. 8 and it was an even greater challenge on No. 8b this time around. It makes trying new things difficult and costly. And why something as simple as a perfectly logical and efficient radiant floor as one example (Project No. 8) seems virtually impossible to accomplish. If something has not been done tens of thousands of times before, NY seems unable to say if it is okay to do. Again, very understandable in its own way, but equally frustrating and unfortunate.
Your original space was designed with a number of eco-conscious details in mind. What kind of design features define No. 8b?
Ah... yes. A perfect follow-up to the previous question. We would have loved to employ more of the same solutions we used in Project No. 8, but instead tried to focus on accomplishing some of the same issues while being conscious of a different set of needs in a different space.
Since No. 8b is not south facing like Project No. 8, passive solar energy is not as abundant. In addition, we were able to keep the original floor so that it made tearing it out to make a radiant floor seem like a bad solution. So we did simple things like place as many operable windows as possible in specific locations for air circulation throughout the summer and make use of the system of radiator heat that was already in place by adjusting location/placement throughout to make it more efficient and direct in the winter.
Interview continues with more images after the jump.