Refurbishing NYC’s Historic JJ Hat Center

A few months ago I was commissioned to restore a storefront over on 5th and 32nd st, JJ Hat Center. They’re long time clients, partners of the good folks over at Pork Pie Hatters. I’ve done a lot of work for them over the years, building their website, designing custom hat blocks, making marketing materials, and creating the branding for their series of handmade hats. This was a whole other level of project, though.

To start, the building used to be an IBM adding machine factory and showroom. When JJ’s took it over, they installed a lovely wood exterior. So, on the plus side, there is a lot of old NYC richness both inside and out. On the downside, the wood exterior had fallen apart in the intervening years. Part of my job was to see through the decades of wear and tear and come up with a plan for refurbishing everything to resemble the original without spending thousands on custom parts. Fortunately my friend Clark put me in touch with a few very talented carpenters. So, with some meetings and design drawings, they were rolling on building the elements for the exterior. Continue reading

The Anywhere Organ Continues

After much doing of things I’ve come up with the next big thing for the Anywhere Organ. This particular prototype was created in SolidWorks and then made all pretty with Illustrator. Again, the whole thing’s made of 3/4″ plywood cut out on an industrial laser.

There’s still a load left to do before I can call everything done, but I’m closer to completing this thing than I’ve ever been. All the fastenings and fits have tested beautifully, the design is pretty, and things seem to be working out, mechanically. It’s just in time, too, because the Anywhere Organ has been invited to premiere at the Figment Festival NYC next month .

Check out more of the Anywhere Organ on Flickr.