The top-rated January submission for Interiors of the Month is NeueHouse Longhouse by BVN, a project that saw plywood barricades transformed into a pandemic-responsive outdoor furniture system for the NYC members club.

In the spring of last year, a large number of plywood sheets were utilized to barricade New York storefronts during the Black Lives Matter protests. Architecture firm BVN envisioned a way to reuse these materials to the benefit of the city’s hospitality businesses, coming up with the social initiative Re-Ply. The upcycled, cost-effective kit of furniture and planters was targeted at enabling hospitality businesses to resume their operations outdoors while maintaining social-distancing requirements. One such business was the Madison Square location of  NeueHouse, a subscription-based brand for co-working and cultural spaces.

The Longhouse pop-up offers work and dining spaces, metamorphizing into a small-scale entertainment spot by night. BVN developed the elements of the six-part modular set-up with CNC fabricators, which allowed them to ‘build and iterate products in very short timeframes in order to meet the demands of the reopening city’. Our jury appreciates the positive social and environmental implications of the system, of which a consumer adaptation is now available (albeit sold out).

January proved to be a close month in terms of jury scoring. Submitted for Best Use of Material, NeueHouse Longhouse received a total score of 7.98 from our jury, ranking highest in the functionality and sustainability criteria.  Our four honourable mentions include Shenzhen restaurant Voisin Organique by Various Associates (7.86, Restaurant), Foster + Partners’ store for Apple at Miami’s Aventura Mall (7.82, Single-Brand Store), Porsgrunn, Norway office building Powerhouse Telemark by Snøhetta (7.82, Large Office) and the Baranowitz + Kronenberg-designed W Hotel in Ibiza (7.8, Hotel).

Heidi Smith, partner at Gray Puksand, calls the winning Re-Ply Longhouse ‘an exciting and innovative response to the current re-opening of cities from the slumber of a forced lockdown’. She continues: ‘Embracing sustainability and reuse, this initiative also addresses the “New Normal” of social distancing, improved use of open spaces and the reenergizing of our city streets.’ ‘[This] is an inspiring example of a light-footed approach to the creative reuse of materials and the pandemic challenges,’ agrees Oliver Salway, founder at Softroom. ‘I hope that they will find a suitably circular on-use for these materials in their next incarnation.’

Curious to hear the jury discuss their thoughts on the winning space and highly commended projects? Tune into our Live Judging Session, tomorrow 2 February at 16:00 CET. Register here.