Photograph by Anna Ritsch

The design of Dock 72, a 16-floor, 650,000 square foot building that towers above two dry docks in Brooklyn’s Navy Yard, embodies the shipbuilding history of the location inside and out. Untapped Cities has been closely following the construction of the S9 Architecture designed building for the last few years and now, with an opening set for late spring of 2019, the finishing touches are starting to go into place. Among the first decorative pieces to be unveiled inside the new commercial building are four giant, custom murals created specifically for the building’s public lobby by four different Brooklyn based artists. The murals were commissioned by the design firm of Fogarty Finger Architecture and draw inspiration directly from the colors, textures and history of the Navy Yard. Untapped Cities got a sneak peek of the finished murals and learned about the process from conception to execution from Fogarty Finger designers and some of the artists.

Fogarty Finger Architecture is the firm in charge of designing all of the building’s amenity spaces which include the public first floor lobby, the second floor “wellness retreat” which will include a juice bar, food market and fitness center with views of the Manhattan skyline and the sixteenth floor conference rooms. In the long public lobby on the first floor, the space is divided into four “rooms” which each feature a unique mural. The spaces are tied together by a common story, a ship’s journey through varying levels of water. Fogarty Finger associate Candace Rimes explained that the inspiration came from a plimsoll line. A plimsoll line is a symbol painted onto the side of a ship that shows “the maximum depth to which the vessel may be safely immersed when loaded with cargo.” Depending on the density and type of water a ship is traveling through, the weight of the cargo may need to be adjusted. Four different types of water that ships sail through are deep water, summer water, fresh water and tropic water. The design firm and the artists took this idea and turned it into four vastly different pieces of art that are inherently connected.

Mural by Dan Funderburgh.

When visitors walk into the lobby of Dock 72 the first thing they will see is a neon yellow plimsoll line symbol on the wall. Then, running along the entire stretch of the lobby will be murals created by Brooklyn based artists Dan Funderburgh, Kristin Texeira, Greg Lamarche, and Bryce Wymer. Each artist was assigned a type of water and a color palette with colors derived from the cranes, rusted ships, equipment, ropes, metals and other found items within the Navy Yard itself. With only those two parameters, the artists then had free reign to interpret the story and imbue the murals with their own personal style.

FFA Design Concept / Art Direction – Plimsol Line

FFA Color Story – Deep Water

The first mural, based on deep water and a dark color palette, was created by Dan Funderburgh. Funderburgh’s mural draws inspiration from the first transatlantic underwater cable which ran from the United States to the United Kingdom. The cable was laid in part by ships from the Brooklyn Navy Yard. In Funderburgh’s mural he incorporated the first morse code telegraph sent over the cable from Queen Victoria in 1858, it reads, “Glory to God in the highest; on Earth, peace and good will toward men.”  Funderburgh told Untapped Cities, “I like the idea that this whole navy yard was military and then industrial and now it’s creative and technology, there’s a bunch of different themes tangled up and that’s reoccurring in my work because it occurs in New York; just a tangled knot of cultures and ideas.” The intricate patterns were also inspired by dazzle ships of World War I, warships that were painted to distort the appearance of their shape and trick enemy forces. Fogarty Finger also tapped Funderburgh to create a mural for the second floor wellness retreat.

Dan Funderburgh at work. Photograph by Anna Ritsch

The second mural was created by Kristin Texeira, an artist who has worked at the Navy Yard for almost a decade. Texeira’s specialty is painting her own memories. For the Dock 72 piece, she tapped into her own memory of watching the houses of the Navy Yard’s Admiral’s Row get demolished and another memory of seeing sailors eat lunch at Sunny’s in Red Hook. The colors in her mural, which represents summer water, are bright and light. To compliment the murals, each room will be furnished with lighting, seating and tables that adhere to the same theme and feel. In the summer water room, Texeira’s mural will be accompanied by a custom made community table from Armada, a furniture company that operates out of the Navy Yard. The design firm relied heavily on local talent to furnish the interior amenity spaces.

Kristin Texeira at work. Photograph by Anna Ritsch

Standing alongside Texiera’s mural is a funky piece created by Greg Lamarche to represent fresh water. To create his Dock 72 mural, Lamarche, who has a background in street art, crafted a series of collages made from typography and imagery such as advertisements and signs mostly from 1940s and 1950s era Brooklyn, the heyday of the Navy Yard. Inspired by the shape of letters rather than the words they make up, Lamarche then zooms in, or blows up a piece of a collage and paints it. The effect this creates is that of an abstract work with a vintage feel that features bright, fresh colors and shapes that are reminiscent of WPA-era posters.

Greg Lamarche at work. Photograph by Anna Ritsch

To finish out the series of murals is a piece by Bryce Wymer, who also happens to be Dan Funderburgh’s studio mate. With the theme of tropic water, Wymer used bold colors and depth to create a scene that highlights collaboration. The mural depicts workers putting the final touches on a ship before a tropical storm rolls in. Wymer explains that he wanted to highlight the collaborative nature of the site, from its days as a center for ship building to its present status as a hub of creative collaboration. The main figure in the scene is female, to honor the large workforce of women who have worked at the Navy Yard. A moment of art imitating life proved that Wymer hit on an appropriate theme. While the mural was being painted, construction workers who were still carrying in supplies and working on the building noticed the similarity between the scene being depicted and the activity going on around it.

Mural by Bryce Wymer

Dock 72 is the product of three development partners, Rudin Development, Boston Properties, and WeWork, who will be the anchor tenant of the building. While often times getting multiple parties to agree on one idea, Robert Finger explained that the process of getting all three partners on board for this project was pleasantly easy, “They were all eager to make something special and unique. So if it was a choice between business as usual and something really special, particularly if we could integrate it with local artists or craftsmen in the Navy Yard, they were excited to do that.”

In addition to the murals in the lobby, there will also be a rotating gallery in the food lounge which will feature the work of photographers and artist from the surrounding area. Also, each elevator cab features a massive photograph taken in the Navy Yard by Harrison Boyce. The lobby of Dock 72 is set to open in the spring of 2019 with tenants moving in and the rest of the building following in the fall. The lobby will be open to the public so anyone will be able to walk in an admire the murals.

FFA rendering / Dan Funderburgh Artwork

Next, check out Up Close with the Dry Docks of the Brooklyn Navy Yard and  The Top 10 Secrets of the Brooklyn Navy Yard

 art, Behind the Scenes, Brooklyn, Brooklyn Navy Yard, Dock 72, Fogarty Finger Architecture, murals, WeWork

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