On Candid Camera
New York's Remote Lounge by Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture takes "see and be seen" to a new, technologically interactive level
Linas Alsenas -- Interior Design, 6/1/2002 12:00:00 AM
There's no escaping Big Brother at New York's Remote Lounge. More than 60 video cameras are trained on the 3,000-square-foot space. But in this case, Big Brother is anyone and everyone, as martini-sipping hipsters scour the bar from their Cocktail Consoles, directing cameras, switching channels, typing messages, even old-fashioned phoning across the room. VJs (human or computerized) also mix up the displayed video feed with archived footage and clips from sources as random as Bollywood musicals. All this is made possible by a cable TV system hooked up to over 100 monitors.
When Kevin Centanni, Leo Fernekes, and Bob Stratton decided to open an interactive media bar, they were well equipped with technical know-how, each having founded a technology-design business. However, the partners lacked the architectural finesse to turn what might have been a short-lived, wire-strewn technophile haven into an artsy hot spot. So they enlisted Jordan Parnass.
"I tend to have clients with more vision than cash—which I prefer to the other way around," says the architect, whose one-man firm is in Brooklyn. At Remote, budget constraints determined the poured-concrete floors, painted walls, and vinyl paneling and upholstery; custom hexagonal stools also cut corners. The other major consideration was to make the lounge "drunken idiot–proof," he explains. "You could essentially hose everything down, from the banquettes to the floor." Water-resistant surfaces include monitor consoles' back-painted Lexan facing and sturdy plastic buttons, made for slot machines. His favorite element, the concrete-faced bar, features a Corian lip computer-milled to accommodate button controls and an LED ticker that displays text messaging.
Parnass was careful to maintain a balance between modernity and playfulness. "There's always a danger of falling into extremes," he says, "either a gleaming chrome palace or a 'ye olde' TGI Friday's with video cameras." How did he fare? Check out the retro-futurist result yourself at www.remotelounge.com, which offers video recordings of the previous night's revelry.