Among of the more common dreams New Yorkers have is one in which they discover their apartment has an extra room, that the space they live in is actually growing outward, an ever-expanding fractal of square footage. Then, we wake up. Our apartments are not the malleable entities we dream them to be. So how can we exert some control over our spaces in the absence of oneiric home renovation? Enter MODULE R, a high-concept, modern design store.
Donald Rattner, the founder, is an architect who tells us he was inspired to open the store on Atlantic Avenue after being “commissioned to design thirty identical hotel cottages for an historic spa resort in West Virginia. For a variety of reasons we decided to design and build them as modular prefabricated structures. This got me interested not only in modularity, but in any kind of creative product or system that accommodates reconfigurability, co-creativity and flexible design. When I discovered that no one in the design, retail or gallery sectors had thought to specialize in this body of work, I figured it was my duty to rectify the situation.” MODULE R first opened as a pop-up in November of 2010, and then, a few months later, as a brick-and-mortar store on the border of Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill.
Rattner feels the store benefits from “the architects, graphic designers and members of the creative class” who live in the area and appreciates the fact that he gets to “[spend his] day engaged with some of the most intriguing and beautiful objects in the world, and the people who make or acquire them.” When thinking about the future of MODULE R, Rattner quotes Chicago architect Daniel Burnham, saying, “Make no little plans,” and telling us of his desire “to grow into a network of virtual and physical storefronts in a dozen countries and cosmopolitan centers within a decade.” However, he quickly follows up by saying, “But rest assured: Brooklyn will always be home!”