Jungle Design: A Garden Store to Go Wild Over

Jungle Design: A Garden Store to Go Wild Over

Matthew Noiseux
Jun 23, 2010

Store History

  • Founded: 2008
  • Founded by: Amanda Mitchell
  • Headquarters: Williamsburg Brooklyn

Looking to be inspired? Jungle Design in Williamsburg has a welcoming and relaxed vibe, perfect for browsing through the Brooklyn-friendly display gardens and trying out the chairs, benches and lounges while admiring the flora and thinking of the possibilities. In addition to what is on offer, however, you also have to take note of the building details. The owner, Amanda Mitchell, is creating the space (a former parking lot!) in phases and there is quite a bit of inspiration to draw from her creative and green solutions

The main building on the lot is a unique open, wooden post and beam type structure with a roof and no walls. It was created with architect Galia Solomnoff, who also designed the building for Dia: Beacon. It will eventually be expanded upon to include Amanda's landscape design office.

But 'as-is' it's already quite useful and adaptable. The shade alone was a welcome treat on a hot, sunny day's visit and the lack of walls allowed us to enjoy a nice breeze as we looked out on the gardens from the shaded lounge chairs.

  • Although this large structure is open to the elements, there are hooks all along the eaves which can hold wall panels. When the weather is extreme the wall panels are hung up to keep the elements out. In the colder months this is combined with the woodburning stove that sits in the middle to help them get almost year-round use from the space.
  • The sloped roof channels the rainwater into galvanized metal gutters, which then connects to large rainwater catchment systems.

  • For the employees there is a restroom, which is also 'off the grid' and consists of a composting toilet and solar fan. The toilet has a crank handle that folds out to turn an internal compost drum. The organic matter on the side is added to the drum after each use.

  • They also have a very healthy compost bin (it's in the slideshow above) which deals with much of the organic waste the shop produces.
  • Amanda's first business was selling reclaimed wood. Although the business has been passed on to family members, she still carries and incorporates salvaged wood and stone objects into her projects.
  • For the time being a neighbor helps with any basic electricity needs to run their radio or the computer, but in the coming year Amanda plans to add in solar panels and a wind turbine to generate the shop's electricity.

The final stage of the build-out will involve a pod-like office that houses Amanda's landscape design offices. As she describes it, it will be housed under the present beam structure, and be adaptable to open out into the surrounding garden. Based on what she has so far, the final product will be well worth the visit.

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