Studio Dror Converts New York SoHo Shop Into Hipster Synagogue


Images credit John Hall courtesy of Studio Dror

It is a fascinating sign of changing times, to see a new synagogue in one of the hippest parts of New York City. Orthodox Jews have to walk to shul on the Sabbath, so the shuls have to go where the customers are. And being SoHo, Best of Green 2010 designer Dror Benshetrit has designed the ultimate hipster shul, from the cool neon sign to the stripes that " evoke both the lines of the tallit (prayer shawl) that men wear for praying, as well as the image of a bar code."

The reception area includes a table made from QuaDror base, (his patented building system that works at different scales) and I love how the ceiling, like the front curtains, can be interpreted two ways; you can think of it as a menorah (candelabra) or a subway map.


Passed the corridor, the visitor arrives at the top of a steel-and-glass stairwell opening the view and the path to the sleek, under-leveled sanctuary. Art pieces on the wall consist of a series of panels, which the congregant can un-hang and fold into chairs or coffee tables. The design artist interpreted his own idea of the prayer benches with comfortable beige low-couches. The peaceful sanctuary atmosphere, traditionally created by the light of the stained-glass windows, is here created with single retro-style Edison bulbs.

Dror Benshetrit may be Jewish, but he would have made a good Shaker, with his spare, minimal design and his propensity for hanging chairs on the wall. (See his lovely Italian wall-hanging chair here)

You know the place is for hipsters, because in a Jewish service you have to stand up and sit down a lot, and that's not a chair that will make it easy. I do like how he turned the 7 brick squares remaining after the floor joists were removed into a menorah fresco.


Immediately noticeable is the Torah ark in the center with its unusual round shape made of overlapping circles that slide open and close, each of which holds one of the triangles that form the star of David when slide-closed on top of one another. Fashion designer Yigal Azrouel selected and wrapped the fabric on the Torah ark. This interpretation of the religious element conducts Dror's consistent sensitivity for transformation and motion in objects of our living environments.

Ark as transformer furniture. Another surprise from Dror Benshetrit More on the SoHo Synagogue here.
More Dror:
Best of Green: Design and Architecture
Transformer Furniture: Dror Benshetrit
Flatpack 3D Printed LED Lamp By Dror Benshetrit
Transformers: Eco House by Studio Dror For Indecisive Modernists

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Tags: Designers

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