We opened our flagship store on November 17, 2011 on the street some have called the Champs-Elysees of Brooklyn, and others call Atlantic Avenue. Yes, you really can see the Atlantic from the foot of the Avenue just a few blocks away (okay, technically New York Harbor). This puts us on the boundary between Brooklyn Heights, New York’s first landmark district, to the north and Cobble Hill, equally brownstone-beautiful, to the south. Boerum Hill, Fort Greene, Dumbo and Downtown are other nearby neighborhoods, each with their own attractions and character.
Of course, there is some earlier history prior to this event. A year before, we created a pop-up store a few blocks down the Avenue in order to test the concept of a catalog focused exclusively on customizable, transformable, interactive, flexible and modular art and design. The reception was loud and clear: people liked it.
So after five months of popping up we retired to offices in Dumbo in order to build up our collection and launch a webstore, before re-emerging in the new 1,600 square foot space we now call home.
Where We Came From
We are often asked where our retail concept came from. Architecture, we answer. That’s because the company’s founder, Donald Rattner, is an architect and principal of his firm Studio for A.R.T. and Architecture.
Let us explain. In 2001, Mr. Rattner was commissioned to design thirty identical cottages for a spa resort in West Virginia. To meet the project requirements the client directed that the structures be constructed out of prefabricated modular units. This was something largely unfamiliar to the architect, who until then had designed buildings assembled in the field, not a factory.
Delving into the subject to learn more, Rattner found himself exposed to a rich universe of new concepts, from flexible design to computer-aided-manufacturing to mass customization. In exploring these subjects Rattner broadened his interest to include the other fine arts as well as product design. Soon he discovered the world was filled with many outstanding works of art and design embracing the new tenets of modularity and personalization. He also observed there was no central marketplace that brought these pieces together. MODULE R was founded to fill that void.
MODULE R proudly supports local schools and non-profit organizations, including:
Public School 8, Brookyn Heights
Public School 29, Cobble Hill
The Packer Collegiate Institute, Brooklyn Heights
Plymouth Church School, Brooklyn Heights
Brooklyn Public Library
Grace and Spiritus Chorale of Brooklyn
Museum of Arts and Design, New York