Soft Catacomb
Dante Furioso and Luis Salas Porras, 2020

Soft Catacomb refashions citygroup’s compact project space as an otherworldly refuge—an unprogrammed interior available in the time of social distancing. Before the coronavirus pandemic, citygroup offered a space where architects and designers could meet to socialize and debate. Now, 104B Forsyth will be available to reserve for small groups who wish to interact indoors, watch a film, have a video call, or simply hang out.

In a time when even the smallest, residual parcels of New York real estate are further partitioned for rent, the interior treatment by Furioso and Salas Porras reimagines the space, making it strange.The determinacy of design is replaced by free associations of form and materiality that open up to undefined, non-productive enjoyment. As we shelter in place, the project speculates on new visual and haptic effects of our indoor environments.

Drawing on the subterranean nature of the site and much of New York City’s public life, the interior explores a language of repeating geological shapes and symbols, with soft and textured materials. It seeks to draw passersby off the street with arresting color and form, while softening the experience to the touch and the ear.