Neighborhoods

Dos Penos

by

Location Bushwick

Rent $3,200 (commercial)

Square feet 3,000

Occupants Daniel Harper, Joel Hoag, Perry Dixon (designers, members of Elseware, an industrial design collective), two other roommates

Who is the person rolled up in a blanket on the floor near the refrigerator? [Joel] She’s someone our roommates met on a plane from Germany. She didn’t have enough money for a youth hostel so they invited her here. [Daniel] We don’t know those roommates. [Joel] Our real roommate is traveling in the Ukraine. He had them come stay. He’s a Japanese student. He met a girl who lives in Poland. Oliver Beckert’s also in the collective. He lives on the Lower East Side.

Now, this collective, were you inspired by the Bauhaus? Or do you have a political philosophy driving you—conversations at the café, manifestos calling for the abolition of this and that, from “the hands of thousands of workers . . . ” [Daniel] I guess you could say we’re just winging it. In one sense, the Bauhaus banded together because some were craftsmen and some designers. They collaborated. I’m the one with the wood shop, the tools. Joel is the information guy. [Joel] Perry’s the word person.

Your brochure describes Daniel as an “imagination astronaut with lots of gas.” [Daniel] We came here because Joel and I both were looking for a place to live, three months ago. Joel sort of found us a broker. [Joel] I was in Williamsburg before. I moved there because I broke up with a girlfriend. I met another one the week after. The new one was on the train reading A Monk Swimming. [Daniel] We had another member who quit recently because she couldn’t stand it anymore.

There’s writing on the wall: “Your ideas about utopia are borrowed.” [Joel] That was from the people before us. Someone left a wallet with $20. It took him months to come get it, and we needed beer money.

You said you cut hair here, too? [Daniel] We do anything. My father is a barber.

What’s this flat, 10-inch-diameter bendable piece of green plaid—a hat? [Daniel] A clock. [Joel] Big Bend. See, there are the hands. [Daniel] You can wrap it around your leg and walk around with it. Or you can wear it on your head.

Now, your toilet-tank aquarium. [Daniel] The Aquariass. We’re thinking of getting a group of disco girls together singing “Aquar-I-ass.” We’ve sold three. Here’s the Douchaise, the shower chair. If you want, I could plug it in and show you. Do you want me to show you?

Oh, OK. [Daniel] It’s a difficult object to write about. There’s only one. [Joel] The chair folds open. [Daniel] I pump the air in here.

The chamber’s growing larger, longer. It just flipped over because it’s so big. [Joel] It’s also called Dos Penos [sic]. Dos because it has two chambers. [Daniel] Inside the air-filled shower stall is a tiled shower floor and a terry-cloth-lined dressing room. We get the water in with a bucket. [Joel] This cart on wheels attached to a belt is called the Hipster Personal Trailer. I built my dad a trailer so he could walk across the country. I don’t know if it makes stuff easier to carry. I’ve only brought clothes to the laundromat with it. [Daniel] You could carry 300 pounds. [Joel]. My dad wants to call it Haul Ass. He’s dean of pharmacy at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. Here’s a chair made out of drywall. [Daniel] This one is the I-Lean. A standing chair, just lean, put your drink here. [Joel] This is the TV Tray Table. When you are done, you and the other three take away your trays, which are part of the tabletop. Then you’re left with the skeleton of a table. It’s the death of family dinner. It’s not completely that dark, though. There’s a little hope—you can come back together and bring your trays back. [Daniel] It could be called Easter.