A recent article in am new york(a) focused on the peripheral impact, of the loss of the borders books chain in new york city. The article discussed how new yorkers would use borders not as a place to purchase books, but a place to relax, have a coffee and wait for friends. The article posed the question about the social impact of loosing the store as a social space and an urban oasis. This secondary result of the stores content became the primary function of the space. Borders served as a meeting place in the city, a space to relax and read a book, to browse and learn, to speak to someone for reference, and lastly to purchase book. The value was not about the purchasing of a book from the store, because in the end everyone would find the book they liked go to their phones and purchase it from amazon.com, have a coffee and go home. The hole left in New York from the loss of borders as well as other large box stores such as virgin megastore is not the product, but the service, the social aspect. So, how can this social function be re implemented into the city without the concern about market sustainability?
This project proposes a solution add a human font end to an existing marketplace, amazon.com. Amazon front is not a proposal for a store, it is a front end for the virtual market, a place. a space that is not designed around the sale of commodities, but the experience of interfacing. It is a space for gathering, relaxing, learning, escaping. A simple space that is not about the sale of items on shelves, but unlimited open access to virtual databases. What is proposed is complete access to the amazon cloud of data in a single space, where one can browse e books and online magazines, archive content, or purchase it on the cloud. Amazon front proposes 5 distinctly programmed spaces each based around a combination of an existing facet of the amazon marketplace, and a social experience lost with the loss of the box store.
The first experience of entering is a four story clears space which is flanked on one side by a floor to ceiling paneled media wall below which sits a single information desk the only object in the space. The atrium primarily serves as a gathering place and the primary information point of the space where users can talk to experts in books, music, or local community information. Additionally, the media wall and open space provide the ability for special events such as book readings, lectures, and discussions to take place. opposite the media wall in the atrium a multi layered green wall spans the space creating a passive sound and privacy buffer while cleaning the internal air. Housed between the layers of this green wall a suspended public staircase provides direct access to the 3 programmed rooms.
The amazon mp3 cafe on the ground floor behind the green wall is the first programmed space is conceived of as a social interaction space. A cafe supports a flexible seating area while at the tables and bar dedicated mp3 players with complete access to the amazon mp3 cloud are available for use and browsing.
The kindle lounge above the cafe on the second floor, is an informal lounge area proposes public access kindles and tablets for browsing and reading the complete amazon ebook library. reference experts are available at two information stations to make suggestions.
The reading room the third floor is conceived of as a quite space for study and reading, like the lounge it has public kindle and tablet access, but its experts are geared towards research and the environment is classroom like. The space provides as secondary function as an event space for interactive tutorials and seminars.
If central park is New York's front lawn, what is proposed is the back yard. a quite secluded space where one can relax under a tree with free wifi or read a book. it is an urban oasis, an escape from the energy of the area. The backyard would also provide an amenity, an extension to Bryant park or an event space for the New York library, a space for barbecues or outdoor film screenings buffered from the noise of traffic and the city.
Amazon front is a space not about product, but about access, about socialization, about escape, and about the human face to a digital marketplace. it looks to sustain the confluence of information and human interaction that the disappearing big box stores provided for, but have left missing.