Muji – Hudson Yards

With divisions in design, timber framing, and woodworking, along with a sister company that specializes in reclaimed wood and timbers, collaboration is something that happens often at New Energy Works. Now and again there are projects that highlight when we’ve really had everyone involved, often realized at the close of the job where things have gone smoothly and everyone stands back with a beer to say, “hell yes.”

Muji at Hudson Yards in New York City is one of those projects of collaboration. Pioneer Millworks brought the project to us after working with Muji’s design team to get just the right reclaimed timbers for the store’s aesthetic.

“The Hudson Yard’s store is a really interesting mix of clean, neutral tones with these rugged salvaged textures,” says Jered Slusser, Northeast sales for Pioneer Millworks. “The walls are clad in American Prairie Brown Board which continues to play up that contrast.”

Reclaimed as-found industrial timbers from a military base in New England, some of the roughest we’ve seen, were what the design team was aiming for. The timbers were needed in very specific sizes, with original patina on all four sides and a consistent tone/texture from piece to piece—a task Pioneer Millworks was able to meet.

Our timber frame engineers then worked with the Muji design team on structure details, joinery, and fit. Dave (timber framing) and Geoff (woodworking) made their way to the store location to collect detailed measurements and site scoping.

Pioneer Millworks also supplied the timbers for the Portland, Oregon Muji store. You can read more about that project and see photos here.

After the drawings were finished and the timbers had run through the Hundegger for rough joinery and cutting, they moved on to our fine woodworking division. The timbers received a heavy wire brushing, borate treatment, flame seal, and touch-ups to even out tone. Our woodworkers finished the joinery, did some dry fitting, and then loaded the timbers, sending them off to New York City where they reunited for installation.

“When I look at the Muji project I see what we can do best—blurring the lines between divisions and companies to get the client exactly what they envision and making it seamless for them. The timber installation is very non-traditional and it really adds something to the store. It’s a twist on your typical timber framing and woodworking—something that is really neat to see,” said Rob D’Alessandro, manager of New Energy Works fine woodworking division, NEWwoodworks.

Hudson Yards is largest private real estate development in the United States, and the largest in New York City since Rockefeller center. Designed by Elkus Manfredi, Hudson Yards includes more than 18 million square feet of commercial and residential space and 14 acres of public space on the west side of Manhattan. The Muji store, at 9,230sf, is the company’s largest US location and where our woodworking team spent a week on installation.

“It’s always challenging to work in New York City because of the logistics and in this case, we also had the reality that this is a very large, live jobsite. There was a lot going on around the team and the installation was complex with areas where the timbers seemingly float in space. We had to wait for pieces like guywires to be installed as we were working. But in the end, it was a successful installation of a really fun timber structure,” said Rob.

We often talk about enjoying a challenge and we acknowledge, even rely on, the integration of our multiple divisions to help us help you efficiently solve problems and partner on solutions for any project. (Though we do have a particular passion for heavy timber!) What are you dreaming up? Let us know.