We are proud to support the Black Artists + Designers Guild in their inaugural project, Obsidian House, a futuristic virtual concept home designed specifically for Black multi-generational families.
Back in November 2018, Brooklyn-based artist, designer, and activist Malene Barnett founded the Black Artists + Designers Guild with the goal of combatting the lack of representation of Black talent and culture in the design industry.
A little over two years later, and BADG has grown into a widely celebrated global coalition over 200 members strong. Its work has been lauded at some of the industry’s most prominent events, like High Point Market and NY Now, and its members have routinely graced the covers of magazines. Through dialogue, awareness, and robust programming and events, BADG is creating an “inclusive arts and design environment…providing visibility and opportunity for our members” and “rewriting the narrative behind the misrepresentation of our ancestral legacy in design.”
Now, BADG is making major waves in the design world yet again with its own showhouse: the extraordinary Obsidian Virtual Concept House.
Early on in the pandemic, Barnett and her team came up with the idea for a virtual showhouse as a way to stay creative and showcase the talents of BADG members at a time when people could not meet face-to-face. But they didn’t want to just create any showhouse — instead, they wanted to design a home that prioritized the health, wellbeing, lifestyle, and culture of the occupants.
“We decided that we wanted to expand the idea of a showhouse, which is usually more based in fantasy than in reality,” Barnett explained to Curbed in October 2020. “We wanted to have something that could be real, and position it as a way to live and not just show off great design.”
A team 23 BADG creators brought together their research and lived experience to make this vision a reality. The end result is a stunning, 11,000-square-foot home that beautifully intersects sustainability, innovative technologies, and Black culture.
Imagined in Oakland, CA in the year 2025, Obsidian is a futuristic concept home designed by Black families, for Black families to prioritize mental, emotional, physical and spiritual wellness.
Envisioned as an “anchor” home where extended family can come and stay, Obsidian features a number of multi-functional flex spaces to accommodate overnight guests (a need that BADG designers identified as especially important in the wake of COVID, when many families find themselves reincorporating).
Founding member of the BADG and Obsidian co-creator Everick Brown envisioned the Analog Vestibule as one of these flex spaces — a place for occupants to play, lounge, sleep, or create.
Specifying several multi-purpose and space-maximizing pieces from Resource, Brown designed this space as a flexible family room of the future; an inspirational epicenter of the home meant for connection, interaction, and grounding. Despite being bereft of electronics (hence the Analog in its title) this space is rich is other forms of technology such as transforming furniture, which allows the room to take on various functions and identities over the course of the day.
On the far end of the Analog Vestibule, Brown integrated an LGM revolving wall bed, flanked by two custom cabinetry units by Resource. By day, the LGM takes the appearance of a sleek built-in library, a functional backdrop to the room’s DJ booth. By night, the LGM revolves on a track by way of hidden pull-knob, revealing a queen-size bed with slide-out nightstands — a perfect accommodation for visiting extended family or the occasional overnight guest.
Elsewhere throughout the Analog Vestibule, Everick incorporated more built-in systems from Resource, many of which also feature a second hidden function. With decorative bronze grills and ambient lighting, these open shelving systems are the perfect place to showcase mementos, artwork, family photos, and book collections — items which, Brown stresses, not only remind us of home but actually define it. But these shelving systems are also equipped with other technology in the form of flip-down desks and hidden bars, carving out extra space for storage or working.
Obsidian also features the cutting-edge smart home systems and sustainable technology — including rainwater harvesting, geothermal heating and cooling, solar power, and even a dedicated garden space where occupants can grow their own food. “Part of the Black historic tradition involves growing herbs and canning and preserving home-grown produce,” says architect, BADG member and Obsidian co-creator, Nina Cooke John. “So, that’s definitely something we’d like to acknowledge.”
Another, more disturbing need that the home seeks to address is that of safety; in response to countless police killings of unarmed Black men and women — particularly that of Breonna Taylor, who was shot in her own home — the designers incorporated a number of added safety features to Obsidian House.
Through state-of-the-art renderings and virtual reality, Obsidian provides a fully immersive experience that invites visitors to reimagine home as a sanctuary, “where family and work life are intertwined and rest, safety, nourishment, spirituality and joy are central,” explains BADG’s website.
As a collaboration between 23 architects and designers, Obsidian is also unique in that it seeks to de-center the individual. Obsidian is a collective, made possible only through the combined perspectives and expertise of its co-creators. As Barnett explained to Business of Home in September, 2020, BADG hopes that this legacy project will “decolonize” the concept of the design showhouse: “We are all equal creators of this space.”
The Obsidian Virtual Concept House is a partnership between BADG and the Hearst Luxury & Design Collection, which includes the design publications Elle Décor, House Beautiful, Town & Country, and Veranda.
In coordination with the launch of Obsidian House, the Hearst Luxury & Design Collection also launched its Design Unites charity auction. 18 lots were available for bidding — including a transforming Tesoro table from Resource Furniture — and proceeds from the auction benefitted the Black Artists + Designers Guild.
Resource Furniture is extremely honored to join the Black Artists + Designers Guild and the Hearst Luxury & Design Collection in their commitment to home as sanctuary for all. To learn more about our work with non-profit organizations doing incredible work in the design industry, please click here.
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