Freelancing inside an Art Deco Pencil Factory
The Eberhard Faber Pencil Company, originally the A. W. Faber Company was founded by Eberhard Faber (1822-1879) in 1861. Following a disastrous fire at the Manhattan plant in 1872, Faber moved the factory to Greenpoint Brooklyn, where it remained until 1956. The company is credited with bringing German lead pencil making techniques to the United States and the company grew to become one of Brooklyn’s most important factories. The final, and most structurally-advanced of all of the Eberhard Faber Pencil Company buildings, was built at 61 Greenpoint Avenue. This reinforced concrete, Art Deco style factory building was designed by architect Frederick H. Klie and built c.1923-24. It was the Eberhard Faber Pencil Company’s signature building and the largest structure in the Greenpoint manufacturing district. Six stories tall, the upper floor is embellished with stars and pencils, gigantic glazed terra cotta reliefs that proudly advertised the company’s main product to pedestrians and passengers using the nearby ferry.
[I'm interested in creating a sense of community and connection in Brooklyn. These days, everyone is so fractionalized that there is very little collaboration among local businesses. I'm really motivated to organize our community to create meaningful connections.]
-Nathan Windsor, Community Developer at Pencilworks.
[Today, many in the New York area know this building as the Pencil Factory. Just as Eberhard Faber created a better pencil, at PencilWorks, we are creating a better place to work! Become a member of a community of talented start-ups, small businesses and dynamic organizations. We provide the space, community, and infrastructure you’ll need to turn your work dreams into reality. Looking forward to having you write the next chapter of our building’s history.]
Nathan Windsor has been in the industry for the past 4 years and tells us a little about how PencilWorks has reinvented one of Brooklyn's most iconic buildings.
-What motivates you to get up and continue what you do today?
Nathan Windsor: I'm interested in creating a sense of community and connection in Brooklyn. These days, everyone is so fractionalized that there is very little collaboration among local businesses. I'm really motivated to organize our community to create meaningful connections.
-Exactly - what you are trying to accomplish?
Nathan Windsor: We are working to keep a secure and modern work environment for our members. I also spend a lot of time finding services that our members find useful; medical, educational, recreational.
-Where are you today in life/business and where do you want to be?
Nathan Windsor: We are at 90% capacity in our building, we'd like to be at 100%. We would also like to get more of our members at local meetups and create a closer sense of community.
-What seems to be the business problem or challenges that you have today? what keeps you awake at night?
Nathan Windsor: People in Brooklyn do not seem to have time. Everyone is constantly trying to pay their own bills and spend time on their own hobbies and lives. I find it challenging that while people feel isolated from their own communities, they're not exactly willing to put in the time to get to know their neighbors, and so we have created a social desert. If we are ever going to create a community, we have to find common ground and be willing to work with one another.