Design firm finds unique use for Mickey doors
It’s not uncommon to see a Mickey beverage-style roll-up door several times during an average day. Spot a beverage brand pictured on a sideload truck body or trailer on a local road or highway, in a supermarket parking lot or in front of any restaurant or bar, and there’s a very good chance you’re looking at a Mickey roll-up door. Maybe it’s an Interstate battery truck driving through town, a Culligan Water truck delivering to your home or office, or an AmeriGas propane gas truck hauling a tank for your next barbeque. They all feature Mickey roll-up doors.
Where you would not expect to see a Mickey beverage-style roll-up door, however, is on an upscale bakery shop in the hip Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. That is, until now.
Milk Bar, a trendsetting upscale bakery with stores in NYC, Washington, DC and Toronto, is using Mickey roll-up doors on its store at the corner of 8th Ave. and 21st street, to convey an image of a food truck. The unique application was the brainchild of Ada Tolla, one of the two founding Principals at LOT-EK, an award-winning architectural design studio based in New York City and Naples, Italy.
“At LOT-EK we are interested in reusing existing large industrial objects and systems,” Ada explains. “We have always admired the beverage trucks with their smart and simple system. We were excited to test them in a new way in the Milk Bar stores. The beverage truck created a precise boundary between the back-of-house operation and the customers, filtering some of the equipment, storage and activities. The operability of the doors creates change and variations in the space. We are excited to have found a ‘system’ that is flexible enough to be laid out and deployed in different ways depending on the different retail spaces it will occupy. We like its quality and materiality.”
How Ada decided on Mickey to supply the doors “is quite a fantastic story,” she says. “Once we presented the first design of the store using the roll-up truck doors to our client, we did some research to find a supplier. I was walking early one morning and I saw a beverage truck delivering. I stopped to take some pictures of the interior mechanism details, and the gentleman who was driving it suggested we talk to [Mickey]. So we did … and we visited, and the rest is history.”
Ada met with Pete Maynard, Service Manager at Mickey’s Northeast Reconditioning & Service Center in Freehold, NJ. Pete worked with the agency’s specifications to customize a standard Mickey roll-up door, including the top header, bottom rail, door posts and rollers – all original Mickey parts. “We found interest and availability on Mickey’s end to take on an application that is very different from the conventional beverage truck, and to let us learn and discover the inner workings of the system itself at the NJ facility,” says Ada. Not only will LOT-EK “most definitely” be using the Mickey doors on other Milk Bar stores, Ada adds that they will “be on the lookout for new variations in the next few months. Hopefully we will find new and unforeseen opportunities for those great looking and functioning doors.”
(Editor’s note: LOT-EK has been involved with commercial, institutional and residential projects globally for major cultural institutions and museums, including MoMA, the Whitney Museum, the Walker Art Center and the Guggenheim. LOT-EK has achieved high visibility for its sustainable and innovative approach to construction, materials and space, through the adaptive reuse (“upcycling”) of existing industrial objects and systems not originally intended for architecture.)