Dwell Party Highlights: Celebrating Prefab Design at SXSW Eco

Dwell Party Highlights: Celebrating Prefab Design at SXSW Eco

By Addie Broyles
What better place for Dwell to host our SXSW Eco party than a prefab pop up at the design complex of the woman who founded the Austin Modern Home Tour? Go behind the scenes in our story and slideshow to learn more about the venue and the event.

"Sustainability is part of our culture [in Austin]...but modern was rejected," Krisstina Wise said Thursday night as designers, architects, environmental policy makers, photographers—and even a few life coaches and restaurateurs thrown in—mingled at the Dwell SXSW Eco prefab party held at  her real estate brokerage firm, The GoodLife Team, and its xeriscaped garden venue.

To dispel the misperception she so often heard that modern was all about tearing down funky old houses to pour concrete slabs, she created a modern home tour that would "show Austin was modern could be."

As the popular tour has grown, so has her company and the building she’s transformed from a decrepit "pigeon house" just east of downtown Austin into a vibrant, eco-friendly workspace that now includes three prefab buildings from Austin’s Sett Studio, the largest of which was only just finished hours before Dwell's SXSW Eco party started.

"We work a lot, so I wanted to have a space where we love to work," Wise explains. The prefab buildings were a relatively inexpensive way to expand to accommodate the quickly growing staff but in a way that was still environmentally conscious. Throughout Dwell's party, guests were popping in and out of the individual buildings, inspecting the materials and layout and enjoying a quiet and cool place to sit and have a conversation admidst the happy party bustle of music, cocktails, and vegetarian food trucks surrounding the prefabs.

Among the most striking and talked about features of the party were the lightshades from New Zealand designer David Trubridge hanging around the property, including a large raindrop-shaped piece near the DJ booth and a cluster of a half dozen smaller, brightly colored lights hanging under the canopy toward the back of the property. Most of them were made out of bamboo and pieced together with small clips, making them easy to ship, assemble, and break down. Everywhere you looked, the light cast the shade's intricate pattern onto the white rock gravel. (WakaNINE, the Austin-based distributor of David Trubridge, was Dwell's generous lighting sponsor for this event.)

Also spread throughout the party were white origami-like folding Flux chairs provided by Flux Furniture and copies of Origin magazine, whose publisher and editor-in-chief, Maranda Pleasant, was on hand to talk about the conscious art and lifestyle publication and her presentation at the SXSW Eco conference earlier in the day. (Origin is distributed nationwide in Whole Foods, among others.) Pleasant joined forces with Dwell to bring in a diverse mix of SXSW Eco green and tech minds, as well as designers, architects, and other Austin creatives. The lively event culminated in a special set by the internationally renowned Paul Miller a.k.a. DJ Spooky, an artist-in-residence at the Met and a bestselling app creator, author, speaker, and musician, who entertained guests with a mix of hip hop infused symphonic beats well past the event's scheduled closing hour of 10 p.m.

From the delicious drinks (classic margaritas and muddled jalapeno-cucumber cocktails made with sponsor Dulce Vida's 100% agave, organic tequila) to the eco-friendly eats (fried green tomatoes atop local arugula; vegan Jamaican jerk slaw from one of Austin’s most noted food trucks, Lucky J’s Chicken and Waffles; and vegan ice cream sandwiches from Coolhaus, another trailer), the party was a high-energy mix of authentic Austin SXSW style, sustainability, and modern design inspiration (sans the frenetic mania of SXSW 6th Street parties). Special additional thanks go out to Sustyparty for the lovely, eco-friendly party supplies, and our sponsor Whole Foods, who provided mixers for the event.

Bright white Flux chairs stand at attention the day of the party.

Click through our slideshow to see snapshots from the event. We hope to see you next year!

A behind the scenes moment: Last minute party preparations with Dwellers Nuala Berrells and Sara Ost (center); team members from Sett Studio, GoodLife Team, and WakaNINE make last minute adjustments as the line outside grew around the block.

The first guests arrive for the prefab walk through.

As the doors opened and night fell, the crowd began to grow. Some noshed on vegan local food truck fare while others headed for the prefab walkthrough.

The view from near the DJ booth.

Guests step up to tour two of the prefabs and chat with Sett Studio, Dwell, and GoodLife Team members.

Two happy SXSW Eco attendees smile for the camera.

The rear prefab (completed the day of the event) is perched in front of a large geometric cabana structure which housed the margarita bar.

As seen from the entrance, the venue grounds glowed thanks to a custom, multicolored installation from David Trubridge and WakaNINE.

Bartender Elisabeth Champagne serves organic margaritas and muddled jalapeno-cucumber cocktails to thirsty guests.

Pop up attendees line up for free vegan eats including an arugula and fried-green-tomato salad from Lucky J's restaurant, a local food truck favorite owned by Jason Umlas. (Special thanks from Dwell to Wade Beesley for coordinating!)

COOLHAUS was in the house, serving up scrumptious vegan architectural ice cream sandwiches.

A group of party guests.

At left, Dulce Vida owner Richard Sorenson, our generous event alcohol sponsor, toasts to prefab with guests.

The GoodLife Team crew.

The Sett Studio crew, including designer Kimber Reed and founder Mike Speciale (center right). Wardrobe for Reed and Dwell was provided by sustainable fashion house Allison Parris.

Maranda Pleasant, publisher of Origin Magazine, introduces the award-winning DJ Spooky (Paul Miller).

DJ Spooky laying the beats.

At night's end, guests kicked up their heels and danced.


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