From free design talks to installations, here’s a roundup of the best of the Design Pavilion
Author: Jake Frisbee
Come check out 2018 Design Week in the heart of Times Square, anchored by architecture and design activity in the Design Pavilion. Enjoy free programming that brings the best of design to the industry’s insiders and novice architecture admirers, and as signage boldly announces, “Get Inspired!” From installations, to cocktail parties, design talks, to pop-up shops, here’s a roundup of the best of NYCxDesign at the Design Pavilion, which runs through May 23.
You can’t miss this Instagram-worthy, sleek, white Inflatable Pavilion which spans 2,000-ft wide and 25-ft. tall in the heart of Times Square. The standout site-specific installation and events hub was designed by U.K.-based architects at Inflate. The collective’s vision was led by the Design Pavilion’s creative director Harry Allen. The Pavilion lures as a central point for designers and curious visitors alike. The Design Week Pavilion runs along the plazas from Broadway and 7th Avenue between 42nd and 47th Streets, while the Inflate Pavilion is prominently on view between 46th and 47th Street.
High-Tech Booths and a Pop-Up Shop Inside the Inflatable Pavilion
Inside the Pavilion are interactive booths which display cutting-edge products that flaunt dynamic visual projections, at times with automated shades creating a “reveal and conceal” effect. Duggal Vision Solutions’ Innovation Lab created a booth in partnership with Avery Dennison and Hunter Douglas, accompanied by a light installation by L’Observatoire International. The interactive booth features Hunter Douglas’ Silhouette Window Shadings and Luminette Privacy Sheers paired with LUMIPIXELS, a captivating display combining digitally projected imagery and animated light, highlighting the shades’ filtering and motorized capabilities.
After guests travels to the other end of the Pavilion, they’ll discover a ‘best of’ selection of products by the American Design Club. The Club is a platform for emerging designers to connect, collaborate, and have to their work produced, and offers guests a chance to own works by young visionaries.
Pratt Institute Installment
Pratt design students collaborated with the New York State Department of Environment Conservation and created “The Future of Take-Out,” which seeks alternative purposes for fast-food packaging and focuses on waste reduction, marine-friendly packaging, and more environmentally-friendly solutions to better transport take-out food. The collaborators behind the “Future of Take-Out” propose that, “A sharing economy of reusable carryout containers could eliminate the need for plastic take-out containers.” The free exhibit brings awareness to architects and designers exploring the Design Pavilion’s installations, multimedia presentations and talks, as well as to everyday Times Square pedestrians, intrigued by a structure made up of naturally-derived tubes with models of food trays and utensils, along with educational infographics. The group proposes better, conscientious package designs to get New Yorker to eat smarter!
Designed by Jaime Salm, Isaac Salm and the MIO Team, these “Fly Seesaws” are all work and all play. The space is marked with an “Adults Only” sign, which is really an open invitation to busy New Yorkers passing by to take some time to play. Engineered from sustainable materials and produced in various finishes, this furniture is designed to bring fun to any workspace.
Chairs Like Tops
The Magis group is dizzied by design: a number of the manufacturer’s designs are spotlighted in the Pavilion. One of the most whimsical creations is “Spun” by Thomas Heatherwick. The plastic outdoor chair is covered with fine ridges, aimed to add comfort and reinforce the chair’s rotation. The chair, which rocks and sways in response to its user’s movement, represents a trifecta architectural, design and sculpture. Weary pedestrians who come to take a break will find themselves taking a whirl in these spinning top chairs. Heatherwick’s unconventional, sculptural chair design is distributed by Herman Miller.
Parade of Puppies
The famous Finnish design studio, Studio Eero Aarnio, created cute, friendly pups you don’t have to ask anyone to pet. The bright orange dog figures are made of lightweight plastic that’s sturdy enough to hold children eager to climb them.
Three Murals by Local Design Students
A competition was arranged by Magis in cooperation with Art Threads with the intention of showcasing the local community, design schools and students. The three winners have their muraled work promintently displayed in Times Square back-to-back on a three-sided structure. The winners are Lizzy Itzkowitz, (School of Visual Arts), Heng Zeng (Syracuse University) and Wenkai Mao (School of Visual Arts). Itkowitz’s work entitled “Glitch,” is a highly-saturated, geometry-inspired collage. Zeng’s work, “Flying Elephant,” is a whimsical illustration of a man flying an elephant over a cityscape. Mao’s mural depicts a surreal scene of a man and woman surrounded by abstract objects in space.
Places to Sit — Some Inspired by Footballs, Others by Houses
In busy midtown Manhattan, access to public seating was a big design goal addressed at this year’s Pavilion. One of these chairs entitled “Chair_One,” by Konstantin Grcic, was inspired by the design of a football. Both a football and the chair have a number of flat planes assembled at angles to each other to create a three-dimensional form. “Given the chance to work with aluminum casting I thought that I should take it all the way,” Grcic said in a statement. “The more we worked on the models the more we learnt to understand the structural logic behind what we were doing. What began as a simple sketch, a series of cardboard models, prototypes, is now a real chair.”
“The Village,” designed by Joe Doucet, was created to make visitors feel at home in one of the busiest places on Earth. Ironically, the alternative seating structures are taxi-cab yellow and navy blue, complimentary colors to “remind us that no matter how frantic city life is, we are on an island.”
“Tidal Wave,” designed by Hive Public Space, was commissioned by the Times Square Alliance to be permanently positioned near the The Strand Kiosk. The clever outdoor chair was designed with compartments to hold books and other media, addressing function and form. The “wave” makes a splash this Design Week and will remain on view.
Drop Sign Encourages Visitors to Touch + Experience
There’s nothing to cry about over a large-scale, rounded, teardrop-shaped “Drop Sign” by Making Works that adds a sense of movement to signage display. Versions were created to serve as comes as a poster holder and a chalkboard display. A 15-pound weighted ballast allows the sign to sway back and forth without ever falling completely over. It’s a good case of encouraging visitors to push, pull and interact with the installation art (and take selfies too).
Free Design Talks
In another effort to engage the public with design, NYCxDesign is hosting a series of design talks. Select speakers include Interior Design’s editor-in-chief Cindy Allen, “Design Matters” podcast host Debbie Millman, Pratt Institute’s president Frances Bronet, and Metropolis’ publisher and editor-in-chief Susan Szenasy moderating a talk with Sybil Yurman, co-founder and chief brand strategist of David Yurman.
Sustainability was a central theme of “Waste is a Design Flaw,” a panel on waste reduction and recyclability in New York City. The discussion hosted by the New York City Department of Sanitation focused on how to reduce waste by better designing buildings, considering product lifecycles and upcycling fashion. Kathryn Garcia, Commissioner of NYC Department of Sanitation, urged NYC residents to consider the life of their products, and the way they dispose of them, while architect Clare Miflin is designing buildings with materials and waste disposal in mind from the early design stages. Heron Preston, designer in residence at Department of Sanitation, hosted a project titled “Uniform” that only used upcycled materials including elements of sanitation workers’ uniforms. The talk was moderated by Jessica Lax, director of competitions at Van Alen Institute.
During the event, the Department of Sanitation announced a design challenge open to all. They’re asking designers to redesign the NYC trashcan, which remarkably has not been altered since its original design was created in the 70s. While details are still unannounced, it’s an exciting opportunity for emerging designers to make a ubiquitous impact on New York City.
“Think of partnerships that leverage creative forces, particularly in New York City… This is where people design tomorrow’s products. If we are not having conversation with folks about what is the end of [product] life, how does this system work? We will miss out on opportunities,” Commissioner Garcia reflected, encouraging architects and designers to consider lifecycles of products, spaces and fashion from the gecko and to apply solution-based design approaches to be more impactful.