Art Fabrication

DB and team with finished bike racks

On the Road to Menlo

Eight years ago, New Project collaborated with the artist and avid cyclist David Byrne on a series of 9 bike racks he designed for the New York City Department of Transportation. The temporary public art pieces were created at the time to spur more interest in biking in the city. Each powder-coated steel bike rack was sited in a location that related to its design: a dollar sign on Wall Street, a woman’s shoe in front of Bergdorf Goodman, an abstract sculptural form in front of MoMA.

8 years later, David conceived of a new set of bike racks to be installed in Menlo Park, CA near Silicon Valley in conjunction with his exhibition at PACE Gallery. Fortunately for us, he once again reached out to New Project to collaborate. We worked with the artist to execute five site-specific designs including a pointing finger, a cloud, a rocket, an infinity shape, and the @ symbol.

David came by the studio last week and we asked him a few questions about the project.

New Project: We understand you were inspired by your role as a juror for the New York City Department of Transportation’s 2008 CityRacks Design Competition to create your own bike rack designs. How did you arrive at the designs for the first round of racks that New Project fabricated?

David Byrne: Yes, the city held a competition for bike rack designs and I wasn’t submitting my designs (mine would be difficult to mass produce) but as a fun item to amuse the DOT (Dept. of Transportation) and increase awareness. I sketched out imaginary racks for specific neighborhoods. Pace (David’s gallery) saw them and suggested we actually make them….and with Scanga (Bill Scanga of Pace Gallery) we began to knock around ideas with New Project about how that could be done.

NP: What was your experience like working with New Project?

DB: This is going to sound like gushing, but it was so easy and their work is so rigorous and they’re so sensitive to the way we creative types think – perfect.

NP: How did you feel seeing your bike racks across the city?

DB: I LOVED seeing the racks out there – I felt “I’m a physical part of New York City now!”

NP: Are you inspired to make more public art? Would you like to see David Byrne bike racks in other cities, other countries?

DB: I’m very open to the idea – though as mentioned, to do mass produced racks at a reasonable cost they’d be less one of a kind than these….however these draw attention to the need for racks, even if they don’t solve the problem.

NP: How did the 2016 Silicon Valley series come about? 

DB: With a collaborator, I’m doing an immersive installation in a Pace pop up gallery and they thought – hey, how about more bike racks for the Silicon Valley people out here?! Some businesses or Stanford might even buy some. So again I sketched out some ideas that are very specific to that world….

NP: In your 2010 book, Bicycle Diaries, you share your adventures from the perspective of a global urban cyclist and humanist. The advantages of seeing a city from the seat of a bicycle are obvious; how do you think we can convince more people to share your passion?

DB: I think one can’t “convince” people – and doing it because it’s good for you or for the planet isn’t going to convince folks either – but if they try it they may enjoy it…forgive me, this is terrible, but realistic, if a man sees beautiful women passing by on bikes, he may decide it might be something worth trying….if business folks begin to commute on bikes and the city makes it safe, then it lessens the stigma that only scruffy types or hipsters ride bikes.

NP: Where are you and your bike heading next?

DB: I’ve got a loaner during the install in Menlo Park and Palo Alto!

The Institute Presents: NEUROSOCIETY, an immersive theatrical experience co-created by David Byrne and Mala Gaonkar, will be on view October 27, 2017 through March 31, 2017 in Menlo Park, CA.

David Byrne drawings for new bike racks
David Byrne’s concepts for the new bike racks

Scale model of DB bike rack 
Patrick with a scale model

Molly welding up DB's infinity bike rack
Molly welding the infinity rack

Molly setting up, checking the tack welds
Molly checks the tack welds 

DB rack post-grind
Infinity post-grind

After powder coating
After powder coating

DC and team with finished racks

Team David with the bike racks before painting (left to right): Dennis, Aaron, Kelly, Molly, David, Patrick, Ethan, Fielding

 

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The Planets by Nanna Debois Buhl

My Very Eccentric Mom Joyfully Sells Unique Ninjas at PS163Q

In 2013, artist Nanna Debois Buhl received a commission through the Public Art for Public Schools program to create a work of art for a new addition to a high school in Flushing, Queens. Nanna and her consultant, Nathalie Pozzi, reached out to New Project for assistance with the fabrication of the sculptural installation.

After visiting the school, Nanna created a proposal for a model of our solar system combined with a collection of mnemonic phrases written by students from the school. Both components were to be made out of steel with a bright, red, glossy, powder coated finish.

New Project worked with the artist, her consultant, the NYC School Construction Authority, engineers, and the general contractors to ensure the work would be fabricated and installed as the artist envisioned as the school addition was being built.

We spoke to Nanna about The Planets, her new installation at PS 163Q in Flushing, NY.

NP: How did this project come about? When did it start?

NDB: The project began in spring of 2013, when I was invited to participate in a competition for a public commission for PS163Q initiated by the NYC Department of Education, NYC School Construction Authority, and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs Percent for Art Program.

I made a site visit to get an understanding of the school, its profile, and its architecture. My proposal was an installation for the school’s lobby consisting of a model of the solar system and a collection of phrases, written by students from the school, for remembering the order of the planets in the solar system (planetary mnemonics).

Over the last three years, the work has been developed in collaboration with New Project (fabrication), Nathalie Pozzi (artist’s consultant) and Anni’s (graphic design).

Have you done other public commissions or works in schools?

Yes, Journey to the End of the Night (2010) is a public commission I have made for a high school in Denmark. It covers the four walls of the school’s canteen. Cut out on wooden wall panels, the motif is a map of the position of the stars over the high school on the opening day in 2010. The star formations are accompanied with titles, which are places – from literature, film, music, art, philosophy, and science; works that the students may encounter during their time at the school.

My public commission Atlas of Anatomy (2013) is created for an educational institution in Denmark that houses nursing, teaching, physiotherapy, social education, and social work programs. Silkscreened on 3,000 square feet of inner glass walls, the work consists of 15 photographs of body parts of people in different ages and a cut-up text composed of 133 medical, philosophical, and literary quotes about the body. Many of the quotes were culled from the library of the institution whose educational programs, to a large degree, deal with various aspects of the human body. I think of the commission as an abstract interpretation of the historical anatomical reference book, a journey through a collective body composed of many bodies and voices.

You mentioned that these mnemonic texts (acronyms which take the initial letter of each list item to create a memorable phrase) were created by the students. How did you get them to participate?

I was in dialog with the (now former) principal who gathered a group of students who were interested in participating. I gave them the guidelines for constructing the sentences which they then wrote.

Were you surprised by the responses you received? Do you have any favorites?

It was so exciting receiving the texts from the students. I love the fact that they have used language that I would never have come up with: Nutella Sandwiches and Ninjas, and names such as Mei and Ming – representative of the demographics of the school, which has many Mandarin speaking students.

What other surprises did you encounter in the design process?

The typographic aspect of the work was developed in collaboration with Denmark-based graphic designer Anni’s. We decided to work with the format of the writing exercise book and to think of the two walls where the texts are placed as pages in an open book. The letters of the mnemonics were placed on lines alluding to the exercise book format (and making the installation process more simple). At the end of the last text block there are some empty lines – a built in invitation to continue constructing new sentences. The work combines a scientific model (the solar system) and the imaginative universes of the children (the texts). I think of the model as a motor in a machine that can continue producing texts. And I see the students’ texts as a kind of conceptual poetry (constraint-based writing).

The work invites students to interact with it, to come up with their own mnemonics. Does all of your work entail collaboration or a back and forth of sorts?

Conversations (that be with experts in a given field, an art work, or, as here, a group of students) are always an important part of my working process. In the three public commissions I have made for educational institutions, I have invited people to contribute with textual material: For Atlas of Anatomy I made a “call for quotes” and for Journey to the End of the Night a lot of people helped me gather titles. I think of these works as cacophonic and therefore I also like the working process to have a collective aspect.

A big difference between an art work in a white cube setting and in a public commission is that the audience of the latter lives with the work for a long period of time. I, therefore, like to include an element in the public commissions that can unfold or be discovered over time (such as The Planets built in invitation to make up new sentences).

What was the most interesting aspect of working on this project?

Involving the students and receiving their texts. Developing a work for this specific context taking the educational setting and the audience (students and teachers) into account. And seeing the work transform from a 3D model to an actual physical work. After 3 years of preparation and fabrication it was stunning to enter the school lobby last week and see the work installed, finally.

What’s next?

My next project, I Imagined That Things Were Speaking, is a solo show at MSU Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb opening in October 2016. It will consist of a show inside the museum and a large projection on the façade of the museum building. All the exhibited works are photographic “readings” of various cityscapes through objects, plants, animals, and architectural components. The exhibition will thus both address a bypassing audience in the street and a museum audience. I am currently thinking a lot about composing the exhibition, so that it can speak to these different viewers with their different attention spans.

To see more of Nanna’s work, visit her website.

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Mnemonic text cut by our CNC machine

Steel planets orbiting in the shop
The planets in the shop before they begin their orbit

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The arms are inspected after welding

Beautiful powder coating!
Planets post powder coating

Artist Nanna Debois Buhl watches as the work is installed
Artist Nanna Debois Buhl watches as the work is installed

Installation in process
In the beginning, there was only Neptune

Lobby view
View of The Planets from the lobby entrance

 

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Symphony by W Seepaul

A New Sculpture in Stamford

After talking to several metal shops, Louis Gesualdi decided he needed someone special to fabricate a large steel sculpture for one of his clients. The president of Stamford, CT-based Gesualdi Construction reached out to New Project after checking out our website and finding precisely what he was looking for. Gesualdi was working on Synchrony Financial’s corporate headquarters in Stamford, CT where the firm had engaged artist William C. Seepaul Jr. to create a large sculpture for its corporate campus. Seepaul had translated the consumer financial services company’s minimalist logo into three dimensions, enlivening it with a dynamic ribbon spiraling around bright yellow columns.

When asked about the design, Seepaul stated, “the idea was to create a sculpture that would embody the philosophy of what Synchrony Financial represents. The ribbon is an element that I introduced to illustrate movement. The rising form shows the upward path, an ever moving body that can adapt, yet remain strong, hence the material (steel). The ribbon is a visual representation of musical notation, symphonic harmony, elegance and balance that can be as subtle and simple as it is complex.”

The work, entitled Symphony, was Seepaul’s first large-scale public sculpture. “The mere fact that this sculpture was to be installed in a public place meant that a highly-skilled team of fabricators had to translate the engineering plans and make a tangible, beautiful, and sound piece,” said Seepaul. “There were over 25 sections to the ribbon that had multiplanar curves that had to be painstakingly welded by New Project.  This was in addition to New Project fabricating the columns, and the support lattice as well as finishing, prep, and painting then ultimately installing. Excellent work!”

Gesualdi Construction gave New Project approximately 4 months to translate Seepaul’s watercolor renderings and engineering drawings into a full-fledged steel sculpture to be installed at a June ceremony on Synchrony Financial’s corporate campus. After the steel was precisely cut, the pieces comprising the ribbon were rolled into shape and the entire sculpture was assembled, welded, and painted. We then transported the 17-foot tall sculpture to the site where, over the course of two days, we bolted the piece to its concrete foundation, welded the spiral segment to the sculpture’s columns, and made final surface touch ups to ensure a pristine finish.

Louis Gesualdi was pleased with the results. “It’s fantastic! It came out better than great!” the contractor stated when asked how the piece was ultimately received. In addition to the final fabrication of the sculpture, Gesualdi was responsible for the redesign and rebranding of three large building on Synchrony’s campus, juggling multiple details in a fast-paced environment. Having worked with artists before, Gesualdi had previously overseen the fabrication of outdoor sculpture, although nothing quite as challenging as Symphony. “Everyone was exhaling, glad that it all went well,” remarked Gesualdi.

Symphony sculpture rendering by Artist William Seepaul Jr.

Rendering of Symphony sculpture by artist William Seepaul Jr.

I-beams are welded in the shop to form the base for the sculpture.

I-beams are welded to create the sculpture’s base.

Brett welds from his perch in the shop.

Brett welds the sculpture from his perch.

The sculpture is primed in the shop before being painted.

The sculpture is primed before painting.

The spiral is test-fitted on to the columns before all components are welded together.

The spiral is test-fitted to before welding the components together.

Careful measurements are made to perfectly align the spiral components.

Meticulous measurements are made to ensure perfect alignment of the spiral segments.

Kelly grinding the weld to give a clean edge to the spiral.

Kelly grinds the welds to give the spiral a clean edge.

The sculpture is crated for protection after receiving its final coat of paint.

The columns are crated to protect the finish after painting.

Pino supervises as the sculpture is loaded onto the truck.

Pino supervises as the sculpture is loaded onto the truck.

The sculpture is crated and ready for transport to Stamford for installation.

The sculpture is loaded and ready for transport to its permanent home in Stamford.

Brett ensures the welds are perfect as the sculpture is installed on site in Stamford.

Brett touches up the welds during installation.

SYMPHONY-0034 image by W Seepaul

The final installation and a pristine finish. Photo by William Seepaul Jr.

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Calvin Klein window display

CALVIN KLEIN TOPOGRAPHICAL WINDOW DISPLAYS

We just completed another inspired window display for Calvin Klein’s flagship store on Madison Avenue. (You may recall our past windows with them including faux clay walls and 20th anniversary celebration display.) Their concept was to create a topographical landscape for their apparel to live in. Inspiration came from desert landscapes of the southwest. To create the models, we incorporated data from actual maps, tweaked it to fit the given spaces and product considerations, and generated cut files for our CNC machine. When all was said and done, there were over 800 discrete pieces with their edges totaling over a mile in length. Then came coloring; three colors dispersed somewhat randomly amongst all the levels. Needless to say, our diligence in labeling every last piece was absolutely essential for ease of assembly.

Check it out if you’re in Manhattan. Madison Ave and 60th street.

Canyon inspirationCanyons for inspirationCK Topo shapeVisual inspiration provided to us by Calvin Klein

 

CktopoMapA 2-D photo of our 3-D Digital Model

 

pat1Lee, Jody and Willen labeling pieces

 

pat2Jody labeling layers

 

CKtopofab2Sam & Lee beginning to assemble pieces

 

pat3Lee, Sam & Ben finishing up assembly

 

CK topo7Almost complete

 

CK topo2One of the finished windows

 

CK topo1Another finished window

think & build

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

The Holiday Season in New York City


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NYC’s cultural institutions offer top-quality programming and exhibits around this time of year. Navigating the overwhelming options can be, well, overwhelming. With seven kids under the age of ten and one more on the way in our New Project family, we have some experience finding the best options for meaningful and exciting family time in the city.

If you’ve been following us online for the past month, you’re likely familiar with our latest project at the Museum of Mathematics (MoMath) in NYC, an exhibit titled Robot Swarm. The response has been glowing from visitors of all ages! The museum is open to the public seven days a week from 10am to 5pm, so there’s no excuse to miss it. You’ll find yourself just as immersed and fascinated as your kids, trust us, we always end up tied up in the Enigma Cafe.

Make sure you check out the other exhibits we’ve built for the museum, including the Logo Generator, Formula Morph, Harmony of Spheres, Motionscape, and Sixth Sense while you are there. Kudos go out to our friends and collaborators at MOEY, a Brooklyn based interactive design company we worked in conjunction with on these pieces.

 

LOGO GENERATOR
“Manipulate mathematical symbols symmetrically to create a unique MoMath-style logo” –MoMath

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Logo Generator allows the visitors to create their own MoMath logo.

 

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Here is the Logo Generator in our Brooklyn metal shop before all of the wires, sensors, and electronics were installed.

 

Check out the custom made joystick for the exhibit we built in our shop. (Photo courtesy of MOEY)

Check out the custom made joystick for the exhibit we built in our shop. (Photo courtesy of MOEY)

FORMULA MORPH
“Bring formulas to life by exploring the multitude of unusual three-dimensional surfaces they can create” –MoMath

 

Formula Morph is one of our favorite interactives we have made for the museum.

Formula Morph is one of our favorite interactives we have made for the museum.

 

Brett Kahler, Dennis Potami, Emily Conrad and Joey Stein discuss how the electronics will run through the metal structure.

Brett Kahler, Dennis Potami, Emily Conrad and Joey Stein discuss how the electronics will run through the metal structure.

 

Looking at the guts of Formula Morph.

Looking at the guts of Formula Morph.

 

In case your curious, here is the mathematical formula for a heart.

In case your curious, here is the mathematical formula for a heart.

HARMONY OF SPHERES
“Create a harmonic soundscape using this interactive musical sculpture, which takes its shape from the symmetries of the 12-tone musical scale”  –MoMath
Working on the prototype.

Working on the prototype.

 

Copper baskets were soldered for the inside of each sphere, to create an electrical field for sensing a hand's touch.

Copper baskets were soldered for the inside of each sphere, to create an electrical field for sensing a hand’s touch.

 

Willen Teofilo assembles the armature on the jig.

Willen Teofilo assembles the armature on the jig.

 

The finished project is a centerpiece at MoMath.

The finished project is a centerpiece at MoMath.

MOTIONSCAPE
“Explore the relationship between position, velocity, and acceleration with a full-body movement experience.”  –MoMath
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Motionscape tracking Ella Barth’s position, velocity, and acceleration.

SIXTH SENSE
“Choose six numbers and see how the machine predicted what their sum would be before the first number was even chosen” –MoMath

 

The brass shell pieces before they are assembled.

The brass shell pieces before they are assembled.

 

James Marsella wiring up the Nixie Tubes.

James Marsella wiring up the Nixie Tubes.

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Our entire team here at New Project wishes you and your families a happy holiday season and a beautiful New Year!

Thank you for your support and see you in 2015!

think & build

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Robot Swarm

The Robots Are Coming- Robot Swarm at MoMath

Robot Swarm at the National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath)


 

The Swarm Is Coming: Museum of Mathematics (MoMath) 

The Swarm Is Coming: Museum of Mathematics (MoMath), NYC

 

Robot Swarm is a full-body interactive experience that is based on a hot-topic in the robotics world right now: the mathematics of emergent behavior. Visitors to the Museum of Mathematics (MoMath) will have the opportunity to step into the ring and come foot-to-face with a colony of horseshoe-crab-shaped creatures who will monitor your movement and react based on a series of behavioral commands. Sound fun? IT IS!

The museum is calling Robot Swarm The nation’s most technologically ambitious robotics exhibit ever. Controlled by a touch-screen panel on the outer-edge of the exhibit, visitors choose from five different scenarios (including On Your Marks, Run Away, Swarm, Pursue and Robophobia) which will then provide a set of rules to the robot colony below. Not only will the robots take into account the visitor’s location in order to perform these rules, but they will also use the locations of their neighboring inhabitants to execute their tasks. If you have ever wondered what it felt like to be Godzilla descending upon a city full of fleeing man-made creatures, or have ever had the urge to literally watch lines of computer code come to life before your eyes, then Robot Swarm will certainly not disappoint.

New Project has been fortunate enough to work with MoMath on a number of projects since its inception. Since then, we have served as one of the museum’s primary fabrication and installation companies. Last year, alongside Tim Nissen-MoMath’s Chief of Design, Three Byte Intermedia-a local technology consulting firm, and Knowledge Resources of Basel, Switzerland, we began working on the fabrication and installation of MoMath’s newest interactive exhibit Robot Swarm which will open to the public on Sunday, December 14th.

Beneath your feet, the robots, equipped with unique personalities and characteristics, will react to your every step based on the rules provided to them. Quite frankly, Three-Byte Intermedia and Knowledge Resources have blown our minds with their creations. Stay tuned to our blog when we sit down and chat with Chris Keitel, Principal at Three-Byte Intermedia about the project.

We’ve helped MoMath realize an exhibit that had been on their minds since the museum was first built. New Project helped bring their clean, industrial looking structure to reality to serve as the largest robotic home for coolest colony of robots. The display consists of a pressurized structural steel and glass contained frame that creates the robots playground and their docking and service stations. The overall structure suggests a boxing ring. Once in the ring you’ll be captivated by the uncanny movement of the robots triggering your instinctual desire to either fight or flee. The framing structure sits atop a wood chassis which was all built here at our shop in Brooklyn and then relocated and permanently installed on the lower level of the museum.

 

From left: Tim Nissen- Chief of Design, MoMath, Glen Whitney, Executive Director MoMath, Chris Keitel- Pincipal, Three-Byte Intermedia, and Cindy Lawrence- Co-Executive Director, MoMath.

From left: Tim Nissen- Chief of Design, MoMath, Mike Stengle- Knowledge Resources Group, Glen Whitney, Executive Director MoMath, Chris Keitel- Principal, Three-Byte Intermedia, and Cindy Lawrence- Co-Executive Director, MoMath.

 

Terry working on the wood chassis in our Brooklyn shop

Terry working on the wood chassis in our Brooklyn shop.

 

Brett, our metal fabricator, mounting the custom made ADA compliant handrail.

Brett, our metal fabricator, mounting the custom made ADA compliant handrail.

The swarm of robots are sealed beneath glass so that they and all of their delicate components are protected from visitors and other harmful materials. We had to make sure that the entire structure was built like a reverse vacuum, pushing out all dirt and dust from the museum.

 

Ensuring the vents are clear and the access points are working on site, prior to installing the glass

Frank ensuring the vents are clear and the access points are working on-site, prior to installing the glass floor

 

Perhaps the biggest challenge we faced while installing the exhibit was the lowering and the placement of two large glass panels each weighing in at almost 2,000 lbs. The panels, which would later become the floor of the exhibit, were placed into a storage area at the time of the museum’s construction, as the glass would be too large to be able to fit down the stairwell once the stairs were built. Basically, that gave us one shot to get it right. If they broke, there was no way to replace them.

No pressure guys no pressure.

 

Terry and James carefully maneuvering he glass panels out from storage

Terry and James carefully maneuvering the glass panels out from the museum’s storage.

 

Jody positioning and securing the gantry in order to hoist the glass out of the crates and safely onto the moving dolly.

Jody positioning and securing the gantry in order to hoist the glass out of the crates and safely onto the moving dolly.

 

Dennis, CEO, overseeing the placement of the glass floor

Dennis, CEO of New Project (kneeling), overseeing the placement of the glass floor onto the moving dolly.

 

Luckily, our installation team is amazing and, using custom-made dollies, and gantry that barely fit, and a set of carefully-placed car jacks, the glass panels were lowered into place over a two-night installation without a hitch. As you would expect, Terry was pretty stoked about it.

 

Terry being pretty stoked about it.

Terry celebrating after the first panel was successfully put into place.

 

Once Robot Swarm is open to the public we’ll post videos and photos of the exhibit in use, stay tuned! To experience our creation first-hand, check out Robot Swarm at MoMath, located at 11 East 26th Street in Manhattan. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

New project team putting on the finishing touches.

Part of New Project’s installation team putting on the finishing touches before the exhibit is open to the public.

think and build

 

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Hamburger flower

Custom Design- A Large Hamburger Flower

Hamburger flower.

One of our clients asked for a large flower/hamburger for an outdoor corporate event.  What?!  You’ve never seen a flower hamburger before? (Or would that be a hamburger flower?).

Here are some in-the-shop photos of our custom design.

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