In mid-December of 2017, we received a call from an associate at one of the most lauded architecture firms in the nation. Little did we know that five months and 48 tons of steel and concrete later, our work would be at the center of the most talked about exhibition in the country.
Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination is the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute’s spring 2018 exhibition and happens to be its largest to-date, taking place across 27 galleries in two locations, The Met Fifth Avenue and The Met Cloisters.
Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro with The Met’s Design Department, the exhibition examines fashion’s ongoing engagement with the devotional practices and traditions of Catholicism by presenting objects from The Met’s collection alongside papal robes and accessories from the Sistine Chapel sacristy, many of which have never been seen outside the Vatican. Contemporary couture items are presented throughout The Met’s Fifth Avenue galleries and The Met Cloisters.
A project of this scale and ambition occurring within such a compressed time frame requires intense cooperation, communication, and organization. Thousands of details and modifications were exchanged, registered, and conveyed in a timely fashion in order to execute and install the myriad components in the right configurations. But just as importantly, New Project was able to work directly with DS+R to translate the firm’s architectural concepts and language into three-dimensional form, ensuring that the vision was executed as conceived while adhering to museum safety standards.
Because of the tight fabrication window, we communicated edits and comments with the team in a 3-D software environment, rather than passing 2-D construction set drawings back and forth. And we collaborated with the designers and engineers to ensure the delicate balance between stability of the displays and management of stress loads was maintained. With that much steel and concrete, we had to be extra cautious that floor loads were dispersed and that all displays passed the engineers’ load tests.
We ultimately fabricated and installed more than 150 individual platforms, pedestals, cases, and custom mannequin mounts based on DS+R’s exhibition vocabulary of straight lines, subtle cruciform shapes, and a muted, industrial palette. We constructed two enormous custom structures: a 40-foot cantilevered wall of acrylic and steel and a 28-foot long glass and steel table to display papal vestments. Upon installation, we worked in concert with the museum’s preparators, conservators, and registrars who precisely placed each priceless artifact and couture piece.
While building and installing large exhibitions is standard operating procedure for New Project, the inclusion of centuries old artifacts and liturgical vestments from the Vatican combined with a celebrity-studded opening covered in every major new outlet the world over made this exhibition unlike any other.
Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination is on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art Fifth Avenue and The Cloisters from May 10 through October 8, 2018.
All in process and install photos by New Project, museum installation photos by Brett Beyer.
Papal vestments displayed in the cantilevered wall we built with custom steel table containing papal copes in the foreground, cassock of John Paul II in the background on view in the Lizzie and John Tisch Gallery in the Anna Wintour Costume Center.
It was announced last year that Calvin Klein had entered into a four-year agreement with The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts that will allow the fashion company to license Warhol’s art across its collections and activations. The agreement offers Calvin Klein’s Chief Creative Officer Raf Simons access to the full breadth of Warhol’s creations—including never-before-published works.
New Project was tapped to execute the latest iteration of Calvin Klein’s partnership with the Foundation: Warhol’s Silver Clouds reimagined by Simons as a site-specific installation for the 654 Madison Avenue flagship.
The silver Mylar balloons were printed with images used in the Spring 2018 CALVIN KLEIN 205W39NYC runway collection (including some from the Death and Disaster series as well as portraits of Warhol pals Dennis Hopper and Sandra Brant). Special fans were painted to match the bright yellow interior scaffolding and installed to ensure the balloons, filled with an exacting measure of helium and air, floated through the space just as they did in Warhol’s Factory and Leo Castelli Gallery decades ago.
New Project undertook several tests, both in the shop and in the store under the cloak of night, to determine the specific mixture needed to fill the balloons, to observe their behavior, and to add features to the space to tune the air flow patterns.
The installation has been a huge success, bringing smiles to patrons who freely interact with the floating works of art. Be sure to catch it while you can—like all things pop, the installation is fleeting. On view at 654 Madison Avenue through February 28, 2018.
After figuring out how to direct the air flow, we customized an armada of fans.
And poles and fixtures.
We inflated and tested the balloons in the shop office first.
Once the Silver Clouds were installed, the store was transformed.
But a lot of adjustments went into the process to make sure the balloons behaved as we wanted. Check out this time lapse video of the overnight test to see what the balloons do when they think we aren’t watching!
Vice Media needed to create a unique focal point for a Delta Air Lines event they were recently curating at Kinfolk in Brooklyn. Delta Launchpad was a series of workshops and performances targeting young entrepreneurs and innovators so the event had to shine. Vice Media’s Production Coordinator approached New Project to build an oversized rotating disco ball in the shape of an airplane to cast a little sparkle on the party. Although we only had two weeks to make it happen, we said, “No Problem!”
Our designers quickly drew up a few options in RHINO based on the client-provided concept sketches. The plane components were CNC’d out of foam, assembled as if a model airplane kit, painted, then covered in mirror tiles.
The plane was engineered and suspended to ensure it would rotate smoothly from the ceiling-mounted motor.
After receiving images of the nearly completed plane, our clients were obviously pleased. The Production Coordinator’s comment? “Whoa! I am blown away, it looks amazing!”
Another day, another disco.
Taking her for a test spin
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.
think & build
The Holiday Season in New York City
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 ourÂ 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.
“Manipulate mathematical symbols symmetrically to create a unique MoMath-style logo” –MoMath
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