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!
It’s been a couple of years, but over the holidays we dusted off the home brew equipment and jumped back into one of our favorite hobbies: custom beer fabrication. Head brewmaster Patrick Barth directed the operations which entailed a batch of Four Seasons Pale Ale followed by an Extra Special Bitter. Thanks to our friends at Bitter & Esters, we used some primo ingredients to ensure our brew would be extra tasty.
After a slightly messy but fun mashing and boiling process, we let the beer ferment for a couple of weeks and monitored it carefully. Another entertaining session of bottling and capping followed to set up the conditioning process which allows the beer to naturally carbonate. Two weeks later, we had some pretty tasty brew on our hands (and in our mugs). The process and the results were so much fun that we’re ready to start on our next batch. If you’ve got a suggestion or want to come by for a taste test, let us know!
We started with quality ingredients: dry malt extract, malt extract, grains, and hops.
Patrick adds the dry malt extract to make the wort.
We monitor the temperature carefully to ensure the wort doesn’t boil.
Mmmm! Fresh, delicious hops!
Dennis inspects the hops. Smells like beer…or something.
Patrick transfers the wort to be cooled and strained.
The cooled wort is transferred to the vessel where it will ferment for a couple of weeks as the yeast does its magic.
Patrick measures the ABV level in the first batch. Looks good!
The beer is transferred from the fermenting vessel to the bucket for easy bottling.
Dan bottles the flat beer so that it can condition and naturally carbonate.
Corinne caps and seals with the handy crimper.
The first case!
The finished product. Thanks to Thiago for the label design.
Every tourist knows about The Met and MoMA, but New York is filled with many museums and exhibition venues off the beaten trail. In this series, we explore some of the city’s less well known cultural spaces and meet the people who organize them.
Within the United Nations Headquarters exists not only an incredible collection of permanent art and gifts given to the UN by member states, but also space in the Visitors’ Lobby which features changing exhibitions. These shows are dedicated to spreading awareness of key topics that the UN’s work addresses such as climate change, violence against women, and human rights. Additionally, there is an online gallery featuring information about current and past exhibitions.
We visited with Melissa Budinic whose office is responsible for exhibits open to the public at the UN.
New Project: Where are the UN exhibits located and how can one visit them?
Melissa Budinic: There are three “galleries” managed by the UN Exhibits office. Located in the United Nations Headquarters Visitors’ Lobby (1st Avenue at 46th Street in New York City), two exhibit spaces are located straight ahead of the entrance toward the left and the third space is located along the curved wall leading to the tour check in area.
Admission to the galleries and public areas is free with government-issued photo ID and open Monday-Friday 9:30 am – 4:30 pm, Saturday-Sunday: 10:00 am – 4:30 pm (closed weekends January and February).
NP: Who organizes the shows and what are they about?
MB: Exhibitions are either developed internally at the UN or by outside entities/individuals. The exhibition proposals are reviewed by the Exhibits Committee. Shows must be educational, offer information on key issues relating to the work of the UN, and be endorsed by a relevant office within the UN (for example, an exhibition on child labor might be sponsored by UNICEF). Past exhibitions have revolved around topics such as the international campaign to ban land mines, ecological and economic importance of healthy oceans, and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
NP: How often do they change?
MB: Exhibitions are usually on view for one to two months. We may have one, two, or three shows on view simultaneously, in addition to an ongoing exhibition about the history and renovation of the UN Headquarters in another space. We present approximately 15-20 exhibitions each year in the Visitors’ Lobby, many of which are also included on the website for those who can’t make it to New York to see them in person.
NP: Do you have any favorites?
MB: Not really. Each exhibit is about a different topic, so every time I get to learn something different about the kinds of work that the UN does.
NP: Can anyone submit at proposal for a show?
MB: Certainly, as long as they follow the guidelines. The UN doesn’t present art and solo exhibitions. The shows must cover several countries. For details, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
NP: What’s up next?
MB: In January, we’ll be presenting an exhibition called State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda. The exhibition is organized by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and coincides with International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27. The exhibition is on view starting January 12, 2017.
NP: Thank you for sharing your time!
To learn about more interesting things to see and do while visiting the United Nations (like eating in the delegates dining room, taking a guided tour, and getting a special UN passport stamp), check out the UN website.
The exhibition Palestinian Embroidery: Threads of Continuity, Identity and Empowerment included stunning examples of elaborate embroidery by Palestinian women from the 19th through 21st centuries, photography, dolls, and dresses by contemporary Palestinian fashion designers.
Exhibition image detail
Contemporary fashion faces a row of portraits of the UN Secretaries General in rug form donated by member state Iran.
Installation view of Millennium Villages Project (MVP) – A photographic essay on sustainable development. This exhibition featured photographs of four projects implemented by the Millennium Villages in Ethiopia, Ghana, Rwanda, and Senegal. Led by Professor Jeffrey Sachs, the Millennium Villages Project contributed to eliminating extreme poverty in ten African countries over ten years (2005-2015).
A gift by member state Thailand to the United Nations, one of many remarkable pieces of the collection on view at the UN Headquarters.
Scott Henderson is a Brooklyn-based designer, founder of design studio Scott Henderson, Inc., and co-founder of the design collective MINT. Scott’s work—from housewares to consumer electronics to furniture—has been shown in numerous exhibitions such as the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum’s National Design Triennial and is featured in more than 350 retailers and museums around the world. His work has also been included in The New York Times Magazine, I.D. Magazine’s Annual Design Review, and other prestigious publications.
Henderson’s Slat Chair, above, was prototyped by New Project and debuted at the ICFF in 2011. With ICFF returning to the Javits Center in 2 weeks, we decided to check in with Scott to see what he’s been up to lately.
NP: You’ve designed all sorts of products—from thermometers to furniture to yachts. What would be your dream design job?
SH: It would be fun to do something really big—like be on a team to figure out how to harness ocean waves to convert them into energy, or something like that. How about a huge terrarium that creates drinking water in arid developing countries?
NP: That does sound huge! Since you’re all about the “big idea,” what “big ideas” do you see changing or reshaping your industry?
SH: The Digital Revolution. Even though that kind of design work is different from my kind of design, the trend is all about the decimation of the physical. The biggest taxi company owns no taxis (Uber), the biggest movie house has no cinemas (Netflix), the biggest accommodations provider owns no real estate (Airbnb). There are also fewer real stores to buy things in, so instead of seeing and touching a real product, you are buying it based on an online thumbnail image. It’s hard to tell if a design is good or not with only that level of detail, so it makes sense that the importance of [physical] design is therefore diminished, and price competition once again becomes the sole driver of sales. This has reshaped my industry recently in that design now has to offer only what people deem as essential. Millennials don’t want things—they actually hate stuff. The age of the design knickknack is dead, and talking about emotion in design is yesterday’s pitch. Design now has to be about the essential. The trend is a return to problem solving and meaningful innovation.
NP: You run your own successful design studio and have developed your own brands, create your own artwork, have served as chairman of IDSA’s national conference…how do you make time to stay inspired and continue to generate new ideas?
SH: After a while it just becomes a part of who you are and no longer a job. As I tell my clients, Scott Henderson Inc. never closes.
NP: Does your design work come from a solitary or a collaborative process? Or a little of both? How do you like to work?
SH: A little of both. I involve my clients as my core team members. Or if I am doing a “Scott” product, I’ll reach out to buyers and consumers. I’m a sponge for input—I am always listening and watching. I even sleep with one eye open.
NP: Can you tell us what you’re working on now?
SH: I’m developing new “Scott” products: a consumer electronics gizmo, some cookware, and some baby gear.
Scott Henderson’s Slat Chair, designed using the forces of tension and compression, was fabricated from molded aircraft grade birch veneer and two simple polished stainless steel rods. Check out the images below to see how New Project created the prototype of Scott’s chair in our shop.
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
May 1st marked the long anticipated public opening of the new Whitney Museum of American Art in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. The museum and its 21,000 works now call 99 Gansevoort Street its new permanent home. The building, designed by famed Italian architect Renzo Piano, includes approximately 50,000 square feet of indoor exhibit space and an additional 13,000 square feet of outdoor exhibit space. Its strong asymmetrical shape mirrors the industrial character of the neighboring buildings and stands prominently on the island’s west side overlooking the High Line.
We have worked with a number of luxury fashion brands to create memorable and cohesive window and store displays throughout the city. Having worked with Max Mara before, we were approached by the London-based company Chameleon Visual, who have been producing distinctive visual concepts for the finest brands for years, to build and install a number of custom pieces for the launch of the Whitney Bag. On the docket: pedestals, cases, vinyl, large-scale lightboxes, neon signs, walls, after-hours installs, and three large-scale models of the Museum. No Problem!
Boom Boom Room- Top of The Standard Hotel Private View Party
Our Role: Fabrication and installation of one enclosed display case, and three large-scale models of the New Whitney Museum of American Art. The models, made of medium-density fiberboard (MDF) & Dibond composite, were cut using the CNC machine with v-grooves allowing it to fold into shape. The models were then primed and sprayed with the building’s signature bluish-grey hue.
MaxMara Madison Avenue– Whitney Bag Launch
Our Role: Fabrication and installation of lightboxes, neon signs, and bases to display the different style options of the Whitney Bag. This late-night installation took a large crew to finish, and we think the end result is pretty striking.
MaxMara: Saks, 5th Avenue Whitney Bag Launch
Our Role: Fabrication and installation of three separate displays in Saks, 5th Avenue.
MaxMara: Bergdorf Goodman Whitney Bag Launch
Our Role: Fabrication and installation
think & build