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.
In late October, Bloomberg L.P. unveiled its new European headquarters designed by Foster + Partners and a special installation by New Project. The 3.2 acre London site includes numerous commissioned artworks and an exhibit designed by Studio Joseph about the legendary Bloomberg Terminal’s history. New Project worked closely with Principal Wendy Evans Joseph and Associate Connie Wu to realize their design which complemented the aesthetic of the building while capturing the unique, forward-looking identity of Bloomberg.
The display took the form of three interlocking and one stand-alone Möbius strip-like shapes made of aluminum and fiberglass to support embedded terminals and educational information. Studio Joseph’s impressive design for the individual components cantilevered eight feet from a single point requiring New Project to employ our engineering as well as fabrication know-how.
In July, Studio Joseph provided New Project with a 3-D model of the finished display from which we created design engineering drawings for production. The substrate was 5-axis milled from 3-pound EPS foam and fitted around a laser cut aluminum structure. The forms were glassed with carbon fiber, fiberglass, and epoxy resin, then coated with a satin automotive finish. After the Bruce Mau-designed graphics were applied, another clear coat was applied for protection. The terminal supports were fabricated out of steel and then powder coated. From end to end, the entire installation measured almost 24 feet long by 20 feet wide.
Once the fabrication was complete, we built custom crates and oversaw the shipping to London where we installed the display while the finishing touches to the building were still being undertaken. We completed the entire project in under 3 months, including overseas shipping and installation. The end result was a stunning interactive display that invited people to learn about the technology that revolutionized an industry and laid the foundation for a billion-dollar business.
Design drawings for one component of Mobius installation
Milled foam readied for aluminum support structures
Laser cut aluminum support structures
Matt welds the supports to the steel base
Frank fits the support into the foam
Dustin preps the fiberglass forms
After the forms are painted and graphics applied, Frank and team build custom crates to ensure safe passage to London
Chris’s view of the installation process from above
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 email@example.com
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.
The New York City area is home to more than 44,000 practicing designers—a number greater than any other metro area in the US and almost as many as Chicago and LA combined—according to New York City Economic Development Corporation President Maria Torres-Spring. NYCxDESIGN, which takes place May 3 – 17, 2016, is New York City’s official citywide celebration of design. The annual event, now in its fourth year, features more than 500 events at locations throughout the five boroughs and incorporates 17 different design disciplines including architecture, product design, design thinking, and urban design. From talks with starchitects to design showroom tours to consumer-friendly fairs featuring wares by up and coming designers, NYCxDESIGN offers something for everyone. NewProject is proud to be part of this dynamic, creative community, supporting many of the designers, architects, and artists who will be presenting their work at NYCxDESIGN. We hope to see you at some of these great events. Here are a few of our picks:
May 7 – 20, 2016
7:00 pm – 12:00 am
at Brooklyn Arts Fellowship
Design Noir is a showcase exhibiting new works by Black and Latino designers. Curated by Dave Jones, the exhibit will be free and open to the public with many of the works for sale.
May 6 – 8, 2016
at Brooklyn Expo
Founded 13 years ago by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, Bklyn Designs is the borough’s premier design event shining a spotlight on the many talented designers, architects, artists, and artists who reside here. The event features exhibitions, products (shop local!), installations, hands-on demos, a conference program, pop up lounges, as well as food and drinks from Brooklyn’s finest. $15 for general public, free to the trade.
NYC Design Talks
May 5 – 14, 2016
4:00 – 8:00 pm
at The Cooper Union, Parsons School for Design at The New School, and Fashion Institute of Technology
This robust program includes discussions about design for social impact, the future of fashion employment, cognitive computing, and an evening with Rafael Vinoly and Michael Shvo moderated by Paul Goldberger. Interested in learning about the Hudson Yards project? DDC’s design and construction excellence program? How artists and developers are planning together in Staten Island? Then check out these free talks!
For the full calendar of events, visit www.nycxdesign.com.
We are so excited to get back into the shop after an incredible experience at the 2015 AAM Conference in Atlanta and to begin implementing everything we learned. Time and time again we find ourselves so honored to be a part of the museum industry. This was our fourth time attending the annual conference and this year’s meeting certainly did not disappoint. Between the tremendous amount of lectures, case studies, panel discussion, events, networking opportunities, and the sheer number of creative and inspiring professionals working in and for our institutions, you can’t help but come back feeling inspired.
This year’s General Session included a fond farewell to outgoing Alliance President Ford W. Bell. Mr. Bell’s transformative reign as President has included a comprehensive overhaul of its programs and membership structure, a complete organizational re-structuring, and a new focus on advocacy. We are excited to see what incoming President Laura Lott will accomplish during her tenure and want to thank Mr. Bell for his dedication to the museum community.
It’s not uncommon to get bussed from the hotel to the convention center and back to the hotel, barely seeing the light of day when you attend conferences. But the AAM Conference plans events to make sure that their attendees get out and see the host city’s museums and institutions. We got to check out the brand new College Football Hall of Fame and the incredible Georgia Aquarium, among other places.
It’s wonderful to walk around the Museum Expo to witness firsthand the innovative things people are doing in the museum community, and of course the swag you come home with isn’t so bad either! First Place goes to Available Light (Booth 1031) for their Waterproof Shower Pad and Pen, no more ideas going down the drain! While we settle back in Brooklyn, we look forward to furthering the relationships we built down in Atlanta, and bid this year’s AAM conference adieu!
See you next year!
think & build
Martha’s Vineyard Hospital’s Permanent Collection
Last week, we were approached by a lovely couple who were looking to build an enclosed pedestal and mount for a cast-resin sculpture titled Wedding Book by the late artist, Stella Waitzkin. Assisting collectors in building conservational and practical means of displaying their acquisitions is something we have specialized in since we opened our doors, however, this particular circumstance was something very special.
The couple that came to visit us here in Brooklyn was Edward F. Miller and Monina von Opel, of Martha’s Vineyard. This sculpture is not destined for this family’s own private collection, quite the contrary. Mr. Miller is the Vice Chairman of the board of Trustees at Martha’s Vineyard hospital, the only hospital in Dukes County. For the past three years, Mr. Miller and his wife have dedicated themselves to advancing the hospital’s permanent collection. Placing art in hospitals has been a hot topic as of late, and recent articles by NBC News and The Wall Street Journal have shown a significant increase in awareness of the health benefits art can have on not only the patients, but on their families and caregivers as well. Transforming the traditionally sterile and industrial environment of a hospital can help people heal, as recent scientific research has suggested. So, while this is not necessarily a new concept, the model set in place by Mr. Miller and his colleagues is certainly something to be admired.
This is not art for art’s sake, this collection has been developed and polished with the Hospital’s patients, families, employees, and location in mind. While the collection does not include any million-dollar listings, the Hospital has catalogued over 350 works of art that have all been donated to the institution. That’s right. The Hospital is not reallocating resources for acquisitions that should go towards providing the highest quality of healthcare to its community. In fact, not only is the artwork donated, but you’ll often find Mr. Miller and Mrs. Opel hanging and lighting the artwork themselves in the hallways of the Hospital.
Having recently undergone a multi-million dollar building renovation, Martha’s Vineyard Hospital had allocated a small budget to purchase and hang some nondescript poster art that you could find in any hospital in any city of the country. But that wasn’t good enough for Mr. Miller and his companions. He wanted the art on the walls to be able to reflect what was happening outside of the walls. In an article for the Martha’s Vineyard Times, Mr. Miller was quoted :
“The hospital’s architects offered us art, but it was all generic. You could be anywhere. And we wanted you to know you were on the Vineyard. We have so many creative people on the Island, we thought it would be a fantastic thing to bring that creativity into what would otherwise be very institutional.”
Martha’s Vineyard is a place that is bursting with creativity, so why not take advantage of that fact and pay tribute to those who call the Vineyard their home and provide respite for those looking for just a glimpse outside the hospital walls. Catalogued and labeled as any proper collection should be; visitors, patients, staff members, and even the general public can be found at any time during the day wandering the hallways of the Hospital admiring the work.
New Project firmly believes in the power of art to evoke emotion, tell a story, engage, and challenge the viewer. Above all though, we believe in arts ability to help heal. If a piece of art can offer someone a moment of peace, encourage someone to get up out of a bed, or provide an escape from a stressful environment, then it is doing its job.
There is a screening process for all donations, and of course they cannot accept every piece into the collection. Visit the Hospital’s website for more information and to view the extensive collection.
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
Last year we fabricated and installed a show at New York Public Library called “Charles Dickens: The Key to Character.” It was designed by our friend Roger Westerman and consisted of illustrations, original writings, rare translations, and even Dickens’s pocket diary full of code that he used with his mistress.
We just found out…the show won an award!
SEGD (that’s Society for Environmental Graphic Design in case you were wondering) gave the exhibit a Design Merit award.
Here are some photos: