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.
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.
New Project gives back to the community and this child-friendly project was just one example. Putting our CNC machine to good use, we created these snap-together birdhouses for a class project to help kids learn sequencing tasks. New Project designed the birdhouses using Rhino and cut the pieces out of a single sheet of MDO plywood using our CNC machine. We then bagged together easy-to-assemble kits for the 1st grade class at PS-10 in Brooklyn. New Project Co-Founder and CEO Dennis Potami visited the class to explain and lead the project. Each child assembled the pieces without nails or glue and then took home the birdhouse they proudly made in class. We really enjoyed developing this fun project that hopefully inspired a new generation of thinkers and builders!
Tim designs the birdhouse in Rhino
The finished product and the happy builders
Keep it Local This Valentine’s Day
Surprise! Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day! Not sure if it snuck up on you, as it did on us, but never fear, we’ve got you covered. Luckily, living here in Brooklyn provides ample opportunity to invest in locally-made, hand-crafted goods. We’ve taken a moment to curate a little list of our top recommendations for wooing your Valentine.
Wishing everyone a safe and lovely holiday!
Twig Terrariums: (287 3rd Avenue- GOWANUS)Â
If you are looking for a unique take on the traditional long-stemmed roses, look no further than Twig Terrariums. I mean, who wouldn’t love a mini green world full of life enclosed in a beautiful glass vessel? They’re cute, green, whimsical, and sure to outlast any generic pansy or daisy arrangement. You can swing by their shop to pick up a ready-made terrarium, like the one below, or you can pick up a D.I.Y kit to take a stab at growing your own. If your partner doesn’t have the greenest of thumbs, don’t worry, they don’t require much to keep alive.
Brooklyn Roasting Company: (25 Jay Street- DUMBO & 200 Flushing Avenue- BK NAVY YARD )
If you’re anything like us, coffee is the quickest way to your heart. Skip the pre-dinner Starbucks and head over to one of the Brooklyn Roasting Company’s locations where they’ll be serving up delicious caffeinated beverages made from the very best quality Fair Trade, Organic and Rainforest Alliance certified coffees and espressos. All beans are hand roasted all day long right here in the big City. Seal the deal with a beautiful poured heart on your lattes by one of their talented baristas. Snag some cool Brooklyn swag while you’re there, or better yet bring home some beans to brew on your own the next morning wink-wink-nudge-nudge.
Mast Brothers Chocolate: (111 N 3rd Street- WILLIAMSBURG)
If you don’t know about Mast Brothers then you’ve likely been living in one of those terrariums for the past few years. Brothers Rick and Mike have been making their artisanal chocolates using locally sourced organic cacao here in Brooklyn since 2007, and their extraordinary quality seems to only get better and better. Our favorites are the Sea Salt Chocolate and the Vanilla & Smoke bars from the Artisan Collection. If you’re not sure what cacao percentage tickles your honey’s fancy, pick up one of their collection packs, which offers a nice variety of flavors.
Liddabit Sweets: (220 36th St.- INDUSTRY CITY)
If you’re looking for more of an experience to accompany your sweets, then you should check out Liddabit Sweets Valentine’s Day Tour. At only $15.00 a ticket (option of three different time-slots during the day) you get a tour of their sweet-smelling facility, complimentary cookies and hot cocoa, a make-your-own truffle lesson and, if that isn’t enough, a goodie bag of delicious treats to take home! The tour is about an hour long, and tickets are still available. Liddabit is a local handmade sweet-maker who insists on producing everything locally. We’re not just talking chocolate, get your hands on some caramels, popcorn and honeycomb as well.
Brooklyn Oenology: (209 Wythe Avenue #106- WILLIAMSBURG)
Brooklyn Oenology (BOE) is a locally focused winery based right here in Brooklyn. They serve the full line of BOE wines in their tasting room, which is a lovely way to end your evening. If wine isn’t your thing, no biggie, BOE also offers a menu of many other New York State products like whiskies, ciders, and beers. If that wasn’t enticing enough, tomorrow they’ll be hosting a special tasting experience as Mast Brothers and Raaka chocolates are paired with local NY wines. Event is all day long, no need for reservations.