Tag Archives: custom furniture

Checking in with Designer Scott Henderson

 

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.

You can see more of Scott’s work on his website here.
And look for him out and about during ICFF and NYCxDESIGN events.

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.

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Dennis contemplates the tension

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Ivar shaping the seat

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Tom threading the slats

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Ivar assembling the pieces

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Voila–the final product!

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NYCxDESIGN

NYCxDESIGN Returns May 3 – 17, 2016

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:

Design Noir
Design Noir
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.

BklynDesigns
Bklyn Designs
May 6 – 8, 2016
Varying hours
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
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.

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Cornell Tech

Cornell Tech Custom Furniture

Modular Custom Furniture for Cornell Tech- “It’s Not Our Space, It’s Theirs”


 

Cornell Tech's Studio inside Google's Chelsea building

Cornell Tech’s Studio inside Google’s Chelsea building

New York City is no stranger to arts-specific educational institutions. Manhattan and its surrounding boroughs are home to Parsons the New School of Design, the School of Visual Arts, Pratt Institute, and the New York Film Academy, among many others. Each offering their own set of discipline-focused curricula, these schools have produced countless alumni who have gone on to become leaders in their respective fields. With the recent shift toward the technological and with start-ups securing their place as a permanent fixture of our future, it was only a matter of time before New York’s already impressive educational offerings included a technology-based school which would focus on preparing its students with the information technology skills they’ll need to be at the forefront of the rapidly-changing technological landscape. Enter, Cornell Tech.

Seen as a way to increase entrepreneurship and job growth in the city’s technology sector, Mayor Bloomberg announced the plans for Cornell Tech’s 12 acre Roosevelt Island campus back in 2011. The first phase of construction is slated to be completed in 2017, with the remainder of the campus scheduled to be finished in 2037. In the interim, in order to establish a foot-hold in the city, Cornell Tech has begun offering their graduate program out of a temporary home inside Google’s Chelsea building. The school was looking for a space that is open and flexible, where students, faculty, and guests could interact and collaborate in unique and personalized ways. Enter, New Project.

New Project was contracted by Rockwell Group, a local architectural design firm, to fabricate large mobile modules that the students can move, rearrange, and manipulate to create unique spaces for classes, lectures, study, and lounging. Rockwell Group accurately defines the resulting creation as a “learning toolkit of working hubs and surfaces that encourage collaboration”.

Using Rockwell Group’s original designs, New Project fabricated and installed four freestanding, modular structures in the school’s “Studio” in 2013. Each module was equipped with white boards and cork boards, as well as access to dropped electrical power sources so that students could easily attach computers, projectors, monitors, etc. Various seating and large work surfaces make up the remainder of the space, which could be transformed and moved to accommodate a number of various needs including events, lectures and presentations. Additionally, we built a custom reception desk in the shape of Roosevelt Island, the university’s future home, using layered furniture-grade birch plywood.

A year and a half later, we’ve returned to the campus and spoke with Cornell Tech staff members Tamika Morales, Administrative Assistant, and Aaron Holiday, Managing Entrepreneurial Officer, to see how the units have been received and manipulated by the students. Here’s what they had to say:

NP: In your experience here at Cornell Tech, how have you noticed the students using the furniture in “The Studio”?
TM: The students have become very comfortable with the furniture. They use the large piece, dubbed “Mamma Jamma”, the most. I’ve seen it used as a large desk and study area, a stage, and many other things. All of the furniture is used on a daily basis in a number of different ways. The furniture has actually become a very important part of the student’s “Hack Days”.
 
NP: Can you elaborate on what a Hack Day is and how the furniture is used in the process?
AH: Hack Days occur three times a semester. The objective of this 24 hour event is for the students to make accelerated progress on the projects they are building on campus, particularly technology and software. It creates a collaborative culture for people who are actively building things. The furniture is an integral part of hack day. We put the studio in a way that its setup is completely unusable; tables are flipped upside down, things are all over the place. Tamika and the team will pile all of the furniture up in the middle of the room with the white boards all around the space. Then, at the count of three, students will race and go after everything and grab what they want. It’s actually quite incredible to watch this completely disheveled space transform into a useable work area in less than a minute. The students can create and convert it into their own space, They take ownership not only of the project they are working on but the space they’re working in. This can only happen because the furniture is modular and on wheels.
 
NP: That sounds exciting! Reminds me of the cornucopia scene in The Hunger Games, without all the violence of course. When we built the furniture we were really hoping that the students would take ownership of the space and utilize it according to their needs. It’s nice to see they are. Are there any other events that come to mind that the furniture was manipulated and used for?
TM: Yes! We use it all the time for seminars, announcements, panel discussions, and most often for our weekly guest speakers. We call it Conversations In The Studio, where luminaries in the tech community are invited to come and speak to about entrepreneurship, engineering, art and other topics. The conversations are moderated by the students. We can pull out the stage, and set up chairs, but the rest of the furniture is pushed to the sides to accommodate the crowds. Sometimes the Google people come down to hear the speaker.
 
NP: Have the students or speakers used the furniture in any way that has surprised you?
TM: I saw someone actually doing pull-ups one day on Mamma Jamma. I also once saw someone turn one one of the pieces into their own space, complete with a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the outside, they found the remotes that are hidden inside the desk… they really take ownership. The magnetic Cornell Tech sign gets moved everywhere and is played with to take pictures and whatnot. It’s always in a new spot.
 
NP: There is a lot going on here everyday, and it’s not a huge space. It almost seems like this kind of set up was necessary. If the furniture was static and heavy, you would have been very limited as to what you could do with the space.
TM: Yes, I think the students would have been very frustrated. It wouldn’t have the same energy. This isn’t our space, it’s their space.

We have to say, we knew the furniture would be utilized, but we were pleasantly surprised how they have incorporated the furniture into their daily lives on campus. It is interesting that physical furniture is so heavily manipulated and depended on in such a technological setting. We are so proud of what we built, and think Rockwell Group really hit the nail on the head with the design.

We leave you with some visuals from the planning, fabrication, and installation phases of the project. Enjoy!

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Cornell Tech is temporarily housed on the 3rd floor of Google’s building located in Chelsea. This beautiful neon sign greets you in the lobby. Google created its moniker using letterforms from actual old neon signs found around New York City. The space is being generously donated by Google until 2017.

 

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Before we could begin building, we had to make sure it would all fit with enough space to move around. We didn’t want a square peg-round hole situation. We used tape on the floor and built to-scale cardboard frames to verify the width, depth and height of each module.

 

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We started out by welding the frames together in our shop, then began fitting the various wooden surfaces and walls inside. Because all of the furniture was to be raised on wheels, it was important that all of the pieces were elevated enough as to not touch the floor.

 

Frank installing some panels into “Mamma Jamma”, the largest unit in the set.

 

 

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In addition to the free-standing modules, we also fabricated a few extra components including this bench/stage/table/bed… the list goes on.

 

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Here’s the bench/stage getting a final smooth coat of Cornell Red.

 

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The magnetic Cornell Tech sign

 

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Shop drawing for the Roosevelt Island table.

 

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Willen built the Roosevelt Island table out of 1/2″ numerous layers of furniture-grade birch plywood. Each layer was cut using the CNC to replicate the southern tip of the Island, which will be the school’s permanent home come 2017.

 

The desk was built as a hollow construction so that it would fit over and extend the work surface of an existing desk. Each layer was strategically seamed so as to limit the amount of material needed.

 

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Here’s the desk with the top layer attached. 

 

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The finished product ready for installation.

 

Installation day was a busy affair and we had the majority of our team on site. Did we mention all the units had to breakdown into elements that would fit through some fairly small doorways and turn down some narrow hallways, then reassembled on site?

 

Willen and the rolling countertop.

 

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Lee adjusting the counter weight to the sliding clear dry-erase board that can be positioned in front of two monitors. 

 

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The Cornell Tech sign is magnetic and can attach to any of the pieces. Here is Michael attaching the finishing touches.

 

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Our beautiful Roosevelt Island reception desk designed by Rockwell Group.

 

Cornell In Use

The furniture in use in The Studio.

 

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‘Conversations In The Studio’ lecture series. Photo courtesy of Cornell Tech’s Facebook Page.

 

Also, check out Rockwell Group’s Vimeo Page for a time-lapse video of Cornell’s Studio in use.

Think and Build.

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ICFF, New Project pays a visit

We stopped by The International Contemporary Furniture Fair this past week. It was a vast and breathtaking assortment of over 500 custom furniture designers from around the world.

ICFF 2013

Dave and Dennis walking the 165,000 square feet of ICFF.

Needless to say, there was a lot to covet. For instance, the new 3D printer from Formlabs. Hopefully we’ll be getting one of these soon.

formlab

The Form 1

And, in spite of just getting some new office chairs to accommodate our new “standing” office, we liked the workstations by Focal.

Focul Furniture

Focal Upright Furniture.

It was exhausting but fun to see so much creativity under one roof. Hopefully next year we’ll budget more than one day to see it all.

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New Project

New Project Enters the Blogosphere

Welcome to New Project’s blog. We hope to make our blog as exciting and varied as our projects. We do so many odd, diverse, and multifaceted jobs it’s sometimes difficult to get a clear picture of who we are. Hopefully this blog will shed light on our projects, processes, capabilities, and especially our amazing team. We’ll show some jobs from the past, post photos of our employees as they hop around the globe, and even include a blooper or two. Stay tuned.

Patrick, Dennis, and Zach holding down the fort.

Patrick, Dennis, and Zach holding down the fort.

 

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