Tag Archives: new york city

Space Exploration: United Nations

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.

UN Exhibits

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 exhibitscommittee@un.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.

UN Exhibits entrance text

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.

Palestinian Embroidery

Exhibition image detail

UN Exhibits: Palestinian Embroidery 1

Intricate textiles

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Contemporary fashion faces a row of portraits of the UN Secretaries General in rug form donated by member state Iran.

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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).

Gift from Thailand

A gift by member state Thailand to the United Nations, one of many remarkable pieces of the collection on view at the UN Headquarters.

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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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Robot Swarm

The Robots Are Coming- Robot Swarm at MoMath

Robot Swarm at the National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath)


 

The Swarm Is Coming: Museum of Mathematics (MoMath) 

The Swarm Is Coming: Museum of Mathematics (MoMath), NYC

 

Robot Swarm is a full-body interactive experience that is based on a hot-topic in the robotics world right now: the mathematics of emergent behavior. Visitors to the Museum of Mathematics (MoMath) will have the opportunity to step into the ring and come foot-to-face with a colony of horseshoe-crab-shaped creatures who will monitor your movement and react based on a series of behavioral commands. Sound fun? IT IS!

The museum is calling Robot Swarm The nation’s most technologically ambitious robotics exhibit ever. Controlled by a touch-screen panel on the outer-edge of the exhibit, visitors choose from five different scenarios (including On Your Marks, Run Away, Swarm, Pursue and Robophobia) which will then provide a set of rules to the robot colony below. Not only will the robots take into account the visitor’s location in order to perform these rules, but they will also use the locations of their neighboring inhabitants to execute their tasks. If you have ever wondered what it felt like to be Godzilla descending upon a city full of fleeing man-made creatures, or have ever had the urge to literally watch lines of computer code come to life before your eyes, then Robot Swarm will certainly not disappoint.

New Project has been fortunate enough to work with MoMath on a number of projects since its inception. Since then, we have served as one of the museum’s primary fabrication and installation companies. Last year, alongside Tim Nissen-MoMath’s Chief of Design, Three Byte Intermedia-a local technology consulting firm, and Knowledge Resources of Basel, Switzerland, we began working on the fabrication and installation of MoMath’s newest interactive exhibit Robot Swarm which will open to the public on Sunday, December 14th.

Beneath your feet, the robots, equipped with unique personalities and characteristics, will react to your every step based on the rules provided to them. Quite frankly, Three-Byte Intermedia and Knowledge Resources have blown our minds with their creations. Stay tuned to our blog when we sit down and chat with Chris Keitel, Principal at Three-Byte Intermedia about the project.

We’ve helped MoMath realize an exhibit that had been on their minds since the museum was first built. New Project helped bring their clean, industrial looking structure to reality to serve as the largest robotic home for coolest colony of robots. The display consists of a pressurized structural steel and glass contained frame that creates the robots playground and their docking and service stations. The overall structure suggests a boxing ring. Once in the ring you’ll be captivated by the uncanny movement of the robots triggering your instinctual desire to either fight or flee. The framing structure sits atop a wood chassis which was all built here at our shop in Brooklyn and then relocated and permanently installed on the lower level of the museum.

 

From left: Tim Nissen- Chief of Design, MoMath, Glen Whitney, Executive Director MoMath, Chris Keitel- Pincipal, Three-Byte Intermedia, and Cindy Lawrence- Co-Executive Director, MoMath.

From left: Tim Nissen- Chief of Design, MoMath, Mike Stengle- Knowledge Resources Group, Glen Whitney, Executive Director MoMath, Chris Keitel- Principal, Three-Byte Intermedia, and Cindy Lawrence- Co-Executive Director, MoMath.

 

Terry working on the wood chassis in our Brooklyn shop

Terry working on the wood chassis in our Brooklyn shop.

 

Brett, our metal fabricator, mounting the custom made ADA compliant handrail.

Brett, our metal fabricator, mounting the custom made ADA compliant handrail.

The swarm of robots are sealed beneath glass so that they and all of their delicate components are protected from visitors and other harmful materials. We had to make sure that the entire structure was built like a reverse vacuum, pushing out all dirt and dust from the museum.

 

Ensuring the vents are clear and the access points are working on site, prior to installing the glass

Frank ensuring the vents are clear and the access points are working on-site, prior to installing the glass floor

 

Perhaps the biggest challenge we faced while installing the exhibit was the lowering and the placement of two large glass panels each weighing in at almost 2,000 lbs. The panels, which would later become the floor of the exhibit, were placed into a storage area at the time of the museum’s construction, as the glass would be too large to be able to fit down the stairwell once the stairs were built. Basically, that gave us one shot to get it right. If they broke, there was no way to replace them.

No pressure guys no pressure.

 

Terry and James carefully maneuvering he glass panels out from storage

Terry and James carefully maneuvering the glass panels out from the museum’s storage.

 

Jody positioning and securing the gantry in order to hoist the glass out of the crates and safely onto the moving dolly.

Jody positioning and securing the gantry in order to hoist the glass out of the crates and safely onto the moving dolly.

 

Dennis, CEO, overseeing the placement of the glass floor

Dennis, CEO of New Project (kneeling), overseeing the placement of the glass floor onto the moving dolly.

 

Luckily, our installation team is amazing and, using custom-made dollies, and gantry that barely fit, and a set of carefully-placed car jacks, the glass panels were lowered into place over a two-night installation without a hitch. As you would expect, Terry was pretty stoked about it.

 

Terry being pretty stoked about it.

Terry celebrating after the first panel was successfully put into place.

 

Once Robot Swarm is open to the public we’ll post videos and photos of the exhibit in use, stay tuned! To experience our creation first-hand, check out Robot Swarm at MoMath, located at 11 East 26th Street in Manhattan. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

New project team putting on the finishing touches.

Part of New Project’s installation team putting on the finishing touches before the exhibit is open to the public.

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.

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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.

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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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