New York is an international center for design. World-famous architects and designers have learned here, lived here, and worked here. And New York shows off the immense talent in the city and elsewhere with some of the world’s greatest design museums. Here is a small sample of some of the best places to see the latest and greatest works, as well as where to dig when you’re looking for inspiration from the past.
The Anglepoise Giant 1227 (l); Poul Henningnsen classics from Louis Poulsen (r).
Though the worlds of furniture and interior design, like architecture, are often focused on innovation—the future, the new, the next—the best designs rise to the top year after year. This was more evident than ever as we beheld the countless cool and innovative design offerings at last month’s ICFF, many of which we’re sure we’ll be seeing everywhere soon. Among the most memorable were a pair of classics that are far from new but no less brilliant.
Image © Javier Ignacio Acuña Ditzel
Coney Island is an entertainment destination in New York, with its beach and amusement park rides, but it is also a city center for weirdo culture and kitsch. The neighborhood’s aesthetic has developed into something like an early 20th century carnival surrounded by ’60s and ’70s storefronts which may or may not be conscious of their dated designs. So the question is, how do you design a new building in a neighborhood which is so identified with an attractively shabby, authentically dated look? Buildings like the Coney Island Museum face that difficulty with each passing year.
Workplace designers are always trying to find new ways to make offices a more inspiring and productive place, especially for professional creatives. A beautiful work space can keep employees excited when they clock in every day, and make sure that the water cooler talk is about new ideas, not the shoddy carpet. These new NYC offices are pretty to look at and to work in.
Daily Link Fix: Finding Peace and Quiet in NYC; In-Store 3D-Printed Earphones Customized for Your Ear, Mon, August 11, 2014
- Finding A Quiet Respite In The Loud, Busy City: As part of Narratively and WNYC’s “My Secret New York Sanctuary,” one New Yorker shares her secret place to recharge and think when things in the city get a bit too hectic.
- Submit Your Birdhouse Design To NEST: Calling all architects and designers! NEST is looking for your most creative bird-friendly home for their upcoming gallery exhibition and auction. If the design sells, the designer can receive up to 50% of the sold price.
- Baltimore Bus Stop Spells Out “Bus”: If you’ve ever had trouble finding the bus stop in NYC, maybe we should try to get this extremely literal sign that popped up in Baltimore last month. City Lab reports each letter can accommodate up to four people either laying down, sitting or standing.
- Earbuds That Are Customized To Your Ear: New Yorkers need more from earbuds than a “universal ear.” We need ones that withstand crowded trains, “showtime,” awkward moments when your eyes meet someone else’s and when people come through the car panhandling. Cool Hunting featured Normal, an NYC-based company that provides in-store (or remote) scanning for 3D-printed, premium sounding earbuds made specially for your “earhole.”
Daily Link Fix: Artist Turns People Into NYC Landmarks; Wearing This Pendant Can Convert Kinetic Energy into Electricity, Wed, August 6, 2014
- Artist Camouflages Her Human Canvases In NYC Scenescapes: You’ve never seen body art like this. Daily Mail features Trina Merry making people practically disappear in Central Park, in front of the Gugg, and on bridges.
- Domino Sugars Sign Will Be Relocated: NYDN reports that the iconic sign will be taken down this month, but then reinstalled in a different location with a retail space, residential building and school.
- Jewelry That Converts Kinetic Energy into Electricity: Why dig for renewable energy in some far away place when you’re a walking renewable resource? Dezeen covers industrial designer Naomi Kizhner’s line of jewelry that can store energy from your body and turn it into electricity. If you’re wondering how it works: think of a water wheel, but with your blood – eeek.
- A Spin-The-Bottle Bar In, Wait For It, Bushwick – Games that you usually see at a bar: Jenga, Scattegories, Guess Who?, Connect 4. Leave it up to the up-and-coming nabe of Bushwick to have a bar with a spin-the-bottle table. Gawker assures us they also have food; just don’t forget your mints and floss before you pucker up.
- Honeycomb Sleeping Pods For Music Festival-Goers: Wired features B-And-Bee, the winning design for a Belgium competition for sustainable entrepreneurship. Believe it or not, each pod is big enough to fit a king size bed! Where do we sign up?
- There’s No Place Like NYC In The Summer: Summer Fridays, Saturday afternoons laying out in Sheep Meadow, outdoor dining and maybe even an ice cream cone from the Mister Softee truck… DesignTaxi spotlights a slow-motion video of scenes in the city during the dog days of summer.
- ‘Hug’ Tracks How Much Water You’re Drinking: Because #firstworldproblems, TechCrunch reports on the device and smartphone app that helps you stay hydrated. If only it told you how many people go without fresh, clean water every day too…
- Going Back To The Basics of Design: Lifehacker reminds us that design is part of everyday life. Use these three basics from design 101 to help improve your photography, interior design and writing skills.
Images: Achilles Heel’s B-And-Bee courtesy of Wired (left); “Streets – New York City” by Tim Sessler courtesy of DesignTaxi
Daily Link Fix: Stay Active and Keep Your Phone Charged with Cycling Bike; Spray Can Cake Batter (Yes, Really), Mon, August 4, 2014
- Iron Man Suits Make A Debut In South Korean Shipyards: Super strength suits are no longer just for those Marvel films. New Scientist reports that engineers in South Korea have built an exoskeleton that shipyard workers can use to lift up to 66 pounds.
- Cycle While You Work: Because standing desks are boring and treadmill desks are an eyesore. FastCo.Design highlights WeWatt’s cycling desk that helps you stay fit, improves work ethic, and charges your smartphone!
- Yummy Cake…From A Spray Can: Solving the real problems of life, two Harvard students have created a sprayable, microwaveable cake batter for easy baking without the mess. One of the students revealed to the Washington Post that ultimately they want an “organic and kosher certified” product. We’re not exactly sure if you can get that from “food” in a can.
- No Longer Able To Keep Up With The Joneses: The hard truth is that poverty exists and is growing in the suburbs. Slate reports that high poverty started to become more concentrated in suburban neighborhoods since the early 2000s.
Images: Left – Cycling Desk from WeWatt’s Facebook page; right – Spray Cake courtesy of John McCallum and Brooke Nowakowski for the Washington Post
On an average workday in New York, over 3.9 million people crowd onto the tiny island of Manhattan. That’s a lot of behinds needing a seat, and the city provides plenty of those in the form of benches. But not all benches are created equal. There are gems hidden in every borough – beautiful, funky, unique slabs for you to sit on this summer.
We’re all looking forward to a long weekend this week, so why not get amped for Memorial Day by boning up on some of the knowledge this city has to offer? School yourself on Russia’s Modern Masters, learn about the genius of the Scandinavian design approach, or go one on one with a Whitney Museum artist.
As Memorial Day looms, so does the opening of the city’s greatest isle of relaxation: Governors Island. You know summer is almost here when the ferries start running over to Manhattan getaway, so head to the ferry terminal this weekend!