Archive for August, 2013

Design Lab: Backstage

Backstage is the fifth and final space we have finished designing for Design Lab at The New York Hall of Science. It lends its name to the activities that will take place in a hands-on learning space dedicated to experimenting with all the ingredients that go into a theatrical productions from rigging to lightening, to costume design.


Model of the Backstage

Backstage is a flexible space that can transform to accommodate variety of activities and group sizes.

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Rolling tables, sewing machines, and mannequins will be brought out for costume design, shadow puppet shows will be staged at moveable freestanding projection screens, lights will be lowered and raised on pulleys in order to change their gels and adjust their angles, and groups will gather around tackboard partitions for problem ideation and display of results.

Backstage marks the final introduction to the four new spaces that along with Maker Space will make up Design Lab. In the next weeks will we start documenting the transition from the design phase into prototyping, creating study models and mock-ups before fabrication begins at our Brooklyn Navy Yard Space.

#designlab #designismaking

Design Lab: The Fort

This week we are taking a closer look at The Fort. In the past few months we have introduced the designs for The Dollhouse, Sandbox  and The Treehouse The Fort marks the fourth in a series of six workspace designs that will make up Design Lab.

Below is the latest built model of The Fort.


The Fort is especially designed for body/scale design. In practice this means full-scale building and prototyping activities such as furniture making and hatching plans for survival on a deserted island will take place in The Fort.


Modular concrete blocks form the enclosure of this space, and the blocks also function as storage cabinets, display boxes and pegboards. Their stacking pattern provides windows for passers-by to peek in and see what’s happening inside. Small nooks will allow slower starters to observe and research on their own, before jumping into the collaborative activities.


To learn more about Design Lab in its design phase visit our project page here, and stay tuned for process news as we introduce the remaining workshop-spaces and begin fabrication in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

#designab #designismaknig

Design Lab: The Treehouse

The Treehouse is the center workshop-space of the total of six spaces making up Design Lab. Centered in the middle of The New York Hall of Science’s Central Pavilion, the current heart of this historic facility that features hundreds of hands-on exhibitions ranging from molecular biology to physics.


Each of Design Lab’s six spaces is designed to accommodate a range of earning styles, with particular attention to problem ideation research, and display, encouraging visitors to share ideas, reflect on precedents, and examine problems from a variety of perspectives.

In The Treehouse visitors will explore physics from gravity, air resistance, fluid dynamics — by inventing and building contraptions, dropping them from a height, and documenting and observing the results. Challenges will range from designing “air dancers” that fall slowly and graceful to designing a vehicle to protect an egg from breaking.


Close-up of model construction

The Treehouse is a vertical space design that functions on two levels. In part it elevates its audience above ground in the look-out pods, where they will be able to observe the activities happening all over Design Lab as well as the exhibitions on the mezzanine.


Rendering overview of The Treehouse

To learn more about Design Lab in its design phase visit our project page here, and stay tuned for process news as we introduce the remaining workshop-spaces and begin fabrication.

#designab #designismaknig

Making is Design: Makers, Shakers and Innovators

As part of the research for Design Lab we want to get our hands dirty and learn from the wondrous experimental community of makers and tinkers in Brooklyn and beyond.

We’ve stumbled upon Brooklyn Brainery upon a local crowd-sourced community education space, that hosts classes on all topics imaginable from physics, HTML, toy hacking, to shorthand – (you’ll learn how to write fast and indecipherable to most eyes, very convenient for private subway scribbles.)


One of latest additions of educators is NYC Makery. This team of innovation makers has previously hosted a series of pop-up workshops where youth and adult were invited to tinker, experiment and design through making. Hands-on learning and experimentation is at the heart of these workshops, and we’re amazed to see how a chance gift of balloons turned one of the kids into a camera-hacker that created an awesome aerial photography device.


The idea of asking youth “what will you make today” rather than “today we’ll learn about” is the driving motivator for the spirit of NYC Makery and Design Lab alike. The re-design of The New York Hall of Science’s new exhibition space is divided into five separate workshop-spaces were visitors are encouraged to participate and design objects through hands-on making. Our belief that “making is design” bleeds into our own process of designing Design Lab from concept to finished space. We make sure to switch out our office chairs with tools to build features and objects that will be part of the end result.

To learn more about prototyping and our fabrication to design process click here, and to explore Design Lab in its design phase please visit our project page for Design Lab.

All Photographs courtesy of Makery NYC

#designlab #makingisdesign



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