Archive for the ‘Design’ Category

Exhibition Design – Folk Couture: Fashion and Folk Art

For the past few months we have been experimenting with new materials for our exhibition design with the American Folk Art Museum. The exhibition, Folk Couture: Fashion and Folk Art, showcases original ensembles from thirteen designers inspired by objects from the museum’s permanent collection. The results will be displayed alongside the original folk art objects; exploring the boundless relationship between inspiration and creation.

-Process 2

Photo by Patrick Mandeville.

We sought to find a flexible material to create a system that could be customized to respond to different objects while providing  tactile and visual continuity to the show. Inspired by the draping of a dress form, we chose to work with concrete impregnated fabric to create a series of custom pedestals specifically crafted for the garment or object it holds.


Photo by Patrick Mandeville.

The process of constructing the pedestals involved building a series of simple armatures from which the concrete canvas was suspended upside-down and saturated with water.

Pedestal sm

Once cured, the result is a series of light-weight, structurally sufficient, modified-catenary forms that appear to float and billow upwards, grounded only by the weight of the objects they support.

Folk Couture: Fashion and Folk Art will be on display from January 21st- April 23rd, 2014 at the American Folk Art Museum.

The exhibition is free and open to the public.

Beaux Arts Ball Roundup

This year the 69th Regiment Armory housed more than a thousand guests and a handful of large puppets for a night of festivities and performance at The Architectural League’s annual Beaux Arts Ball.

We spent 48 hours transforming the Armory’s Drill Hall into a landscape of ethereal floating lightweight structures hovering above the floor, spent a night of dancing underneath underneath a live feed projection mapping, sound installations and lighting design, and finally spent a Sunday uninstalling.

We just finished a video that documents the process from rigging to final party. Watch below


Photo Keith Sirchio
Entrance to the cavernous Drill Hall at the 69th Regiment Armory.


Photo Fran Parente


Photo Keith Sirchio
Processional Arts Workshop designed 14 ft tall mylar puppets who along with performers roamed throughout the dance floor.


Photo Design Wire
The theme for this year’s Ball was -ism, and Situ colleague James welded his as cubism-inspired costume


Photo Keith Sirchio


Photo Keith Sirchio


Photo Patrick Mandeville

See more photos from this year’s Beaux Arts Ball and learn more about our environment design here

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

Heartwalk Moves to DUMBO

Heartwalk  has moved to DUMBO and is installed in the Pearl Street Triangle, just next to the Manhattan Bridge Archway, through April 30th.  Big thanks to the Design Trust for Public Space for helping to find new home for Heartwalk and for connecting us to the DUMBO Improvement District and the New York City Department of Transportation, who facilitated the move in early March.  After Heartwalk leaves DUMBO, we have plans to move it to another venue for the summer.  We hope to announce the next location shortly.


As documented in the above time-lapse, the shadow of the Manhattan Bridge creates a spectacular light show on sunny days.

Also, the Heartwalk Instagram aggregator site is still up and running.  Click here to check out the latest pictures (, and be sure to visit and tag your own photos #Heartwalk.


We were honored to have a visit from Architects Wang Shu and wife/partner Lu Wenyu recently.

Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day was pretty intense in Duffy Square this year as tens of thousands of visitors passed through to renew vows, canoodle and visit the “heart” of New York City.

Photo by Keith Sirchio

Couples and families filed in to heartwalk throughout the evening. It really began to function like a photo booth.


In a very unexpected surprise Heartwalk  also became the stage for at least four engagements that evening.

Photo by Keith Sirchio

It was our hope that this heart would be a net that could ensnare the incredible diversity that is Times Square. Witnessing the range of visitors that stopped to have their picture taken that evening was pretty remarkable.


Approximately 500,000 people pass through Times Square each day. Inevitably, many of those people are going to take photographs of their experience and as part of the planning around the Heartwalk project we began to think about how we could crowd-source imagery from photos taken by the general public. We worked with a terrific office called HD MADE to build a Heartwalk photo aggregator that harvests Instagram images at regular intervals throughout the day. HD MADE created a platform that harvests images by predetermined hashtags (#heartwalktsq, #heartwalk) and feeds them to a gallery.

If you visit Heartwalk, Instagram a few pics and hashtag them #heartwalktsq. Check out your photos (and everyone else’s) here:


Hopefully over the coming weeks this gallery will grow as the public visits the installation. We’re looking forward to seeing the results of this experiment in social media – somewhere between a photo-booth and a photo-album.




Design Lab: The Dollhouse

One component of the Design Lab at the New York Hall of Science – the “Dollhouse” – will be used for hand-scale projects, such as making models of buildings and cities. The perimeter of the space is composed of shelving for both display and materials storage. A continuous horizontal surface called the “aggregator” will provide space for kids to display what they have made and to build on the ideas of other participants. In response to the program’s emphasis on craft and making by hand, the structure of the dollhouse will be based on traditional timber construction. For both the walls and ceiling, wood framing will be laid out in a triangulated tessellation pattern and joined with connectors that are integral to the plywood cladding. To allow passers-by to see in, some parts of the perimeter are left open, and some parts of the cladding are perforated. The perforations echo the tessellated geometry of the framing.

dollhouse aggregator

The Aggregator

dollhouse front-BLOG1

Front View of the Dollhouse

dollhouse plan

Plan of the Dollhouse

Heartwalk Assembly

We’re in the throes of assembling the components for the Heartwalk. After removing all the hardware and planing the planks, we’ve been cutting them to size for assembly into the array that will form the inner and outer walls. The structure will be pre-assembled into sections that we will transport and install in Times Square over approximately 12 hours.


A view of the south-side being mocked up.


A view from between the interior and exterior walls.


Note all the holes from where original boardwalk screws were removed.


Over the past week we’ve collected close to 500 salvaged boardwalk boards from four locations (Atlantic City, Sea Girt, Long Beach, Rockaway) along the NY/NJ coasts that were hit by Hurricane Sandy for our Times Square installation, Heartwalk.  Boards are a mix of exotic Ipe, treated Pine and Cedar, and composite decking.  In some locations we’ve picked boards out of piles of debris.  At other locations we were given permission to unscrew boards from sections of boardwalk that were deemed unsafe and would need to be rebuilt.


Once back in our fabrication shop, repurposing begins by removing nails and screws and brushing sand and salt off of the boards.  Splintered sections are cut away and the remaining clean portions are stacked and dried.  A number of the Ipe boards that will be used on the interior of the heart are planed on one side to expose the natural dense reddish grain that is masked by the weathered gray patina.

Simultaneously, we have been developing the design through mockups and lighting studies.  Over the next week, we’ll be fully fabricating Heartwalk at a staging location adjacent to our fabrication shop prior to installing in Times Square on February 10th.



Salvaging Material from NY/NJ Boardwalks Damaged by Sandy

Last Friday we began the process of collecting salvaged lumber from boardwalks damaged by Hurricane Sandy for our upcoming installation in Times Square – Heartwalk.  The following photos are of the boardwalks in Atlantic City and Sea Girt, NJ.  On Tuesday we’ll be visiting Long Beach, NY.  What we found in the two sites of New Jersy was astonishing.  In Atlantic city the quater-mile section of boardwalk along the Absecon Inlet was almost completely torn from the concrete piers.  In Sea Girt, the mile-long boardwalk will have to be entirely rebuilt.

Over the next couple weeks we’ll re-purpose 300-400 boards from the three sites for the Times Square installation.


One of the few remaining sections of Absecon Inlet boardwalk, Atlantic City.


Splintered section of the Atlantic City boardwalk at Oriental Ave.


Warped and fractured section of Sea Girt boardwalk.


Picking boards from pile of debris in Atlantic City, NJ.


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