Comment

NYCxDesign + dsgnfix

dsgnfix joins an elite team to connect all of us to great design in NYC

We’re excited to share that we’re partnering with NYC&Co (the official marketing and tourism organization for NYC) to be THE app for NYCxDesign, connecting design enthusiasts to NYC design destinations this May. We’re honored to be in great company with other NYCxDesign media partners, including The New York Times, dwell, and Architectural Record.

Some other cool news: 

// We have a new development team led by Ric McConkey and they’re working their magic to help us refine the app, the server, and the best way to manage all our growing content. 

// We heard you! An Android version is on the horizon.

// We are working on a new web site that will feature dsgnfix content for travelers, like you, who navigate the world through the lens of design and seek inspirational destinations and experiences wherever you go.

// We’re gearing up to work with our inaugural partner, Open House New York, to plan the OHNY Weekend in October; we're developing new features to explore NYC and share discoveries and stories during this singular city-wide adventure. 

// Lastly, we are proud to announce two new dsgnfix advisors: Sherlen Archibald, a partner at AGW Group, a cultural marketing and communications firm in Brooklyn and Pablo Freund, the Co-Founder and COO of Be Girl. 

We're looking forward to growing our business with you — our supporters, partners and friends. We’re doubling down on our mission to connect everyone to great design, or as our friend and dsgnfix curator Tucker Viemeister says - ‘Dsgnfix makes the whole world a design museum.’ 

There’s so much more to come! 

Comment

Comment

New People, New Places

Partnerships with Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and Open House New York (OHNY) made October a very exciting month for dsgnfix.

RISD By Design Weekend introduced Providence, RI to dsgnfix as RISD parents and alumni used the app to explore the campus and the city and to share destinations and memories with each other. The posts had RISD-flair, even mentioning professors to ask about certain buildings. The posts will continue to be useful for RISD students, faculty and the larger community throughout the year.

For the second year in a row, dsgnfix partnered with Open House New York during OHNY Weekend. Over 140 Open Access sites were featured on a specially designed OHNY curator tile. Thousands of OHNY Weekend participants used dsgnfix to learn about and find their way to destinations throughout NYC.  

Thank you to everyone who began their dsgnfix experience during these two great events, and thank you for all the fantastic new posts.

Dsgnfix is a free navigation and discovery app for the creative community. Designers, architects, artists and friends post on dsgnfix to share the destinations and experiences where they find inspiration, in NYC, Providence and around the world.



Comment

Manitoga + Stephen Talasnik

Comment

Manitoga + Stephen Talasnik

dsgnfix is founded on the belief that design can only be appreciated through direct experience. It has been an exciting summer for dsgnfix as content on the app continues to grow throughout the NYC region and across the country. In July, we teamed up with friends and dsgnfix curators Allison Cross, Executive Director, Manitoga, and Stephen Talasnik, artist, to explore Manitoga first-hand and to learn about Stephen’s site specific sculpture, Sanctuary: An Installation of Aquatic Architecture.

Manitoga is Russel Wright’s mid-century home and woodland garden in Garrison, NY in the heart of the Hudson Highlands. Allison shared the story of Manitoga, a 75-acre property where Wright built his experimental home in the early 1950s, designing it to be both harmonious with nature and an exploration of new materials. He sited his home on the rim of former stone quarry, transforming the quarry into a natural pool by diverting a mountain stream. Inspired by this pool and the amphitheater shaped quarry, Stephen Talasnik, Manitoga’s 2015 resident artist, created a constellation of floating sculpture, Sanctuary, which will be on view through November 9.

Beyond the site itself, tour guests enjoyed hearing Stephen discuss his other sources of inspiration -- Far-Eastern art and architecture, his affinity for and the surprising durability of natural materials, and his concept of “designing in a power failure” using ratios and intuition instead of measuring tools and blueprints.

It was fantastic to gather with dsgnfix curators, partners and friends to experience Manitoga and Sanctuary. Conversations seeded during the tour continued over a reception generously hosted by Manitoga. Thank you Allison! We’ll be back!

Sanctuary: An Installation of Aquatic Architecture is on view at Manitoga through November 9: http://www.visitmanitoga.org/artist-residency-talasnik/

 Find more information about Stephen Talasnik here: http://www.stephentalasnik.com

Described as “Trip Advisor for Creatives,” dsgnfix is a free app, to search, share and discover inspirational destinations. With dsgnfix, you can explore the world through the lens of design.

Look out for our next partnership with Open House New York this fall!


Comment

Curator Profile: Paul D. Miller/DJ Spooky

Comment

Curator Profile: Paul D. Miller/DJ Spooky

Paul D. Miller is not easy to pin down. Composer, multimedia artist, hip hop turntablist, lecturer, author, curator and self-proclaimed nomad, Miller, or “DJ Spooky, That Subliminal Kid” as he is better known, is never in one spot for too long. “Traveling is an essential part of my creative process. And while most people try to sleep through the journey, I absolutely love the voyage itself, ” intimates Miller during dinner with the dsgnfix team in Tribeca. Miller is a National Geographic Emerging Explorer and was the first artist-in-residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Insightful, introspective with a lively associative vocabulary, Miller is among dsgnfix’s first champions and inaugural curators. 

Born in Washington, DC, the erudite artist’s intellectual interests are as diverse as his itineraries. His destinations are actually more like intersections — artistic explorations that trespass and blur the boundaries of art-science, high-low, East-West. Having completed Terra Nova: Sinfonia Antarctica, an ambitious project where Miller, along with a group of artists, sets sail to the North Pole to capture an “acoustic portrait” of the continent’s changing landscape. Miller’s latest book, The Imaginary App  (MIT Press) surveys the landscape of mobile applications and their promise of delivering instant “(h)Appiness” at the swipe of a finger.

“I have this credo. I think every good conversation is a walk through a spacious garden — with many pathways and nooks. A good conversation makes you want to go through different paths, but a bad conversation makes you want to stay in the main area, then leave shortly after,” explains Miller.

Over gazpacho and pasta, we lingered and probed Miller about his latest explorations.


You’ve been thinking a lot about apps lately.  What led you down this path?

Apps are like these tender buttons, as Gertrude Stein calls it. She would say, imagine if you have a screen where you could touch a tender button to generate anything. In the same token, each app is a route to a different conversation—each icon represents a shortcut that pulls you into different areas of the screen.  

So in some ways, those colorful app icons function as doors or portals?

Yes. Actually, since the book is called the “Imaginary App,” we’ve commissioned artists to create buttons for apps that don’t exist. Some interesting proposals came out, and we’ve exhibited them in the Museum London and at Artisphere.

Have you guys heard of Alex Steinweiss? He’s the graphic designer credited for creating the record cover. In the 1920s record cover used to be blank. Then one day, he went to Columbia Records and proposed that they put an image on the cover to give people an idea what the music sounds like. That revolutionized the music and design industry. And if you notice, we’re still using the square format in app icons, as in the record sleeve. I really wanted a book to explore the philosophy and aesthetics of apps.

You’ve actually designed an app yourself. What was that experience like?

I designed a free app that allows you to mix music on your iPhone or iPad, sampling from SoundCloud and your personal music libraries. I learned that you have to promote an idea. When I designed the app, it got copied immediately. We’ve had 30 million downloads, and we saw people copy our format and model.  

With the abundance of apps available, how does an app like dsgnfix serve the community?

As someone deeply involved with apps, when I first looked at dsgnfix, I immediately got the sense that it was about community and curation. Similar apps rely on their staff to select recommendations, while dsgnfix flips that model and asks the community to pick. There’s great potential for more reach because you’re bringing in people and their network of recommendations. The content on dsgnfix is more intimate, richer — really, better oxygen.

 Tell us about an overlooked gem that’s not on your list of dsgnfix recommendations.  

Actually, I can show you. Do you guys have a few minutes?

Where are we going?

Follow me. It’s literally down the block. See that house with the glowing windows? That’s La Monte Young’s “Dream House,” a sound and light installation based on an eternal composition. Young is a minimalist ‘60s composer who influenced Steve Reich, Philip Glass and many others. As the song is always meant to play for eternity, those lights are never turned off. The lights represent waveforms, and they flash according to the cadence of the song—we’re literally watching music. You don’t notice it during the day, but it’s always on.

DJ Spooky pointing out La Monte Young’s “Dream House” on 275 Church Street in Tribeca:

dsgnfix_paul_miller_design.jpg

Conceived, composed, performed by DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid Performed in Europe with the Alter Ego Ensemble Visual design A.J.


Comment

Inspiration anywhere

Comment

Inspiration anywhere

inspiration (n.) c.1300, “immediate influence of God or a god,” especially that under which the holy books were written, from Old French inspiracion “inhaling, breathing in; inspiration,”


The first part of the etymological definition of ‘inspiration’ is interesting but read the second part: ‘inhaling, breathing in’. This suggests that finding inspiration is fundamental to living. As a designer I believe this and constantly look for inspiration in different places everyday. While I worship at the altar of the midcentury modern masters like Fin Juhl, Avar Alto, what really resonates with me was the use of everyday objects — as in the work of Achille Castiglioni (see Mezzadro Chair and Sella Stool). But one cannot live by vintage inspiration alone — that’s why I find my inspiration by simply walking around the city and observing and capturing the energy of the city, the unlimited supply of great buildings, stores, street art and garbage. Everyday stuff.

That’s how I came to the umbrella handle lamp. After a rainstorm the city looks like the umbrellas lost the war. I started to pick them up — the wood handles had a great patina and seemed lonely. I thought, surely I can do something with these. After much ideation and trial and error, I paired them with a simple Ikea planter, a light bulb, and a cloth-covered cord. It’s my favorite lamp now. To keep going I look every day for that next inspirational garbage.


The lamp in action in our house.

The lamp in action in our house.

Comment

Elizabeth Thompson Executive Director, Buckminster Fuller Institute

Comment

Elizabeth Thompson Executive Director, Buckminster Fuller Institute

Elizabeth Thompson knows about detours, roundabouts and convergences. Her path to becoming the chief steward of Buckminster Fuller’s universal legacy was not exactly a straightforward journey. With a liberal arts degree from St. Lawrence University, she started her career in contemporary art, managing the John Gibson Gallery in SoHo. She segued into the world of performing arts as co-founder of Cucaracha Warehouse Theatre, an Obie Award-winning experimental theater company, where she was a producer and performer. “You can do anything when you’re twenty in New York City,” laughs Thompson. 

After a decade thriving amid the grueling pace of the NYC arts scene, she moved to San Francisco in search of a change and picked up a masters degree in Comparative Philosophy. Along the way, she founded Planetwork, a non-profit enterprise working at the nexus of communication, technology, and ecology that eventually led her to her current post at BFI.

These days, she’s back in New York, spearheading a busy calendar of programs at BFI, including overseeing the highest prize for social good projects — The Buckminster Fuller Challenge. We caught up with Thompson while she was in the midst of planning the awards ceremony, held this year on November 20 at the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn, NY. The 2014 winner is Living Breakwaters, an innovative climate change adaptation solution using “Oyster-techture” to promote climate resiliency in coastal areas.


What do you find most exciting about this year’s Buckminster Fuller Challenge winner?

It’s the first time that a woman-led team has won, and we’re ecstatic about that. It’s also the first time the prize is going to a New York-focused project. The more you explore their strategy, the more remarkable it is. They’ve identified a synergy between design and community process and negotiated a system to ensure its long-term success. Though they’re not the only firm engaged in this design approach, what sets them apart is this acuity for community stewardship coupled with an astute analysis from a policy perspective.


Do you find a personal affinity with this synergistic approach?

Absolutely. I’m an ardent defender of the lateral, wide-reaching intellectual appetite. Buckminster Fuller was a creative maverick and straight up genius who embodied this convergence of technology, arts, science—all in the context of addressing the planetary crisis. He coined a term, “omnidirectional,” that was very appealing to me.


What is your preferred mode of discovery?

I’m not very good at planning. When I’m traveling, I usually I like to wander. I wish I could do more of this kind of exploration in New York, but I have two small children and a dog. My discovery here is usually guided by what friends are doing.

 

How is an app like dsgnfix helpful to you?

To have recommendations from people you admire and whose work you follow is a fantastic concept. When you’re traveling, it’s a wonderful tool to have.

 

If you could recommend one place that’s currently not on your list of picks on dsgnfix, what would it be?

I just got back from the Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, AK. I was skeptical about this place initially, but I haven’t had a more inspiring, soulful experience of art in a long, long time. The combination of the building, designed by Moshe Safdie, its location wooded hills where you can see the trees turning fall colors. Add to that this extraordinary collection of American art and this new show called “State of the Art,” where the curator logged 100,000 miles visiting 1,000 artist studios who were totally off-the radar of the contemporary art world— a profound exercise in listening and following recommendations of people in towns and cities. It’s amazing.


SCAPE/Landscape Architects, winner of the 2014 Buckminster Fuller Challenge, developed a concept for waterfront resiliency through "Oyster-tecture" – oyster beds designed to strengthen the urban coastline.

SCAPE/Landscape Architects, winner of the 2014 Buckminster Fuller Challenge, developed a concept for waterfront resiliency through "Oyster-tecture" – oyster beds designed to strengthen the urban coastline.

This year's awards ceremony will take place at the Wythe Hotel, near BFI's homebase in Williamsburg. The Ides, the panoramic rooftop bar at the Wythe, also happens to be one of Thompson's dsgnfix curator picks. 

This year's awards ceremony will take place at the Wythe Hotel, near BFI's homebase in Williamsburg. The Ides, the panoramic rooftop bar at the Wythe, also happens to be one of Thompson's dsgnfix curator picks. 


Access picks from a growing roster of esteemed curators, including Elizabeth Thompson's recommendations, via the free dsgnfix iOS app.

Comment

Capturing the Urban Canvas

Comment

Capturing the Urban Canvas

Looming over a nondescript parking lot on 6th Avenue, a dapper figure stretches to spray paint the between ‘I’ and ‘NY.’ In Bushwick, a boy peers down the DeKalb Avenue Subway station entrance greeting riders going up the steps, and on Ellis Island, evocative historical photographs appear on the windows of the old abandoned hospital like spirits from a bygone era. With almost every turn, art spills into the streets of New York, transforming the entire metropolis into a vast urban gallery that provides a free and ever-evolving art spectacle to the attentive pedestrian year round.  

“The element of surprise is what I love most about street art,” says Ken Brown. Brown is a graphic artist, animator, and independent filmmaker whose distinctive style has been showcased in projects for MTV, VH-1, and Sesame Street. For almost 30 years, Brown has been roving the streets of New York on his bicycle and capturing pictures of street art, scouring the city’s streets for inspiration and delight. “I call this process ‘hunting and gathering,’” explains Brown. “There’s an alluring ephemeral quality about street art that I chase. The artist puts a lot of time and effort into his work but knows that it’s only going to be up there for a little while. There’s something beautiful about that.” Like an archivist for fleeting beauty, Brown catalogues his collection of images into a system (method, material, subject matter, artist) and publishes them on his blog. “My hard drive groans with over 100,000 images now.” 

Street art or graffiti first emerged in the late ‘70s and ‘80s in New York in the form of tags on subway cars. Teeming with angst, whimsy, wit, or personal expression, the aerosol can became the weapon of choice and medium for restless creative energy. 5Pointz, a legendary outdoor exhibition space in Long Island City was an international mecca for street art and its closing earlier this year was mourned and protested by many. Last October, the elusive Bristol-born artist Banksy, held a sensational residency in New York City, embedding works through the five boroughs every day. (A new documentary about the artist’s exhilarating New York takeover, “Banksy Does New York,” premieres on HBO on November 17).

Among other things, the phenomenon catalyzed the local tribe of avid street art devotees including Brown. “I love Banksy and I followed his route for a bit. He’s a provocateur and made people think about what’s going on in the world. I believe that this is an important aspect of art-making — art as the antenna of civilization.”

Brown is among the dsgnfix’s esteemed roster of founding curators. For his selects, he shines a spotlight on the Welling Court Mural Project in Queens, a grassroots initiative organized by Ad Hoc Art in collaboration with the neighborhood in Astoria with the mission of “slaying some aesthetic blights” in their post-industrial surroundings. With over 130 murals this year (including a wall commissioned by OHNY), it has become hotbed for street artists from around the world creating site-specific work. “This project epitomizes a lot of the things I love about street art: a small community working with a local gallery to foster urban renewal and making art that is accessible, interactive, and available for everyone,” says Brown.


National Archives and Records Administration. Photo: Erik Calonius

National Archives and Records Administration. Photo: Erik Calonius

Welling Court Mural Project. Photo: Ken Brown

Welling Court Mural Project. Photo: Ken Brown

Street artists from around the world gathered to create site-specific work for the fifth year of the Welling Court Mural Project. Photo: Adhoc Art

Street artists from around the world gathered to create site-specific work for the fifth year of the Welling Court Mural Project. Photo: Adhoc Art

"Vandal" by Nick Walker spotted in Chelsea. Photo by Anne Quito

"Vandal" by Nick Walker spotted in Chelsea. Photo by Anne Quito

Comment

dsgnfix’s Maine Event!

Comment

dsgnfix’s Maine Event!

dsgnfix recently made a journey to Camden, Maine to attend the PopTech conference, an annual gathering of thinkers, makers and thought leaders on a mission to foster innovation through cross-disciplinary exchanges. With the theme of “Rebellion,” this year’s PopTech, hosted by John Maeda October 23-25, explored “how the spirit of rebellion has inspired progress across technology, science, medicine, design and business.” The highly-anticipated conference, which is held every October in the seaside New England town, is the cornerstone of an expanding universe of programs, fellowships and networks in Maine.

Maine’s mid-coast has long been a source of inspiration for artists, poets and writers – E.B.White, Edna St Vincent Millay, Rockwell Kent, Edward Hopper, George Bellows, generations of Wyeths, Alex Katz, to name just a few. Now, events including PopTech, the Camden Institute, and the Camden Film Festival are engines for establishing this region as a destination for innovation and creative leadership. Soon, the Center for Maine Contemporary Art (CMCA) will be in a new home designed by Toshiko Mori, joining the expanded Farnsworth Museum of Art and Wyeth Center in Rockland. http://farnsworthmuseum.org/ The Steel House incubator is in Rockland, too, offering a modern context for creative businesses, design studios and design education. Just to the north on Deer Island is the venerable Haystack, a creative colony for artists, writers, and more recently digital fabricators.

Thanks to our friends, dsgnfix posts reveal an exciting variety of inspirational destinations in the area, including cultural and historic sites, showrooms and shops, design studios, walks and views, farms and restaurants. dsgnfix thanks John Bielenberg, co-founder of @futurepartners, Suzette McAvoy, Director of the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Stuart Kestenbaum, Director of Haystack, Tom Weis, industrial designer and founder of Steel House, and Joe Galli for their connections and recommendations.

The landscape of Maine is synonymous with exploration. dsgnfix will help you find your way to the places and experiences that have inspired generations of artists and continue to inspire creative leaders today.


 Here are some highlights:

Yellow House, Slab City Road, Lincoln, ME
Amphitheater at Camden Public Library, 2-56 Atlantic Ave, Camden, ME
CMCA shop, 162 Russell Ave, Rockport, ME
Lookout on Mount Battie, Mount Battie Rd, Camden, ME
Waterfall Arts, 256 High St, Belfast, ME
Wyeth Center, 30 Elm St, Rockland, ME
fourTWELVE, 412 Main St, Rockland, ME



Comment

dsgnfix + OHNY:  NYC’s Official Design Navigator

Comment

dsgnfix + OHNY: NYC’s Official Design Navigator

With a shared passion for kindling discovery and inspiration for all design and architecture enthusiasts, dsgnfix is proud to have Open House New York (OHNY) as its featured curator during OHNY Weekend on October 11-12. “We are incredibly excited to partner with dsgnfix to provide a free mobile app for the 2014 OHNY Weekend,” says OHNY executive director Gregory Wessner.

From Eero Saarinen's iconic TWA Flight Center at JFK to the Edgar Allan Poe Cottage in the Bronx, during one extraordinary weekend every October, OHNY unlocks doors to some of New York City’s most important buildings, studios, private residences, and institutions. The highly anticipated OHNY Weekend gives urban spelunkers unparalleled access around town and the rare opportunity to meet the people who shape and preserve the city. The first OHNY Weekend in 2003 drew 45,000 visitors to 84 sites but this year’s event promises to be the biggest yet — over 300 sites spread across the five boroughs — and dsgnfix is coming along for the ride.

Aside from providing users with a dedicated platform to post photos of their favorite sites and experiences throughout the weekend, dsgnfix will function as a personal design navigator for OHNY Weekend visitors. Complete listings and maps of every single participating Open Access site will be available on the dsgnfix app starting October 10. With listings updating depending on the user’s real-time location, dsgnfix allows OHNY visitors to easily find the nearest free, drop-in destination. As Wessner explained, “OHNY’s mission is to give the public access to the extraordinary architecture of New York City and I cannot think of a better tool than dsgnfix, that helps uncover great design all around us.”

Check out the OHNY 2014 Schedule here.

Download dsgnfix app now.

Photo: Iwan Baan, courtesy of FDR Four Freedoms Park

Comment