Design Trust Futures Studio 2018 | New York Research Trip

24. 9. 2018

Design Trust Co-Founder and Executive Director Marisa Yiu and Senior Project Manager Joyce Li travelled to New York from 5th to 8th September 2018. The 4-day research and study tour consists of a range of site visits, studio tours and workshops, during which the 4 designer teams also shared and presented their micro-parks projects under this year’s theme of “Play is for the people” at The Architectural League of New York.

The designer mentees visited Bryant Park and other public spaces with non-profit organisation Project for Public Spaces (PPS). Through research studies and analyses, Manhattan public spaces have transformed from being crime-infested in the 1980s to cross-generational, multi-functional, and dynamic spaces that facilitate social life for all walks of life now. Bryant Park, a privately managed public space, is now known as Manhattan’s Town Square. A number of other public spaces, parks and playgrounds were visited, including Imagination Playground by David Rockwell, Water Lab at Pier 6, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Paley Park by landscape architectural firm Zion Breen Richardson Associates, and Domino Park by James Corner Field Operations. One of the highlights was the High Line, a collaboration by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, James Corner Field Operations, and Piet Oudolf. Leading the tour, Matthew Johnson (Principal, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and Lead Designer of the High Line) traced the transformation of the High Line in relation to its surrounding neighbourhood of subcultures, its night scene and meatpackers of the district. As a co-creator of the citywide public engagement project The Mile Long Opera, Matthew also shared with us the experience of bringing together 1,000 singers for free performances on the High Line, reflecting the rapid changes in urban theatre and the crisscrossing between public and private life.

The team made several other key visits to studios and institutions of architecture and graphic design. Amongst these were Pentagram, the world’s largest independent design studio, where they met co-founding partner Michael Bierut. The mentees also visited Storefront for Art and Architecture, which was founded in 1982 by Kyong Park as a space to exhibit innovative ideas by architects, artists and curators alike. It was interesting to see how the space’s façade – designed by architect Steven Holl and artist Vito Acconci – has blurred the division between public and private spaces, and challenged the current built environment and urban design of the city. The DTFS crew also visited A/D/O design space and nARCHITECTS, where Mimi Hoang (Co-founding Principal of nARCHITECTS, and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University) shared her most recent projects, and explored with the team the latest innovations in design.

On Friday, 7th September 2018, the team presented their micro-parks projects as part of the Design Trust Futures Studio 2018 at The Architectural League of New York (ALNY). Under this year’s theme of “Play is for the people”, conceptual designs by the 4 teams were presented to the designer, architect and placemaking community of New York including Paul Lewis (President, ALNY; Co-founding Principal, LTL Architects), Rosalie Genevro (Executive Director, ALNY), Anne Rieselbach (Program Director, ALNY), Calvin Tsao (Board Member, ALNY; Co-founder, Tsao & McKown Architects), Benjamin Prosky (Executive Director, AIA NYC), and Rosamund Fletcher (Deputy Director, Design Trust NYC).

The research tour ended on an inspiring note, with visits to the Guggenheim Museum designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, MoMA and its collection of modern and contemporary art, architecture, and design, as well as the Whitney Museum of American Art and its 20th- and 21st- century collection.

Thank you to Create Hong Kong and our foundation supporters for making this trip a successful one.





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The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region provides funding support to the project only, and does not otherwise take part in the project. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in these materials/events (or by members of the project team) are those of the project organizers only and do not reflect the views of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Communications and Creative Industries Branch of the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau, Create Hong Kong, the CreateSmart Initiative Secretariat or the CreateSmart Initiative Vetting Committee.