Today, we’re pleased to announce an ongoing collaboration with the New Museum in New York City, showcasing an array of inventive projects that got started on Kickstarter in their store. As a leading institution dedicated to boundary-pushing art and ideas, the New Museum is the perfect place to share this collection, which features adventurous takes on everyday objects, creative explorations of technology, and designs that are simultaneously playful and profound.
Here’s what you’ll find in the collection:
Frustrated by the lack of positive, empowering superhero action figures for young girls, Julie Kerwin set out to create her own. IAmElemental’s vibrantly hued heroines represent real-life superpowers like bravery, persistence, and creativity that kids can discover in themselves — no radioactive spider bites necessary.
NYCTA and NASA Standards Manuals
Jesse Reed and Hamish Smyth discovered a worn copy of the New York City Transit Authority Graphic Standards Manual in the basement of their office at the renowned design firm Pentagram. Struck by the historical significance and aesthetic beauty of this meticulous guide to Massimo Vignelli and Bob Noorda’s 1970 reworking of the New York Subway system’s signage, Reed and Smyth set out to create a faithful reissue. They figured it would appeal to a handful of their fellow design nerds. Instead, the project received an overwhelming response — prompting them to create a series of further standards manual reissues, including the guide to NASA’s famous 1974 “worm” logo rebrand.
Looking Glass Factory adds a new dimension to pixel art and digital animation with this volumetric LED cube, which allows artists and programmers to sculpt with light and create interactive visualizations. A user-friendly interface and an online community make it easy to create and share content for the cube, while a built-in microphone allows for colorful visualizations of sound and music. Because it’s built on the open-source Arduino platform, folks with a knack for hacking can get even deeper into customizing the display and integrating it into larger projects.
Artist Cat Pins
For her latest project, UK-based designer Nia Gould pondered a deep question: what if the world’s most famous artists were cats? She created a series of enamel pin portraits of these visionary felines in the visual styles of their namesakes. From Pablo Picatso and Frida Catlo to Henri Catisse and Roy Kittenstein, all the greats are here — announce your love of modern art, cats, and puns in one charming accessory.
Personal Body Unit Index
Ever need to measure something when there isn’t a ruler handy? Designers Che-Wei Wang and Taylor Levy set out to address this problem by helping you discover the versatile tool you always carry with you: your body. Inspired by a clever trick Che-Wei’s mom does with her fingers to measure fabric, they created a poster that lets you record the various spans and dimensions across your body for easy reference.
Analog Voltmeter Clock
Self-described “awkward engineer” Sam Feller offers another creative take on measurement. Inspired by the stripped-down aesthetic of vintage industrial equipment, this clock uses the indicator needles of analog voltmeters to tell time. Feller’s affection for the less-than-perfect performance of these pre-digital machines shines through in details like the “twitchy needle" display mode, which mimics the look of a noisy electrical signal and reminds us that a little flexibility in our experience of time is a feature, not a bug.
Renowned artist Olafur Eliasson has long used light to alter viewers’ perceptions in his immersive installations. His Little Sun project channels this interest into devices that collect and store the sun’s light to charge personal lamps and battery packs. Aside from the playful poetics of saving a bit of daylight to carry with you for later, the project aims to have social and environmental impact, using the proceeds to bring clean, sustainable power solutions to people living in areas without access to energy around the world.
Next Thing Co.'s pint-sized development board can do standard computer things like crunch numbers in spreadsheets or surf the web — but you’d probably rather use it to build robots or make your own wireless speaker. The Pocket C.H.I.P. case, pictured above, adds a keyboard and display, allowing you to program — or just play video games — on the go.
Strawbees started with a simple discovery: inventor Erik Thorstensson realized that the plastic waste from IKEA’s lampshade production could be reused as connectors for building with straws and cardboard. Seeing the potential in these inexpensive, sturdy materials to create huge structures (and huge fun), he developed the idea into a colorful prototyping toy for makers of all ages. From moving catapults and ferris wheels to giant, ceiling-scraping tetrahedral pyramids and geodesic domes, the growing Strawbees community continues to find remarkable ways to use the humble drinking straw.
Together with hundreds of backers, artist Caledonia Curry, a.k.a. Swoon, founded a ceramics workshop in the basement of an abandoned church in North Braddock, Pennsylvania. The creative space now employs young adults from the community and teaches them to make colorful roofing tiles, which are being used to make critical repairs to the church's roof — transforming the building into a communal work of art.
A window display celebrating the Kickstarter collaboration — and the collaborations between creators and backers that made these projects possible in the first place — will be up at the New Museum Store through May 15. Stop by the store to check out the collection in person, or head over to their website to shop online.