Conceived by Laetitia Wolff, "ExpoTENtial, 10 urban interventions x 10 design labs" is a multi-dimensional, curated platform/festival that seeks to foster NY design communityʼs engagement with the city by investigating ideas for a slower (yes), smarter, livelier, healthier urban experience. The labs focus on a selection of complex, pressing and sustainability-related challenges (food systems, climate change, transportation, energy efficiency, recycling, information overload, etc), using the city as a context for design and design as a specific point of view.
Design has been increasingly playing a role in shaping urban spaces. And although the City of New York has recently been pioneering more people-centric programs towards a better urban quality of life, the design community tends to live in a bubble and disciplinary silos, unaware of its potential role as a mediator between citizen and city government. ExpoTENtial brings designers to the table of serious conversations, pulling them from their typical client-driven M.O., and fully trusting the team brainstorming format. Beyond the traditional trade fair, this project is a unique opportunity to showcase design talent, putting them “at work” while providing an experiential and public framework to showcase NYC's creativity.
Ten teams of design thinkers and makers (see www.expotential.info for complete list) were invited to address and translate each of these issues into engaging, in-situ public works, under the guidance of a dedicated team of curators, including Amelia Black, Anna Cosentino, Elizabeth Jones, Erin Kissane, Jacqueline Khiu, Julie Lasky, Johanna Lenander, Sarah Lidgus, Shonquis Moreno, Leslie Wellott.
We expect these urban interventions to be a combination of “hardware” and “software,” viral and coordinated, educational and entertaining, functioning indoor/outdoor. They might combine 3D built and interactive installations, awareness campaigns, printed matter, as well as projections, smell/taste-based exhibits, and curated itineraries with maps, programs such as guided tours, and children’s hands-on activities.
With strategic alliances already developed with City agencies such as Parks & Recreation, DOITT, DOT and civic-related and design venues, including the Center for Architecture, the New Museum, Wanted Design at the Terminal Warehouse and the upcoming Urban Week Festival, we hope to have an immediate impact on the NY creative communities, while providing an engaging, design-specific interpretation on issues such as sexy topics such as organic recycling, food sustainability, urban health, and pollution. Three to four labs out of 10 will launch in this May, scheduled in synch with these different places, festivals and fairs.
I am looking for fundraising now for the labs which will launch in the Fall as well as for of the labs, entitled Par Corps. Public space has the potential to provide incidental exercise opportunities that encourage movement, promote health and engage people with both their environment and each other on an urban scale. Taking cues from practitioners of parkour, for whom the city is a vast playground, this lab explores ways in which to make this “playground” accessible to urbanites who aren’t hardcore athletes. We will suggest how, instead of relying solely on gym memberships and yoga studios to stay fit, we can build opportunities for movement into the fabric of the city, itself.
It will be exhibited at the Center for Architecture and in the community garden upfront, on LaGuardia Place, during the entire month of May, to coincide with ICFF as well as with FitCity6, a series of programs that have been developed in collaboration with the city of NY’s Department of Health, partly inspired by my 2005 project "ValueMeal" on design and obesity.
More labs will come this fall, and we need help for these as well...thank you and stay tuned… NOTE: Special thanks to SOFTlab for their help building the expotential site and this promo video.
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