Furnishing Utopia returns to NYCxDesign this May, 2023 to pose a foundational question to the design world: How can creative practices be more rooted in acts of care and empathy for the external world?
These works, ranging from habitats for birds or insects to public seating and rainwater collection, will be displayed alongside source materials, building instructions, and a curated selection of related books at Head Hi, which will serve as the hub for viewers to congregate and take part in engaging programming of talks and events. At a second outdoor location, select pieces will be installed in-situ at the Brooklyn Naval Cemetery Landscape, coupled with tours and activations.
Indoor exhibition: May 18th – June 3rd, 2023
146 Flushing ave, Brooklyn, NY︎︎︎
Outdoor exhibition: May 18th – June 3rd, 2023
Naval Cemetery Landscape
63 Williamsburg St W, Brooklyn, NY︎︎︎
︎︎︎May 20th (SAT) 1pm-3pm — Head Hi
Cross-Pollination in Design: Walking Tour
Join Head Hi, Ladies & Gentlemen Studio, and Naval Cemetery Landscape for an introduction to the PUBLIC ACCESS project and exhibition. Meet at Head Hi at 1pm where the gathering will begin and we'll guide the group to Naval Cemetery Landscape to see select projects on view there.
︎︎︎May 21st (SUN) — Naval Cemetery Landscape Urban Nature Gathering
Join us for a special urban bird watching tour at Naval Cemetery Landscape
Making-do activities with Studio Gorm, One Love Community, and LikeMindedObjects!
︎︎︎May 22nd (MON) 6:30-9pm — Head Hi
Discussion on Nordic Design for Care with Norwegian Designers + Reception
PUBLIC ACCESS is honored to invite forward-practicing Norwegian designers from Snøhetta, Vestre, Minus Furniture, and Hydro to be part of a group conversation about ways to design with deep sensitivity and care for resources, people, and the environment.
ABOUT PUBLIC ACCESS
PUBLIC ACCESS is an offshoot project stemmed from the evolutionary work from Furnishing Utopia. The vision of this project is to continue to explore utopian values in design. During the height of the pandemic there was a noticeable increase of people shifting their values and connecting with their local communities and their local environment on a deeper level. We want to galvanize the design community to consider ways design can serve to connect and be shared with people, communities, and the natural world.
PUBLIC ACCESS’ vision is to serve as an inclusive platform and grow the global network to further empower people to connect with one another and the external world driven by care and respect. All works can be discovered through our shared PUBLIC ACCESS map and open-source designs are free to be downloaded and be modified or re-interpreted based on one’s needs or their creative interpretation.
PUBLIC ACCESS MISSION:
- DESIGN THROUGH ACTS OF CARE:
Embracing a practice that's more deeply attuned to context, natural cycles, and reciprocity.
- DESIGN THROUGH DEMOCRATIZATION:
Reclaiming agency by adopting a set of shared values while decommoditizing, decentralizing, and open source design ideas.
- DESIGN THROUGH ITERATION:
Understanding ways to be adaptive and ideas can continuously evolve and shift over time
- DESIGN THROUGH COLLABORATION:
Connecting through shared-values, shared authorship, and abundance.
PUBLIC ACCESS MANIFESTO:
- Authorship over ownership
- Diversity over Homogenization
- Facilitating over Dictating
- Sharing over Commoditizing
- Connecting over Extracting
- Creating over Criticizing
In the depths of the pandemic, the world at large was forced to confront the reality that was re-forming before its eyes. As past patterns were uprooted, society’s collective intentions were called into question and the design world asked: what role was design serving in shaping the world?
The group drew inspiration from the communal values of the Shakers as well as the counter-cultural DIY movement of the 60’s and 70’s - The Whole Earth Catalog, Enzo Mari's Autoprogettazione, Victor Papanek’s Nomadic Furniture, Ken Isaacs’ Living Structures, etc. These past examples represented ideas for democratization of design that Furnishing Utopia aims to rekindle and expand upon.
The resulting work, Public Access, is an evolving array of offerings designed and built in-situ— some sharing community resources, some connecting with nature, others igniting a sense of wonderment, or simply giving a resting place for contemplation. All respond to their unique locations with an invitation for the public to engage freely.
This inaugural collection of 35 works by 37 designers, from 19 cities and 12 countries, represents seeds of ideas intended to spark new dialogues about the role design can play in the world. Steeped in conceptual breadth and an abundance of vernacular constructions, PUBLIC ACCESS offers a model for translocal design-thinking and craft - one that expands and aligns design practices towards a higher awareness and deeper engagement with one's surrounding. In this, Furnishing Utopia hopes to de-commoditize the act of design in favor of provoking a renewed spirit of accessibility and care.
PUBLIC ACCESS is curated by Jean Lee of Ladies & Gentlemen Studio.
Additional support for PUBLIC ACCESS is provided by the Norwegian Consulate General New York and Vestre.
With their support, we’re honored to include Norwegian designers, Vera & Kyte, Minus Furniture, Studio Sløyd, Kaja Dahl, and Vestre.
A growing compilation of collected manifestos and guiding principles used as a source of reference and inspiration for the PUBLIC ACCESS community. View the extensive collection on our Resources Page.