The first of desigNYC’s 2012 Recharging Communities Built Environment Collaborative Projects Realized
A Prototype of a Modern Day Pushcart by DUB-studios Unveiled at DayLife Festival on the Lower East Side
Photo: Honor McGee
New York, NY—June 6, 2012, desigNYC announces of the realization of its first 2012 built environment project – DayLife – the result of a collaboration between the Lower East Side Business Improvement District (LES BID) and DUB-studios with students from SVA (School of Visual Arts) Impact! Design for Social Change program.
DayLife, which took place on Sunday, June 3, was designed to draw foot traffic to the shopping district and counter the perception that LES only offers nightlife. Three blocks on Orchard Street were transformed into a festival-like, urban backyard featuring LES vendors, music, a skateboard ramp, as well as various play areas and fitness classes. “DayLife was a transformative event for the neighborhood,” says Bob Zuckerman, executive director of the LES BID. “For the first time in decades, thousands of people came to Orchard Street, enlivening the street while also supporting our local merchants and restaurants, and help to return Orchard Street to its glory days.”
Originally conceived and branded by students in SVA’s Impact! program as part of last summer’s intensive class, DayLife aims to bring back a sense of community, engage local vendors and residents into “not just another street event.” The project was later paired, as part of desigNYC’s Recharging Communities 2012 selection, with DUB studios, who was tasked to create a container that would serve as street furniture and allow LES merchants to vend their wares at Daylife. The container had to function both as storage, be easy-to-assemble, handle wear-and-tear, and include “plug-ins” for the display of merchandise. To that end, DUB studios designed a modern-day pushcart, reminiscent of those that were historically pushed through the hustle and bustle of the streets of the Lower East Side. The pushcarts contain everything from astro-turf that when rolled out on the street creates a backyard-like green surface for people to sit, play and relax, in addition to food, drinks, clothes, and other items for sale.
“Our studio does a lot of speculative urban design and planning projects where we imagine new ways to use existing cities,” says Michael Piper, founding principal of DUB studios. “desigNYC gave our collaboration with the LES BID the opportunity to put this kind of speculative thinking into action.” Within a relatively tight budget and timeframe, Piper designed and hand-built 10 industrial looking wooden carts with the aid of Alexander Warchman, one of his architecture students at Harvard GSD. The carts are made of modular components that are easily assembled, moved, stacked, and can turn into 30 vendor stations on wheels. The carts are 12 square feet when closed and fold out to 120 square feet when unfolded, the equivalent of a parking spot. The pushcarts offer a smart, cost-effective solution to city street fair, and will be reused in the fall for subsequent events on Orchard Street. View an animation of the pushcart designed by DUB-studios.
“desigNYC is proud to have fostered this relationship with the LES BID, a type of organization that enables us to achieve a greater impact in the city. We are eager to collaborate with more BIDs in the future and help them devise innovative, design-driven place-making solutions to better reflect and serve their communities,” says Laetitia Wolff, executive director of desigNYC.
About desigNYC The mission of desigNYC, a 501(c)(3) organization, is to improve the lives of New Yorkers through the power of design. Grassroots in nature, desigNYC is a platform that demonstrates the value of design through action by connecting talented designers interested in civic engagement with extraordinary nonprofits serving the public good. The organization’s focus is local, its approach multi-disciplinary, its process is participatory and community-centric.
About DUB-studios DUB-studios is a multi-disciplinary design practice with offices in LA and NYC, headed by founding principals Michael Piper, Natalya Kashper and Gabriel Sandoval. The studio works on projects ranging in scope from furniture to towers and regardless of scale, much like the way music producers dub music, the studio’s work is about “providing a new take on an old track.” Piper teaches graduate level architecture and urban design classes. He earned a BS in Architecture from Georgia Tech and a Masters in Architecture from Harvard’s GSD.
About the Lower East Side Business Improvement District Established in 1992, the Lower East Side Business Improvement District is a non-profit economic development organization created to revitalize the Orchard Street Shopping District while preserving its unique and diverse character. Today, the LES BID is a community of over 500 merchants and property owners managed by a Board of Directors and consisting of local merchants, property owners, residents and elected officials. The LES BID promotes the local businesses, develops events, and provides community beautification services.