October 30, 2020

New York Design Firms and Cultural Organizations Help the City Get Back on its Feet

Among the challenges presented, the COVID-19 pandemic has been rife with conflicting information. The nation’s fatality figure is flattening, yet the number continues to climb— at 200,000 as this issue went to press. Some states are reporting thousands of new cases daily, while others have had few to none. One state that has been in the latter camp is New York. As of late September, it had the fifth lowest positivity rate, at .9 percent (Texas, by comparison, was at 67.1), even with the city slowly coming back online. The Met, MoMA, and galleries have reopened, many schools are back in session, and indoor dining is scheduled to resume at 25 percent occupancy. Yet, with all that progress, there’s a sizeable lag in NY’s A&D community. According to data gathered from SANDOW sister brand ThinkLab, 57 percent of projects are on hold there, while nationwide, the figure is 33 percent. But if there’s one thing New Yorkers can handle—maybe even thrive on—it’s adversity. We’ve found, from our countless DesignTV segments, Zooms, and emails, that the creatives in our orbit are banding together more than ever, to cure the wounds from the coronavirus as well as systemic racism. Following is just the tip of the iceberg of what NY design firms and cultural organizations have been doing, often pro bono, to get the city—and the world—back on its feet.

The Public Art Fund had been working with sculptor Davina Semo on Reverberation since 2016, with it scheduled to open in Brooklyn Bridge Park last May. It was delayed slightly with the shutdown—and could not be a more fitting installation for the times. Hung from regularly sanitized galvanized-steel chains through April 18, 2021, the five 4-foot-long, patinated cast-bronze bells can be rung by park visitors, creating a “collective resonance together.” Photography by Nicholas, Knight, courtesy of Public Art Fund, NY.

In this series: 

Gensler and Rockwell Group Provide Innovative Outdoor Dining Solutions

Design Competitions Result in Sustainable Building Concepts

Artist in Residency Initiatives Give NYC’s Creators a Lift

3 Firms Foster Community With Projects in New York City

Civic Concepts Make Improvements to New York City Streets

Firms Develop Public Health Initiatives for Safer Hospitality Experiences

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