July 1, 2020

“X” Marks the Spot: Futureworks Makerspace at Brooklyn Army Terminal Brings an NYCxDESIGN Trophy to Life

Individual NYCxDESIGN trophies after a polish, before the holographic finishing treatment. 

The fifth annual NYCxDESIGN Awards looked much different this year, for more than just one reason. While Interior Design hosted and the International Contemporary Furniture Fair sponsored the event’s first virtual ceremony with everyone watching from their homes given the pandemic, a new trophy made its debut. Staying true to the show’s ethos of celebrating the best of local New York City design, the eye-catching “X” statues were produced in partnership with the Brooklyn Army Terminal by Futureworks Makerspace

Mini prototypes of the statue with the decided shape yet different finishes helped narrow the decision.

As Interior Design Editor in Chief Cindy Allen describes it, the Brooklyn Army Terminal is a “brutalistic beauty” of a building, located right on the Sunset Park waterfront in Brooklyn. A major hub for the U.S. army in World War II, the past decade has seen the BAT transform into a renowned manufacturing center that provides independent businesses with the tools and space that allows for growth and success. Futureworks Makerspace, one of the manufacturers that operates out of the BAT, made the custom-designed trophies for all winners possible. 

Starting with 6-inch-wide x 1-inch-think x 12-foot-long piece of 6061t6 aluminum, cut to 8.125-inch-long pieces, the CNC machine turns the slab into the specially designed “X”. 

“We can make anything you want to make here,” says Scott Van Campen, executive director and craftsman at Futureworks Makerspace, about the experimentation phase of creating the trophy. Since the “X” is the icon of the NYCxDESIGN awards, representing the intersection of all things design, Allen knew the trophy had to mirror that shape. Many mini prototypes were made, including some with machine etched patterns that gave the aluminum a three-dimensional look or dichroic film finishes, reflecting light in playful ways. 

The final NYCxDESIGN trophy. 

The final product is a solid yet holographic statue made from CNC machine-cut aluminum, polished to a mirror finish, plated in nickel, then re-polished before it is finally plated in iridescent zinc chromate. As Allen explains, each trophy was individually made because “we wanted something organic, something a little unique,” so each is not a perfect replica of the other. “There’s a rich quality when each one is its own thing,” she says, a point that exemplified by the finishing treatment allows unpredictable colors to move uniquely in the light. 

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