As proud partners in the Sukkah City design competition, we've been delighted to witness the program grow from its beginning, to inspiration, and now into creation of the twelve winning designs. We announced the winners back in August, and construction of the twelve temporary structures is underway at this very moment in Brooklyn at the Gowanus Studio Space. On September 19th and 20th, an ephemeral village of the structures goes on view for the public in New York's Union Square, with one design chosen by New Yorkers to remain standing for the week of September 20.Sukkah City is in its inaugural year as a competition challenging designers to address the Sukkah, often thought of simply as a hut. That hut is a traditional shelter that serves as a symbol of the spirituality inherent in where the natural world meets the built world, in celebration of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. Entrants had some broad points of inspiration to work with in creating their interpretations of the Sukkah, as it serves as a symbol of the harvest and transience vs. permanence. As the Sukkah City site describes, it is an elemental space in which to "share meals, entertain, sleep, and rejoice."
Sticking closely to this elemental concept, the twelve winning designers went with basic, often natural materials: rattan, grass, wire, cardboard, hemp, and wooden slats. The resulting forms and seeds of inspiration vary widely among the winners, chosen by a panel of judges including Ron Arad, Steven Heller, Thom Mayne, and our own Allan Chochinov. Material was a popular starting point for many. Double layers of wood veneer curl away from each other in response to humidity (P.YGROS.C, by THEVERYMANY of Brooklyn), a giant log balances atop glass walls (Log, by Kyle May and Scott Abrahams, New York), and cardboard signs purchased from homeless serve as slats on a house frame (Sukkah of Signs, by Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello, Oakland, California).
Sukkah of Signs.
We won't really know until we can hang out in them this coming weekend, but we are intrigued by a few highlights. In Tension, by SO-IL in Brooklyn, stands out for its humility as a tented kit with crossbeam supports and netting stretched over, standing by its own tautness. The Shim Sukkah, by tinder, tinker of Idaho, appeals to our scrappy & resourceful side: it turns the modest shim into a building block. Also intriguing is Bittertang of Brooklyn's appeal to the senses with Blo Puf and its eucalyptus-perfumed interior. And the Star Cocoon, by Volkan Alkanoglu of Los Angeles, stands out as the most unique response form-wise, stepping away from nature's imperfections with a precise, curvaceous structure of bent cane tubes and rattan.
We're excited to experience the Sukkah village ourselves on September 19 and 20, and if you're in NYC, go check 'em out and see which you'd most like to "share meals, entertain, sleep, and rejoice in." Then vote for your favorite here.
Repetition Meets Difference, by Matthias Karch.
Single Thread, by Matter Practice.
Time/Timeless, by Peter Sagar.
Gathering, by Dale Suttle, So Sugita, and Ginna Nguyen.
Fractured Bubble, by Henry Grossman and Babak Bryan.