In early June of 2021, groups of students from design programs around the world convened virtually once again for the WantedDesign Online Schools Workshop. Organized as a design sprint rather than a competition, students from different schools are paired up to tackle a central issue using unique design solutions.
This year's Schools Workshop theme was "Neo-Nature: Rethinking Our Relationship with Nature in the Urban Context," led by Art Center College of Design faculty members Dan Gottlieb and Michael Neumayr (you can read Core77's interview with them about the idea for the workshop here!). For the "Neo-Nature" theme, students in this workshop were asked to consider issues of sustainability through the exploration and design of: public furnishings, objects, interactive installations, play equipment and experiences that have us rethinking our fragile relationship with nature in the urban context.
Teams were tasked with creating design interventions for three particular sites within New York City:
UNDER THE K Under the K Bridge park is a brand new NYC park with lots of potential. Opened to the public in May, Under the K starts at the Brooklyn side base of the Kosciuszko Bridge and ends at the south bank of Newtown Creek – the site of the country's first oil refinery built in the 19th century and currently designated as a federal Superfund clean up site.
GOWANUS The Gowanus Canal located further south in Brooklyn has been the location of heavy industry businesses since the early 19th century. Also a federal Superfund site, the neighborhoods around the canal have recently been rezoned to allow for more residential development. The dredging of the canal is planned for completion in 2032.
EAST RIVER PARK The East River Park wraps around the lower east end of the island of Manhattan and borders the tidal estuary known as the East River. After the devastation to the Lower East Side caused by flooding from Hurricane Sandy the city presented a plan to save the park by raising it 8 feet to beat rising flood waters caused by climate change-induced extreme weather. Known for its sweeping views of Brooklyn the park also hosts the community composting yard run by the Lower East Side Ecology Center.
This year's Design Schools Workshop Jury included (from left, clockwise) Allan Chochinov, Editor-at-Large of Core77 and Founding Chair of SVA NYC, MFA Products of Design, Anishka Clarke, Principal of Ishka Designs, John Edelman, Executive Chairman of Crypton Fabrics and Co-Founder, Fourth & Pride vodka, Angie Lee, Partner, Design Director-Interiors of FXCollaborative Architects LLP and President-Elect of IIDA, AIA IIDA New York Chapter, Jean-Jacques L'henaff, Leader at Lixil Global Design, Americas, and Roxane Spears, Vice President Sustainability North America for Tarkett.
Sponsors and Mentors
The 2021 WantedDesign Schools Workshop is presented with the support of Tarkett, the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), NYCxDESIGN and media partner Core77.