The 10th year of NYCxDesign, an annual festival showcasing design across New York City, was held from May 10 to 20. It included several events featuring the creativity of the Pratt community.

Amid the bustle of crowds and costumed characters, recent Times Square visitors could step inside a colorful inflatable structure that provided a moment of pause as well as a drop-off site for film plastics. In New York, this ubiquitous material that’s in everything from grocery bags to shipping envelopes cannot be curbside recycled and has to be collected in specific bins. “Pop Up/Drop Off,” based on a design developed by Pratt Institute students, was aimed at providing a collection point that also heightens awareness of the global film plastic waste crisis.

Students Hannah Bacsoka, Defne Çeltikçi, Ileana Hernandez, and Meera Ilahi worked on “Pop Up/Drop Off” in a fall 2021 undergraduate architecture studio led by Robert Lee Brackett III, adjunct associate professor of undergraduate architecture, and Duks Koschitz, professor of undergraduate architecture. This iteration for Design Pavilion, part of the 2022 NYCxDESIGN, was a collaboration between Pratt’s d.r.a. Lab (design research in architecture) and Pneuhaus.

Details of “Pop Up/Drop Off,” including the plastic film collection area

Details of “Pop Up/Drop Off,” including the plastic film collection area (photos by Jean Hartig)

On campus, Pratt students shared their design projects at the May 19 NYCxDESIGN Student Showcase Night, held in Higgins Hall. Themed on “Merry-Go-Round,” the annual event also included presentations by students from Cooper Union, FIT, Parsons, and SVA.

Interior design students are part of the NY11+Interior Design Student Exhibition that is on view in the South Tower Gallery Space at the Port Authority Midtown Bus Terminal through May 31. The show features students from leading design schools tackling current issues with the theme of “A Seat at the Table” concentrated on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Students and faculty with the Design for the Mind presentation
Maria Rybina, MID ’23, Dhruv Mishra, MID ’22, Adjunct Associate Professor Alex Schweder, and Ke Sun, MID ’23, with the ‘Design for the Mind’ presentation (photo by Katie Kwok)

At the May 15 to 17 International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) and WantedDesign Manhattan in the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan, interior design and industrial design students exhibited their work in a presentation called “Design for the Mind: Mental Health.” The booth was in the Schools Showcase which featured an international group of design schools. It highlighted the collaboration between Pratt’s School of Design and the New York chapter of the nonprofit National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)  which has helped people living with mental illness and their families for 40 years.

“NAMI-NYC is proud to be a part of Pratt’s ‘Design for the Mind’ project,” said Matt Kudish, executive director of NAMI-NYC. “Mental illness impacts all of us and we are encouraged to see our lived experience reflected in their designs and the world around us.”

“Bibliotherapy” by Jasper Zhang
“Bibliotherapy” by Jasper Zhang (photo by Katie Kwok)

During the semester, the students met with NAMI representatives for insight into their ideas. The 11 projects on view included objects to support daily actions, such as “MUN” by Dhruv Mishra where a voice-activated mirror can allow a partial view of faces to support people who may want to avoid their reflection, and a backpack with a stuffed rabbit by Ke Sun with ears that can be raised by a child to discreetly ask for support in social situations. “Bibliotherapy” by Jasper Zhang involves bookends that hold tissues to give space for engaging with emotional texts, while “VOL” by Maria Rybina is a garment with a high collar that offers privacy during remote conversations with personal support networks. Others are envisioned for shared spaces, such as a subway ceiling animation by Xiner Zhang, Yawen Zhang, and Ke Shi of peaceful moving clouds as a distraction for people whose social anxiety is heightened in crowds of strangers.

“Subway Ceiling Animation” by Xiner Zhang, Yawen Zhang, and Ke Shi and “MUN” by Dhruv Mishra
“Subway Ceiling Animation” by Xiner Zhang, Yawen Zhang, and Ke Shi and “MUN” by Dhruv Mishra (photo by Katie Kwok)
“VOL” by Maria Rybina
“VOL” by Maria Rybina (photo by Katie Kwok)

This year’s NYCxDESIGN Awards honored members of the Pratt community including Alexandra Barker, assistant chair of Graduate Architecture and Urban Design (GAUD), whose Barker Associates Architecture Office was the winner in the Kids’ Zone category for the City Kids Educational Center. The MNLA practice where Signe Nielsen, adjunct professor of undergraduate architecture, is a founding principal, was the winner of the Outdoor Space category with Heatherwick Studio for their work on Little Island.