July 24, 2024

“As creatives, how can we bring people together and build bridges?”

Undergraduate and graduate students in the School of Design were invited to consider this question as part of the 2024 NYCxDESIGN Student Showcase held at the Fashion Institute of Technology on May 16. The theme of this year’s showcase was “division” and the submitted projects spanned a range of concepts and fields. 

Cameron Brentlinger, BID ’24, developed dignified, nature-based memorials and ceremonies for unidentified or unclaimed bodies, while Micayla Brewer, BFA Interior Design ’24, used color and light to create an experiential journey to healing for young women living and working in New York City.

Community Gravestone by Cameron Brentlinger, BID ’24
Community Gravestone by Cameron Brentlinger, BID ’24
Veil: Daughters of Light by Micayla Brewer, BFA Interior Design ’24
Veil: Daughters of Light by Micayla Brewer, BFA Interior Design ’24

The showcase helped kick off this year’s NYCxDESIGN festival, which took place between May 16 and May 23, and featured various events celebrating design across the city. Pratt students and faculty participated in numerous workshops, talks, and exhibitions that highlighted their creative engagement with complex issues. 

At the International Contemporary Furniture Fair held in the Javits Convention Center in Manhattan, Pratt students displayed individual and team projects. 

Through a collaboration with Honda and Core 77, students imagined what the future of mobility might look like beyond traditional vehicles and teams engaged in futuristic storytelling, with the help of artificial intelligence, to envision technological utopias. For example, Andrew Yunhao Hua, BID ’24, Steven Siyu Xiao, BID ’24, Hongji Li, BID ’25, and Lyla Nam, BID ’24, imagined a character traveling on a two-month space odyssey with the help of an AI companion. Another team consisting of Ashanti Hampton, MID ’25, Darren Hsieh, BID ’24, Hazel Hwang, BFA Communications Design ’24, Shuhao Xuanyuan, BID ’24, imagined a future in which much of our social interactions take place through immersive technologies. 

Pratt student working with ChatGPT to imagine futuristic technologies for the Honda and Core 77 collaboration
Pratt student working with ChatGPT to imagine futuristic technologies for the Honda and Core 77 collaboration

Madeline Isakson, production labs technician and STEP instructor at the School of Design, exhibited her work in two different contexts during NYCxDESIGN. She showcased a lighting design as part of the IRL Gallery’s Night Lights show and for The Crossroads exhibition at ICFF she displayed sculptures and participated in a panel discussion.

Chair and lighting designs by Madeline Isakson (photo by Erik Henderson)

Chairperson of Industrial Design Ignacio Urbina Polo and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Industrial Design Tim Richartz curated an exhibit as part of the WantedDesign space at ICFF. The “Furniture: Designed and fabricated pieces with stories to tell” exhibit featured 12 industrial students from Richartz’ “Senior Design Studio Furniture” class who created tables, chairs, benches, and more.

The “Furniture: Designed and fabricated pieces with stories to tell" exhibit
The “Furniture: Designed and fabricated pieces with stories to tell” exhibit

Also on display at ICFF was the work of 15 Pratt students who participated in a Kikkerland Design Challenge for Barnes & Noble, designing tools and accessories to enhance the reading experience of book lovers. Students created prototypes for book stands, hourglasses, bookmarks, coasters, and more. A winning design will be sold in Barnes & Noble retail locations nationwide.

Pratt student designs for the 2024 Kikkerland Design Challenge 
Pratt student designs for the 2024 Kikkerland Design Challenge 

Pratt faculty also presented their work during NYCxDESIGN. School of Design Dean Anita Cooney spoke on a panel called “The Role of Education in the Future of Design,” while Assistant Professor of Interior Design Irina Schneid participated on a panel about design community and building networks.

Numerous Pratt faculty and alumni, as well as other New York designers, participated in the NYCxDESIGN SOUVENIR exhibition curated by Boym Partners, the design firm of Constantin Boym, professor of industrial design, and Laurene Leon Boym, MID ’93. The exhibition featured 50 fresh takes on a new kind of New York City souvenir, with items including wall art, pins, charms, t-shirts, and children’s games. 

NYC souvenir designs by Pratt alumni and other designers (from left to right) Laurene Leon Boym, MID ’93; Antenna Design; Harry Allen, MID ’92
NYC souvenir designs by Pratt alumni and other designers (from left to right) Laurene Leon Boym, MID ’93; Antenna Design; Harry Allen, MID ’92

Through collaborations, exhibitions, and conversations, 2024 NYCxDESIGN showed how emerging and established designers are transforming their fields and the world we share.

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