Posts Tagged ‘communal design


Improv Art is the conceptual idea that perpetuates the artistic and innovative design creations of Jason Eppink. Many of his projects including his Take A Seat campaign involve the New York City subway station as that is his main mode of transportation. Because he is always in the subway stations, he seeks to make the experience of waiting, boarding and passing through a subway station more enjoyable for the average American. Eppinks projects in general are focused around the concept of community involvement and bettermen; he seeks to create Universal Design that all experience and appreciate.

-organization: Jason Eppink is a communal designer and artist who’s goal is to design for the needs and appreciation of ALL rather then SOME. Eppink’s work is featured on Investing in Social Art Projects art blog.

-procedures He is spontaneous in nature who is inspired on a whim and acts on those points of inspiration instantly. Most of his designs have a ‘prankster’ attitude about them as well.

-the people involved Jason Eppink is the designer who creates universal design that is meant for all to utilize. To put the “take a seat” project in context the videos below are portrayal of several of this other projects.

-the situation within which it takes place Eppink’s designs happen many times in subway stations or just in natural city settings as well.


social design: the main focus of this design project is to provide seating/comfort to a wider audience range at any given time (to lessen the physical stress of traveling via subway)

community design: design that will benefit the entirety of the New York subway riding community regardless of age and socioeconomic status. (everyone can appreciate the comfort of sitting over standing for a long period of time)

innovative design: creative design, unique, while also aimed at solving a widely felt problem

environmental design: environmentally friendly design because it takes someone’s trash that would have been left to decay in the streets or to rot in the landfill and recycles it by reassigning its purpose/situation.


Previously, we identified several design negotiations in Eppink’s Take a Seat project

*Finalized Design Negotiations List as of November 17th:*

Comfort vs. Clutter- comfort of people in subway station vs chairs being clunky and taking up limited/valuable space

**REASSESSMENT as of November 20th: too broad/clutter is not really a pertinent issue just not aesthetically pleasing whereas some of the other negotiations are more pertinent in the safety/life of the person experiencing the subway space.

Flow of traffic vs. increase of sitting spaces- chairs limiting walkways for the cause of creating sitting spaces

**REASSESSMENT as of November 20th: too broad again-need a narrow and pertinent negotiation to further analyze.

Individual (introverted) experience vs. group (extroverted) experience- standing (annoyed, waiting for a bus, anxious, nervous, stressed) is more of an introverted experience while sitting and congregating comfortably is more of a group event in which dialogue is more likely to occur (breaks the tension/ice and is a stress reliever)

**REASSESSMENT as of November 20th: an abstract concept whose pertinence is diluted by more obvious design negotiations-possibly a final decicion

Timeliness vs. Friendliness- being on time for destination/job-being prompt and on time vs. sitting, relaxing, losing track of time, conversating

**REASSESSMENT as of November 20th: WE LIKE this one because it makes the abstract idea of the individual vs. group experience more tangible and easier to grasp. Standing and being frustrated allows people to think individually while also enabling them to complete the task that they set out to do in a timely manner where as sitting and being comfortable opens up dialogue and friendliness that could cause a detour from the original time itinerary.

Comfort vs. Safety- comfort of sitting vs. hazardous clunky objects in subway space

**REASSESSMENT as of November 20th: WE LIKE this concept because many of the previous concept related to this concept at their core, also it is referred to in the video posted on our initial site (it is listed below) as many people protested this design for safety measures-definately a FINAL

After a series of debates, trying to determine what would be the best and most important negotiation to mention, we concluded that the negotiations timeliness vs. friendliness as well as comfort vs. safety are the main points.

::FINAL Negotiation BreakDowns as of November 23rd::

TIMELINESS vs. FRIENDLINESS: this is the major design negotiation because people are in subway stations for timely and efficient purposes-to go from point A to point B in the most efficient way possible.The environment of standing and waiting passengers helps to perpetuate this timeliness. This chair project changes the level of time efficiency as people get more comfortable in the chairs and become increasingly more friendly with one another-as people talk more and become more friendly, the efficiency of the subway station changes. (people lose track of time in their comfortable state and negotiate their timeliness for their comfort-enables distraction)

COMFORT vs. SAFETY: Again the concept of comfort is key in these design negotiations as implementing a seating system is meant for the sole purpose of lessening the load of the people waiting in the subway stations. However, this argument is based on the fact that having extra chairs in the already small and limited space of an underground subway system is hazardous to people’s safety within the subway situation.

Jason Eppink Video Interview of Take a Seat (design negotiation reference)


Accumulative Design

10, نوفمبر 2010

The idea of accumulative design is that individual additions and informal gatherings create a fabric of input that can then be viewed as a single design instead of many individual parts. Even if these parts are dissimilar, their grouping can be seen as signifying a perhaps ambiguous and nameless agency. This concept arrived from stripping down design understanding to two basic qualities that seem to be examined in design: what is the artifact and what does it respond to? Accumulative developments are the direct embodiment of a common drive spurned in response to some event. If design isn’t being judged on its form, it is more than likely being judged for its responsiveness. It’s usually assumed that if the design does not work it will fail and cease to be used or exist, so the continued or repeated existence of a thing must mean that on some level it is doing something right.

Urban Slums

The past 50 years has seen a drastic influx of people to urban centers from rural areas, and in many developing countries this means that infrastructure development cannot keep up with the demand thereof. The result is areas of self-developed residences at fringe areas of major urban cities. This means that basic infrastructure, such electricity or sewage, is improvised, stolen, or simply not present in these areas. The living conditions are only as good as the inhabitants are able to maintain within their already limited means which often drives people toward opportunism and desperation. Cut throat attitudes combined with limited resources lead to many slums becoming enclaves of crime and crippling poverty with scant hope for escape or upward mobility. For many, these slums became an unsurpassable web between them the city proper.

However, despite their many obvious problems and often bottomless-pit nature, the thing that urban slums do right is provide housing to poor, itinerant people near the areas they may work or desire to work. The common juxtaposition of slums next to more affluent and “properly” developed urban areas is, until recent efforts, not a matter of the city proper’s expansion into the areas of the slums, but the slums’ development near these centers as a necessity to maintain close proximity between the working-class slum dwellers and the establishments where they can find employment. Another result of this limited mobility is that individual slums themselves form, for better or worse, distinct cultures of their own.

While slums’ informality may cause an infrastructural headache, it also provides a fluidity and extemporaneity that allows them to respond almost instantaneously or reflexively to new pressures and stimulus presented them. This lack of rigidity or plan allows them to negotiate the gaps between supply and demand, concept and production, production and availability, and even adaptation and replacement seemingly instantaneously. In a lot of ways, the fluid nature of slums is echoed in capital-D Design’s contemporary drive to achieve the same level of impromptuity and customability in product design and deliverance. Additionally, the generalized understanding of slum nature also allows for the boundaries of privacy, permanence, definitiveness, and ownership to be blurred as slum populations fluctuate, interact, and adapt to challenges and opportunities that arise within their hectic frame of existence.

Unsurprisingly, the density of a slum then depends on both the existing boundaries its expansion might face and of course the demand for residence within the area. These boundaries are often the city on one side and geography on the other. Sometimes the city-side boundary may not even be the city itself, but a direct inlet to the city. Such is the case in the favelas of Rocinha and Vidigal in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

In some rare cases the boundary might be the city all around where the slum acted as infill to unused land, but in the amazing case of the Kowloon Walled City the boundaries were actually political. This lead to sporadic development vertically instead of horizontally, resulting in block of individual dwellings that appears to be one collected whole.

Interestingly enough, this interrupted uniformity in vertical construction is also echoed in contemporary design. Namely, in the explorations of “erosion” and “disappearance” in buildings by OMA and Herzog & de Meuron.

“Fun” links for slums:

Google Maps:
Rocinha / Vidigal, Rio de Janeiro
Kowloon Walled City, Hong Kong
Kibera, Nairobi
Dharavi, Mumbai

Favela Chic
Life in Rocinha
Epic Kowloon Walled City Thread

Makeshift Memorials<!–

Even on a smaller scale, accumulation can still create solid fabrics of input.

Post walls and makeshift memorials to dead or missing persons also rely on an accumulative process, but instead of seeking a necessity these informal spaces act as a means of expression. The sites chosen aren’t necessarily pragmatic, but perhaps symbolic of or related to the person. In the case of missing people walls these spaces are often understood or explicitly labeled, but when disasters occur the line between proper and improper posting space disappears.

The patterns of development here are similar to patterns in slums in that they are both spontaneous and that both are limited by geography from their point of origin. Curbside memorials are limited by the street and posting walls are limited by the frame of the wall, or by the accessibility of the wall. The size of the spread depends on the amount of individual input and the input itself is never organized formally beyond having a starting point from which is spreads out like a dense brush, leaving only the very periphery with any sense of openness or breathing room. They are contiguous and in their sheer magnitude of information often achieve a sort of monumentality that amplifies their presence beyond just the messages they stand for. They negotiate the gaps between the living and the dead, those present and those missing, emotion and expression, hope and despair, and many others. Sometimes they even negotiate physical boundaries when missing people are actually found.

Granted, makeshift memorials are not always so public, and posting boards with similar fabric are not always about missing people.

Not-so-“fun” links for makeshift memorials:
Wall of Pain, Croatia
9/11 Missing Person Fliers
Beichuan Memorials
Some douchebag
Oakland Makeshift Memorials
Cheonan Memorial
Virginia Tech Memorials

post by: archdork (for reference)

Take a Seat

10, نوفمبر 2010

Take a Seat

Jason Eppink’s Creative Triumphs

Rooted in New York City subway station, Take a Seat is an ongoing social design project focused on the issue of available seating. By supplying used but perfectly functional chairs from dumpsters and piles of trash, the members of this project were able to reassign chair locations in areas of the station at which subway goers would usually have to stand for extended periods of time. The success of this project dwells on the fact that it makes someones trash another persons useful asset just by the simple idea of reassigning locations of the chairs.

notes: This design project was unique in the fact that it was more of a service then a design. Similar to Eppink’s project that we studied previously in 1060 (the portable wooden bridge built over a messy sidewalk leak), this design is meant for the purpose of serving others without much cost to either side. Specifically, Take A Seat takes used and disposed of chairs and assigns them to a new location and purpose for which they will be adopted and loved which is an awesome alternative to letting it end up in the landfills or to rot as pollution. Putting these used chairs in subway stations is a social design from which all can benefit.


social design, community design, innovative design, environmental design


Usability of chairs vs Aesthetics of chairs, Effective increase of sitting spaces vs. Clutter/hazardous, Spontaneous chair bringing (temporal chairs) vs issue of stealing and crime arising from chair mobility, desire for more seating vs surplus of seating (is there a cap on the number of chairs? who will enforce it?)

REWORKED Negotiations:

Comfort vs. Clutter

Flow of traffic vs. increase of sitting spaces

Individual (introverted) experience vs. group (extroverted) experience

Timeliness vs. Friendliness

Comfort vs. Safety

Inner-City Arts and Grassroots

10, نوفمبر 2010
Group Members: Hilary Yeganegi, Andreas Nilsson, John Walker, Sarah Lashinsky

Inner-City Art    

Inner-City Arts    

Inner-City Arts describes itself on it’s website as “an oasis of learning, achievement and creativity for underserved children in the heart of Skid Row”.  The Los Angeles arts education program is a haven for local children and youth, and offers them with every amenity to submerge themselves in studio life.  Professional teaching artists provide hands-on instruction in well-equipped studios.  ICA’s campus is the ideal venue for creation.  Architect Michael Maltzan repurposed an abandoned garage, and outfitted it with simple, geometrical design.  The workspaces manage to accommodate lots of students, yet are still intimate. To kids who may have come to believe that “dreams are for other children”, ICA may be the perfect micro-city in a rough-and-tumble neightborhood.    




Architect and Students    

Architect and Business Owners    

Architect and Teachers    

Students and Teachers    

Why did we choose this?    

Inner-City Arts caught our eye when we were browsing around MoMA’s website for their Small Scale, Big Change project.  The campus is so beautiful we were intrigued to discover that it is actually in skid row.  In the end, we’re happy to give this project any exposure; it seems that Inner-City Arts does a lot of good.

Taxonomic Categories    

Charitable Design, Urban Design, Urban Integration, Community-Based Design




Notes is an organization that promotes social changes by endorsing other smaller organizations by offering them money to fulfill their goals. The organization offers an average of $10,000 a year for each organization. Basically the website is there to promote the creation of grassroots organizations and to get them started.    


Donors and the website    

Donors and Grassroots organizations    

The Website and Grassroots organizations    

Grassroots organizations and society    

Grassroots organizations and their cause    

Why did we choose this? provides money for grassroots organizations that are trying to start a social change, but might not have enough resources to become a fully started organization. Many grassroots organizations have trouble starting up because they are being funded by only a couple of people so usually there is a lack of resources and have trouble spreading their cause. So helps these grassroots organizations spread their cause by funding them.    

Taxonomic Categories    

Societal Design, Communal Design, Economic Design, Charitable Design


Communal Design

10, نوفمبر 2010

Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef

Temporary display at Smithsonian.

The project began with two sisters six years ago in a Los Angeles living room; over the years, it has spread to engage a global community–the result: a gigantic crocheted coral reef  and  perhaps the largest community art project in the world.  The project was meant as a “testimony to the disappearing wonders of the marine world”, namely  the Great Barrier Reef located along the coast of Queensland, Australia.  The crocheted coral reef’s design displays communal practice rooted in art, craftsmanship,  science, and mathematics.

Though this process differs greatly from the natural growth of coral reefs, a communal design model unites the natural and manufactured.  A coral reef cannot be accurately quantified as a singularity, it is a complex system comprised of many living organisms growing, living, building  one-on-another.  Similarly, both in implication and actuality, this project exemplifies  a communal success–diverse individuals united by common work.

Ted Talk coral reef on Youtube.

Taxonomic categories:

Biological design, environment, ecological design, communal design, communal expression, evolutionary design.


Living space vs. Environment, Artificial vs. Natural, Art vs. Science, Problem solving vs. Problem emphasis.


A Living Display

Living display at Diesel Concept Store in Germany.

Artist Alex James Daw is a follower of the art of creating a living window display.  This unique process is the combination of art and advertising.  For the display, Daw slept for three days in a display window at the Diesel Concept Store in Germany.  Passer-bys could witness his day-to-day routines, which involved Daw working and living in an extremely small space.

The window installation would evolve with each observer, as people could write notes (such as their names and numbers) on the window.  The display would grow, and even after Daw returned to his orginal living style, reactions of passer-bys would remain on the window.  It shows how a community can engage with the orginal artist’s piece.  Though the original display lasted for only three days, the “artistic results of [Daw’s] time spent” will remain.  The living display exemplifies the evolution and progress of art and community.

Taxonomic categories:

Communal design, advertising, evolutionary design, natural behavior, sustainability, temporal design.


Space vs. Behavior, Temporary vs. Permanence, Public vs. Private, Action vs. Observation, Individual vs. Community.