loading video...

watch: iF Design explores 'power of place' with interdisciplinary panelists during NYCxDesign 2024

The Power of Place: Insights from NYCxDesign 2024 Live Panel

 

As NYCxDesign 2024 — New York’s annual design week — kicked off the city’s summer months, architects and designers gathered on the HARMAN rooftop for an iF Design-organized panel discussion. The talk centered on the theme ‘Power of Place’, where protagonists of the creative world discussed the value of interdisciplinary design to create places, atmospheres, and products that resonate with communities and individuals alike. These topics of inclusivity are key to iF Design and its annual awards, as it highlights innovative ideas, rewards pioneering designs, and reports leading trends back to the creative industry.

 

Moderated by Kat Barandy, designboom’s NYC editor, the interdisciplinary panelists included architect Pascale Sablan, audio designer Christian Schluender, and iF Design USA Managing Director Lisa Gralnek. It was backdropped by Midtown Manhattan, with the iconic Chrysler Building glimmering overhead — an apt location with New York being one of the world’s most important design hubs. Re-watch the live panel via the video above.

watch: iF Design explores 'power of place' with interdisciplinary panelists during NYCxDesign 2024images © iF Design and Jonathan Pilkington

 

 

Defining the ‘Sense of Place’

 

iF Design‘s discussion in New York kicked off with an exploration of what it means to create a ‘sense of place.’ ‘It’s more than just laying out a floor plan,’ starts moderator Kat Barandy, designboom’s NYC editor. ‘Perhaps it involves unique contributions from different disciplines at different scales — these could involve urban planning, sound and light, or furniture and materials.’

 

Christian Schluender, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Global Design at HARMAN International and Huemen Design, highlighted the multifaceted nature of designing spaces. ‘For us, creating a space is the full experience that we can create in multiple form factors that are personal or intimate, like on a headphone, or public when you’re in an event space like Madison Square Garden,’ he explains. Schluender emphasized that the goal of HARMAN — and its in-house design agency Huemen Design — is to craft experiences that are immersive and resonate deeply with users, whether in their homes, vehicles, or public venues.

watch: iF Design explores 'power of place' with interdisciplinary panelists during NYCxDesign 2024
creating a ‘sense of place’ goes beyond physical layouts, involving emotional and cultural dimensions

 

 

Architect and activist Pascale Sablan, CEO of Adjaye Associates‘ NY Studio and Global President of NOMA (National Organization of Minority Architects), shared her perspective on how architecture embodies identity and culture: ‘For me, the Power of Place is the architecturalizing of identity and culture.’ She underscored the importance of community engagement in the design process, noting that successful architecture reflects the diverse histories and aspirations of those who interact with it. ‘I think successful architecture, and what a powerful place could be, is one where everyone inside can see themselves reflected in the space that’s there,’ the architect adds.

watch: iF Design explores 'power of place' with interdisciplinary panelists during NYCxDesign 2024
panelists explore the balance between function and emotion, using design to connect people with culture

 

 

Balancing Functionality and Emotional Impact

 

The conversation shifted to the balance between a place’s functionality and its emotional impact. Moderator Kat Barandy recalled Sablan’s belief that architecture can be a vessel for advocacy and for teaching history, to tell the stories that are being forgotten. ‘This certainly blends functionality and emotion,’ explains Sablan. ‘It’s important to incorporate emotion into advocacy to help listeners empathize and understand.’

 

Sablan reflected on her experience with the African Burial Ground National Monument in New York City, where design served as a vessel for advocacy and historical education. ‘When we talk about the history of downtown Manhattan we could say it was literally, physically, spiritually, definitely built on the backs of Africans.’ The architect highlighted the project to illustrate how architecture can harness emotion, honoring and revealing the buried history.

watch: iF Design explores 'power of place' with interdisciplinary panelists during NYCxDesign 2024
Sablan defines architecture as a means to express culture, stressing the importance of community engagement

 

 

Lisa Gralnek, Managing Director of iF Design USA and Global Head of Sustainability and Impact, emphasized the role of interdisciplinary design in creating meaningful experiences. ‘In a very fast-moving world, in which we’re all disconnected more and more because of our tech… it’s important to ground ourselves in a place — and that place is a moment, the sensory experience of whatever it is,’ observed Gralnek. She highlighted how diverse design disciplines come together to craft holistic experiences that resonate on multiple levels.

watch: iF Design explores 'power of place' with interdisciplinary panelists during NYCxDesign 2024
Schluender highlights HARMAN’s immersive experiences in both personal and public spaces

 

 

The Role of Sound in Placemaking

 

Sound — which, together with light, are perhaps the most ethereal aspects of placemaking — was another focal point of the talk. Schluender elaborated on how HARMAN leverages sound to enhance the atmosphere of a place: ‘We use the word ‘atmosphere’ to explain technology and the audio all together as one… Our job is to present it as authentic as possible.’ Schluender explains how their technology adapts to different environments, from the intimate confines of a car to the expansive space of a concert hall, ensuring a tailored and immersive audio experience.

if-design-power-of-place-panel-new-york-designboom-06a

Sablan emphasizes the role of design in honoring historical narratives

 

Design for a sense of belonging

 

Addressing the importance of connecting with the people who occupy designed spaces, Sablan spoke about the disconnect between professional designers and the community. She cited the harmful legacy of infrastructure projects by Robert Moses, an urban planner and public official who was highly influential in shaping the New York metropolitan area in the early to mid-20th century, as an example of design that excludes and discriminates. The architect singled out one of Moses’ most controversial constructions, Jones Beach, which, although a state park, excludes access for ‘undesirables’ with its low overpasses designed to obstruct mass transit. ‘To me, that is a sense of architecture that was designed and executed to push these discriminatory ideas,’ she remarked, pointing out the systematic perpetuation of exclusion through design.

 

Gralnek echoed this sentiment, stressing the need for designers to consider both environmental and social inclusivity: ‘We have a responsibility to think further ahead about what we’re doing, who we’re including, and ergo also who we are excluding and what systems are being perpetuated both on the environmental and social side.’ Gralnek championed the idea that designers have the power and responsibility to create a more inclusive and sustainable world.

 

 

1/7
Gralnek underscores the importance of interdisciplinary design in creating sensory-rich experiences
Gralnek underscores the importance of interdisciplinary design in creating sensory-rich experiences
1
 
1
 
1
 
1
 
1
 
1
 

project info:

 

host: iF Design

moderator: Kat Barandy, designboom’s NYC editor

panelists: Pascale Sablan, CEO of Adjaye Associates‘ NY Studio and Global President of NOMA (National Organization of Minority Architects); Christian Schluender, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Global Design at HARMAN International and Huemen Design; and Lisa Gralnek, Managing Director of iF Design USA and Global Head of Sustainability and Impact

location: HARMAN / Huemen

address: 19 W. 44th Street, 18th floor rooftop

date: May 20th, 2024

 

 

iF International Forum Design GmbH is an active member of the international design community committed to excellence, objectivity, transparency and impact since 1953. Learn more at https://ifdesign.com

KEEP UP WITH OUR DAILY AND WEEKLY NEWSLETTERS
suscribe on designboom
- see sample
- see sample
suscribe on designboom

happening now! for over 50 years, florim ceramiche spa has created porcelain stoneware ceramic surfaces for all architecture, building industry and interior design needs – discover all about the brand’s new collections on designboom! 

PRODUCT LIBRARY

a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

designboom will always be there for you

milan, new york, beijing, tokyo,  since 1999
X
5