Hitting the road and checking out new places can be like taking a creativity pill. mookai’s Annick Bischoff travels to NYC pretty often and here are some of her favourite places to drink in design.
Let’s start with lunch.
One of my favorite places for lunchtime wandering is Chelsea Market on the West Side. It has got to be one of the most visually appealing shopping, eating and work complexes in the city. I was looking for the best way to describe the redesigned biscuit factory and came across this sentence on their website: “To walk through the Chelsea Market is to stroll through a sort of postindustrial theme park, carefully festooned with the detritus of a lost industrial culture, interspersed with food stores and restaurants.”
It’s the American Dream, reborn over and over, each time pressing a little part of itself into the geography of the space. You’ll see ghostly glimmers of it in the exposed metal pipes, the undulating floors, the jumble of disused ducts and the wall of portholes and old television sets at the famous 1913 building at 85, 10th Avenue. There’s very much a sense of the past cohabiting with the present and it’s like nothing else I’ve ever seen.
If you stop by for lunch, try the One Lucky Duck. Delicious!
Design Alert: Oh, did I mention that their logo is enough to make you drool?
Design firm Square 360 , faced the challenge of bringing all the fun and flavors of the Chelsea Market into a single logo. Their tagline was “Building Community Through Food” and their logo, a custom cow-shaped illustration collage does a great job of showcasing the modern with an old world feel.
Next Stop: The High Line
Need to work off that yummy -----? Take a stroll through The High Line.
If mookai ran an urban planning school, we’d take all our students to The High Line on a field trip. That place is magic! It’s the perfect example of a space that outlived its usefulness and that was then re-imagined and re-designed to bring joy to the community it serves.
The High Line used to be an above-ground rail line, first constructed in the 1930s. It went through various phases and eventually lost favour as more people began to drive and highway infrastructure improved. The High Line ran its last train (carrying a three carloads of frozen turkeys) in 1980.
From then on, it sat derelict, while local residents lobbied to turn it into a public space.
Here’s the best part: Instead of leaving the reconstruction of The High Line exclusively in the hands of stodgy old public officials, the state of New York holds an “Open Ideas Competition” and 720 teams from 36 countries submitted design proposals for the space.
The High Line opened to the public in 2009 and today you can walk (or jog) through some of the most dynamic neighbourhoods of NYC: the Meatpacking District, West Chelsea, and Hell’s Kitchen/Clinton. Many of the warehouses and factories along the way have been converted to art galleries, design studios, retailers, restaurants, museums, residences and markets. A designer’s paradise! Plus, The High Line is the only public park we can think of that has its own blog!
Annick is always looking for other fun, design-related places to visit in NYC. Do you have any suggestions?