Posts tagged ‘Brooklyn’

3×3 with Ground Up Designers LLC.

Ground Up Designers is an interdisciplinary design studio based in Brooklyn, New York, founded by Lana Zellner [Architectural Designer], Kristen Svorka [Interior Designer], and Tayef Farrar [Multimedia-Graphic Designer] that offers design solutions incorporating architectural, interior and product design, in addition to print, web and multimedia graphics.


A screen shot from the Ground Up Designers website.

What do you design?
The name Ground Up Designers comes from our interest in working with small business owners looking for design consultation on everything “from the ground up”. Focusing on all aspects that go into designing a successful business, we provide clients with attractive, unique and fully functional spaces, as well as one-of-a-kind, comprehensive brand identities.  Being a small yet versatile design studio, the independent business owner is our ideal client; someone looking to open a retail store, café, or restaurant who wants one cohesive design package.

We also just completed and published a book titled Built & Branded, which focuses on two main categories of design: architectural/ interior design (the design of the built environment) and graphics/ print / web design (the design of the brand identity) and highlights some of our favorite Brooklyn-based businesses on their success in establishing a strong visual identity through the design of their space, a clever branding strategy, or both.


Built & Branded on display with other Ground Up merchandise at a recent Brooklyn event.

How do you design?
The three of us really enjoy and benefit from working together, so much of the design process is done as a joint collaboration.  Whereas most studios split projects between team members, we prefer to work as a group as much as possible.  Having trained in a variety of backgrounds allows each of us to bring new and different insight to a project, which we believe makes our work more well-rounded and successful than it would be otherwise.


Mix Match Lamp, one item in the upcoming Ground Up product line.

Why do you design?
We started Ground Up Designers because we realized the need for a design studio that can provide companies with full and comprehensive brand identities. When starting a business, most owners hire multiple professionals (an interior designer for the design of their space, a graphic designer for their logo and a web designer for their website) and this often results in lots of logistical headaches and a disjointed and unclear brand identity. Hiring one company to handle all aspects of the design ensures that the client will receive a complete and cohesive package. It also results in a fully satisfying design process for us, since we enjoy working on the entire scope of a project rather than just a small part. We’re control freaks. We can’t help it.

December 20’s daily design idea is be more like the G’s: identify ideal clients, find great collaborators, and rock your niche.

You can find, contact, and follow Ground Up Designers online!
Website: www.groundupdesigners.com
Blog: www.blog.groundupdesigners.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=575462506&sk=info#!/groundupdesigners
Twitter: www.twitter.com/GUpDesigners

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December 20, 2010 at 8:25 pm Leave a comment

Maps as gifts.

Some great ideas for holiday gifts, discovered via 60 Grit Beard, all by These Are Things:


Brooklyn Neighborhoods Map, 18×24, $50.


World Map / Aqua, 20×30, $75.


Letterpress World Map, 12×18, $25.


Europe Map / Yellow, 18×24, $25.

All posters by These Are Things.

December 9’s daily design idea is some information graphics also make for great art.

December 9, 2010 at 7:00 pm Leave a comment

Reclaiming public space.

As much as I love the High Line here in New York, it bums me out that it’s only open until 8pm during the winter. In my opinion, there also seem to be a lot of rules for what is fundamentally a recreational space… but I still very much love the park, and I don’t think I’ve broken any of the rules (though climbing stuff now suddenly sounds like fun).

The more I think about public space, the more I realize how much of it is actually semi-public. I have mixed feelings about this fact. What I don’t have mixed feelings about (because I really love all these examples) is the re-claiming or otherwise surprising usage of public space demonstrated below:


Aram Bartholl has started installing USB drives throughout New York City in a project called Dead Drops, part of his residency at Eyebeam. According to Bartholl’s blog, Dead Drops is “an anonymous, offline, peer to peer file-sharing network in public space.” Discovered via Laughing Squid. Both photos by Aram Bartholl.


A documentary by artist Marisa González highlights how, on Sundays, the plaza of Norman Foster‘s Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank Headquarters (and specifically the HSBC Hong Kong Bank) becomes filled with Filipina women, most of whom work long and underpaid hours as domestic helpers on other days of the week. In the words of the artist, “these women change the meaning of the commercial public space, where they transport their habits and traditions through leisure, rest, religion and culture. The luxury downtown city on Sundays becomes a domestic space where they meet, rest, eat, dance, play cards and pray.” Discovered via Pruned.


Closer to home, the BQE BYO (held as part of Park(ing) Day) transformed a whole slew of parking spaces at the intersection of Washington and Park Avenue in Brooklyn into a shared dining and party space. Kudos to the Design Trust for Public Space and their collaborators (Architecture for Humanity New York, Do:Tank Brooklyn, Myrtle Avenue Revitalization Project, and Transportation Alternative) for this great event. Before and after photos by Adam Brodowski.

December 1’s daily design idea is how public can public space be? How public should public space be? And, even more difficult yet, should all public space be equally public?

December 1, 2010 at 12:30 pm 4 comments

Ground Up breaks it down.

Three spunky women in Brooklyn recently started an interdisciplinary design studio called Ground Up Designers. They are Lana Zellner [Architectural Designer], Kristen Svorka [Interior Designer], and Tayef Farrar [Multimedia-Graphic Designer], and they have a genius way of breaking down their wide variety of services that really supports their process and overall style:

“Tags” identify specific design services, while “Tag Packages” allow you to mix and match them for your own project. It’s such a straightforward and client-friendly way of approaching project development and defining the scope of work, which I really admire.

Ground Up‘s ideal client is an independent business owner who needs “attractive, unique and fully functional spaces, as well as one-of-a-kind, comprehensive brand identities.” But as you can see above, they’ll tackle almost any (small-ish) project. I’m sold! Ladies – definitely let me know if you’re ever interested in doing a 3×3 Interview.

November 20’s daily design idea is descriptive labels are great, as long as they don’t stop you from being versatile.

November 20, 2010 at 10:22 am 1 comment

I impulse purchased my way into a 28,000 person art project.

Yesterday was the extended deadline to enter The Sketchbook Project, something I found out about a mere 50 minutes before it was too late (thanks to Twitter). Within those 50 minutes, I had read the overview and the rules, become increasingly intrigued and enthusiastic, and signed up.

So what is The Sketchbook Project?

“It’s like a concert tour, but with sketchbooks. Thousands of sketchbooks will be exhibited at galleries and museums as they make their way on tour across the country. After the tour, all sketchbooks will enter into the permanent collection of The Brooklyn Art Library, where they will be barcoded and available for the public to view. 28594 artists from 94 countries around the world are participating. The tour starts February, 2011.”

Which apparently is all I needed to know in order to spend $25 on an plain moleskin and a two-month time commitment… I even bought the shirt.

I really do think that this is a great idea, but I’m also fascinated by how quickly and fully I believed that it was a great idea. What does this experience say about my own behavior? Is running out of time my weak spot in consumer psychology? Is my sketchbooking artist side craving esteem? Has Threadless conditioned me into wanting any American Apparel cotton T-Shirt that comes my way?

In all seriousness, I am a big fan (and also now a participant) of The Sketchbook Project and, overall, of community-building opportunities to share creative work. I hope that if you’re in Portland, Brooklyn, Washington DC, Winter Park, Atlanta, Chicago, Austin, San Francisco, or Seattle in the first half of next year, you’ll go check out the tour.

November 16’s daily design idea is seek out creative ways to share your ideas with others. You might just end up with a cool shirt in the process.

November 16, 2010 at 4:25 pm 1 comment

Replay: Homeless Housing (Part 1)

On Friday, I attended “Homeless Housing: LA and NY” at New York’s Center for Architecture. Co-organized by the Museum of Modern Art because of the current ‘Small Scale, Big Change’ exhibit, the panel presented “innovative and provocative homeless housing solutions from New York and Los Angeles.” Here are the major highlights from the first two presenters, Rosanne Haggerty and Jonathan Kirschenfeld, who represented NY:

In many ways, Rosanne Haggerty is a huge role model of mine. She is the founder and President of Common Ground, “a pioneer in the development of supportive housing and other research-based practices that end homelessness.” With a “network of well designed, affordable apartments linked to the services people need to maintain their housing, restore their health, and regain their economic independence,” Common Ground “has enabled more than 4,000 individuals to overcome homelessness.” One of the most amazing parts of their model is that they strive to house the neediest individuals, often those who have been homeless longer than the average rate for Americans (30 days), rather than using a different metric of worthiness.

Jonathan Kirschenfeld, principal of Jonathan Kirschenfeld Architects in New York City, is one of the contributors to Common Ground’s network of well-designed supportive housing. Kirschenfeld candidly admitted that the physical restrictions of “leftover” sites offered for affordable housing projects are difficult, as are the overall financial limitations and the design guidelines that come with the various funding sources. But he also enthusiastically offered that these boundaries can lead to great design and valuable discoveries. For example, it turns out that Kalwall (“the most highly insulating, diffuse light-transmitting, structural composite sandwich panel technology in the world”) is energy efficient, spatially efficient, a great daylighting tool, and remarkably beautiful.


rendering of interior courtyard of St. Marks project, currently under construction (rendering by Jonathan Kirschenfeld Architects)


image of two facing Kalwall facades, part of the under construction St. Marks project by Jonathan Kirschenfeld Architects

November 14’s daily design idea is a quote from Kirschenfeld in regards to homelessness: “these are problems that can be solved with good design.”

November 14, 2010 at 10:15 am Leave a comment

Update on Prospect Park West bike lanes

Re-blogged from Steven can plan.
Written by Steven Vance.
Originally posted October 23, 2010.

“On Thursday, the day of the anti-bike lane rally and adjacent counter rally, the New York City Department of Transportation released preliminary “before and after” data about speeding and sidewalk riding, the two major concerns the neighborhood had about the street.

Instead of 46% of people riding bikes on Prospect Park West sidewalks, only 4% do. And only 11-23% exceed the speed limit, where before the new bike lane, 73-76% would. Download the document (PDF) via TransportationNation.

A commenter (BicyclesOnly, from NYC) weighs in:

One of the main complaints against the redesign is that it reduces the roadway from three lanes to two, which means that double parking (which is very common here) effectively reduces the roadway to one lane. At one lane, you get some congestion and delays. […]

But is that really so bad? The impetus behind this project was concerns for rampant motor vehicle speeding. Because this roadway at three lanes had excess capacity, more than half the vehicles can and routinely would exceed the speed limit, creating a barrier between park slope residents and their park. 90% of the Park Slope community lives, not on Prospect Park West, where this project was installed, but to the west.

So to be fair, I wouldn’t suggest that the project has had NO effect on residents. But from a safety and utility perspective, and looking at the entire community of people who use this corridor–not just the people who live on it–the trade offs clearly are worth it. That’s why the local Community Board endorsed this project. And it bears mention that the Community Board is hand-picked by the Borough President, who is the leading OPPONENT of the project. So the community review process was NOT rigged in favor of approval.


Photo showing bike lane construction in progress.”

>> October 23’s daily design idea is well-planned public space relies on understanding the stakeholders (and their alliances).

October 23, 2010 at 5:35 pm Leave a comment

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