Design Potential Of Junk


The Storefront for Art and Architecture has occupied the same corner location in NYC since 1982. As you might assume, the office and basement have accumulated a mass of construction and promotion materials from exhibitions and programs over the years. Beginning in March of 2020, the space closed during the first wave of COVID-19 spread in the city. It reopened in late-November with a show called Re-Source that’s part Marie Kondo housecleaning meets mystery box design challenge.

Twenty six architects and designers who had worked with Storefront in the past were invited to rummage through the storage area and grab any interesting materials. Among the offering were piles of used wood and metal, cast-off electronics, boxes of past exhibition flyers and catalogs, unknown cables and leftover paint, glue and cleaning supplies. It was then up to them to create something interesting and unexpected out their haul.

The results span from functional products to purely aesthetic art objects. Some are beautifully simple like Studio Cadena’s Wired Lamp that repurposes speaker cable wrapped around a frame to create a light shade that emits a coppery-glow. At the other end of the spectrum is Test Pattern by PARC Office. This assemblage of half a dozen resuscitated video monitors, cameras and dvd players looks like a prop straight out of Max Headroom. It took them no less than 11 firmware updates to get the security cameras working again. While just plain cool looking, the piece aims to make a point about the vast amount of e-waste humans increasingly generate each year.

The photo gallery below is reflective of our visit to the space. It’s worth spending some time on the Re-Source exhibition mini-site as Storefront have meticulously documented each project with materials used and included process photos.

Photos and Text: Dave Pinter