Launching Seen.Today at the peak of the first COVID wave of 2020 might not have been the best timing for a site dedicated to original photography, mainly from public events. While it was a thin content year, 2021 turned out better as the tally totals 1,128 photos published spread across 19 stories. NYCxDesign returned twice in the spring and fall for in-person independent shows and fairs, most all of which are featured here. Can’t lie I was a bit sad to not make it to DesignMiami in December, but it just seemed too risky.
There seemed to be no shortage of interesting local automotive events. Classic Car Club Manhattan was a pretty regular destination. CarPark also staged two great outdoor car shows, one in Brooklyn and the other on an elevated plaza in Lower Manhattan. Can’t wait to see what they come up with for 2022. There was also a few manufacturer events from Jaguar Land Rover, Nissan and Lincoln where we could get into the weeds documenting and analyzing the design of some upcoming models.
As Seen.Today moves forward in the next year, I hope to continue to keep it an open-ended visual forum for design and aesthetics. I’m sure COVID will persist in being a challenge, but those restrictions on travel might spark some new ideas for visual content to experiment with. As a sign off to 2021, here’s 10 favorite photos from the year in no particular order.
Photos and Text: Dave Pinter
After a two year gap, it was strangely comforting to be back at the Javits Convention Center in November for the postponed International Contemporary Furniture Fair and WantedDesign Manhattan. Pre-pandemic there were a few mile marker points of the year when I know I had to be there. The shows were smaller but there was still much to discover. Above lamps from Secto Design at ICFF.
The one and only drive program of 2021 was at Jaguar Land Rover’s US headquarters in NJ. The 2-door Defender 90 was high on my seat time list. I did end up burning a lot of that time shooting photos in an abandoned looking parking lot new Lake Welch. Still, it was just a fun to shoot and this launch edition came in a really smart techno-organic shade of silvery green.
The May 2021 edition of NYCxDesign was largely virtual except for a very few number of small in-person shows. One that took advantage of the situation the best was the Inside Out show in the courtyard of the Saint Marks Place residential development sales offices. The show focused on outdoor furniture and accessories displayed…outdoors. Above is the Memorial Bench by Evan Z. Crane that had some really juicy reflections.
The first of two NYC shows CarPark staged, this one held on a warm summer Saturday morning on two streets in Industry City, Brooklyn. Plenty of amazing vehicles were brought out but this Fiat X1/9 with mismatched wheels was an attention grabber.
Venturing into the dark, cavernous space of The Kitchen gallery to see Alan Ruiz’s Container and Contained exhibition was like stepping onto a set for a Blade Runner film. Ruiz constructed a series of metal and glass portals with razor sharp angles as a commentary on the development boom of the surrounding Chelsea gallery district area. The layered facades are meant to show the separation and isolation inherent in many of the new luxury living structures.
MOMA brought their entire vehicle collection out for this exhibition that offered a look at the impact the automobile has had on design, culture and the environment. Several of the vehicles were displayed in the sculpture garden throughout the summer including this 1973 Citroën DS 23 Sedan complimented by a Calder sculpture in the background.
Held inside the massive Duggal Greenhouse, a short walk from where Seen.Today is produced, the Nissan Z reveal was one of the biggest car launches of the year. The new Z is an honest design evolution that has just enough interest without succumbing to too much surface or detail entertainment. This photo was taken just after the car drove out with a nice 2 for one video image in the background.
Colony’s upstairs showroom on Canal St. is a favorite destination for design spotting. Here at Colony was the first show held in the space since the pandemic began. The show feature several new designers and studios added to Colony’s roster including Grain with these multi-use cork tables and seats.
CarPark’s most ambitious show so far had to be using the huge elevated plaza surrounding 28 Liberty in lower Manhattan. Every single one of the over 100 vehicles (some worth near a million dollars) had to be driven up a single set of ramps that spanned a ten step staircase. There were some nervous moments when this E30 Touring project from designer Khyzyl Saleem made its way up. This car is a pretty stunning example of creating a completely new vision while still retaining the essence of BMW’s design.
Venturing up to Greenwich, Connecticut on a warm fall day was a welcome break from the confines of NYC. Concours shows are generally overwhelming for any automotive enthusiast and this was no different. A common characteristic of why these vehicles are celebrated are beautiful shapes. The 60s Corvette Stingray is known for some exquisite forms and surfaces as is evident in the above photo. It is a trait contemporary car design desperately needs to rediscover.