Last May New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn announced a new initiative, NYC X Design, to promote New York’s design community, an economic sector that includes more than 40,000 designers of various disciplines, according to official figures. As an outgrowth of NYC X Design, today the Department of Design and Construction (DDC) launched a new pilot project called Built/NYC, which provides $400,000 in capital funding for custom furniture, lighting, or textile designs in up to 20 city building projects. Council Speaker Quinn’s office provided the funding for the project, and at a press conference today held at the NoHo design store, The Future Perfect, Speaker Quinn argued that the initiative would support both local designers and local manufacturers and help maintain a diverse economy. Interested designers can respond to an new RFQ, which would place them on a pre-qualified list to be considered for custom pieces for projects like new libraries, community centers, or fire houses (architects for the building projects sit on the selection committee).
According to Victoria Milne, Director of creative services for DDC, designers will retain copyright to the designs, allowing them to potentially sell their objects to other municipalities or to bring them to market through a manufacturer. Industrial and interior designer Harry Allen praised the program for giving opportunities to local designers. He said that New York is “an amazing creative city, but also a hard city.” Built/NYC will serve as a new way for industrial, lighting, and textile designers to break into public work. Quinn demonstrated her love of design by complimenting Allen on his slip-on Converse Jack Purcell shoes and she gushed about the wares on display at the The Future Perfect. She warned the assembled reporters to be careful in the store. “If you break it, you buy it,” she joked.