New York City Manufacturers at the Brooklyn Navy Yard
By Rob Colvin / Published by Dwell
There are several reasons to visit the Brooklyn Navy Yard—a site with a fascinating history in ship building that dates back to 1806—and one of them is to witness the future of maker culture. A fitting complement to the yard's New Lab facility, an 84,000-square-foot space that hosts local manufacturers and deisgn innovators, a new exhibition in BLDG 92, "Making It in NYC: The New Era of Manufacturing," features 30 New York design firms working across five industries. Energy & Resiliency, Furnishing & Home Goods, Tech & Media, Building & Construction, and Fashion & Apparel are represented by locally-made products ranging from desktop 3D printers, ballistic protective jackets, furniture made of wood reclaimed from water towers, and ergonomic baby spoons.

"Making It In NYC" brings New York manufacturers to the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Photo by SITU Studio.

In the exhibition, designed by SITU Studio, the gallery walls are filled with interlocking hanging apparatuses made from aluminum composites that are folded and perforated to function as sculptural pegboards. This display schema presents the manufactured products in a way that is conceptually coherent, visually compelling, and adaptive for future installations. The common denominator for these displayed devices and furnishings is the hands-on approach to their design, which Bradley Samuels, co founder of SITU Studios, believes is important to emphasize. This, he says, helps destigmatize vocational lines of work. 

Samuels walked Dwell through the gallery space and explained the fabrication process for the presentation modules: scoring the back of the aluminum composites for folding, creating text with a router that penetrates the surface to the black polyethylene core, and forming the gridded perforations to accommodate diverse ways of mounting objects for display. 

The process of scoring and folding the aluminum composite material that SITU Studio used to create the exhibition, "Making it in NYC," at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Photo by SITU Studio.

The exhibition will be open through the end of the year, and BLDG 92 is also staging series of six panel discussions featuring companies in the exhibit, through the summer and fall. For an even closer look on the Maker Movement, sign up for one of several factory tours to see innovation in process. 

Furnishings on view include works by Scott Jordan, Tri-Lox, and Spuni, all Brooklyn-based manufacturers. Photo by SITU Studio.

The apparel on display includes Hanky Panky's lingerie and Tabii Just's bullet-proof jacket. Photo by SITU Studio.

The exhibition consists of differently scaled hexagonal presentation structures. Photo by SITU Studio.

Rob Colvin


Rob Colvin is a painter and writer in New York City.

Everybody loves feedback. Be the first to add a comment.
The author will be notified whenever new comments are added.
Dwell Life © 2016Download our iOS App

We’re inviting you to join us to create a place where we can inspire and share with each other every day, collaborate on collections, projects and stories, ask questions, discuss and debate ideas.

Log in