Photo: Varial Studio, “Museum of Possibilities” by www.livingwithourtime.com

Started in 2011, ExpoTENtial is a multi-dimensional platform/festival curated by Laetitia Wolff/futureflair that seeks to foster NY design communityʼs engagement with the city by investigating ideas for a slower, smarter, livelier, healthier urban experience. The labs focus on a selection of complex, pressing and sustainability-related challenges (food systems, climate change, transportation, energy efficiency, recycling, information overload, etc), using the city as a context for design and design as a specific point of view.

Design has been increasingly playing a role in shaping urban spaces. And although the City of New York has recently been pioneering more people-centric programs towards a better urban quality of life, the design community tends to live in a bubble and disciplinary silos, unaware of its potential as a mediator between citizen and city government. ExpoTENtial brings designers to the table of serious conversations, pulling them from their typical client-driven M.O., fully trusting their creative thinking. Beyond the traditional trade fair, this project is a unique opportunity to showcase design talent, putting them “at work” while providing an experiential and public framework to showcase for NYC creativity.

Ten teams of design thinkers and makers will address and translate each of these issues into engaging, in-situ public works, under the guidance of a dedicated team curator, working with me under the ExpoTENtial banner. We expect these urban interventions to be a combination of “hardware” and “software,” viral and coordinated, educational and entertaining, functioning indoor/outdoor. They might combine 3D built and interactive installations, awareness campaigns, printed matter, as well as projections, smell/taste-based exhibits, and curated itineraries with maps, programs such as guided tours, and children’s hands-on activities.