Nothing says summer like an open-air music festival. With a sole exception, the MINI Space Team was hard-pressed to find one nearly as enterprising as MoMA PS1's annual Warm Up series in New York City.
MoMA PS1, located in Long Island City, Queens is the bigger and more adventurous arm of New York City’s Museum of Modern Art. PS1 is dedicated solely to contemporary art and hosts rotating and long-term exhibitions, as well as an internet radio station and the now infamous Warm Up summer music series. Partnering with MoMA, PS1 chooses an annual winner from its Young Architects Program to design an installation for the courtyard, dedicated on summer Saturday’s to this wildly popular music showcase turned dance party. This year’s winner, HWKN, named their entry Wendyand features technology that will clean the air of pollutants, and a design that looks more like an interactive jungle gym than a stop-and-stare sculpture. With high profile DJs like Jamie xx, Just Blaze, Matthew Dear and Thom Yorke making appearances, Wendy is sure to get plenty of attention.
MoMA PS1’s Warm Up series is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year and has only grown in popularity since its inception. The celebrated series gives restless New Yorkers an escape from the city on summer Saturdays in a beautifully designed outdoor setting. Local food and drink on-site make this an all day event and a single visit is all it takes to understand why Warm Up has earned a reputation as one of the city’s best dance parties. This year’s line-up is particularly strong with a diverse mix of big name headliners and exciting new artists like Danny Brown, Shlohmo and Jacques Greene.
MoMA PS1’s Young Architects Program (YAP) was established in partnership with this concert series as a way to solidify the affialiation between the Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1. In just 15 years, it has become one of the most coveted awards in the design world, and for obvious reasons. Who wouldn’t want the chance to dream up a cutting edge centerpiece for one of the world’s most forward-thinking museums? The program’s guidelines put an emphasis on creating something that goes beyond being simply "cool" — it dares entrants to think up a unique space on a tight budget that creatively engages with a social environment, while simultaneously addressing issues of efficiency, sustainability and environmental concerns. But when all is said and done, it needs to first and foremost serve as a much-needed oasis for those sizzling thirsty souls who endure the annual assault of summer heat in New York City.
And how exactly is one awarded the privilege of giving the good folks of NYC a place to chill out in one of coolest spots the city has to offer? MoMA and MoMA PS1 first invite a select group of outside experts that include curators, deans of architecture schools, scholars and editors of influential publications to form a panel that then nominates twenty or more students, recent architectural school graduates, or established architects who are experimenting with new styles or techniques. This pool of talent is then challenged to create exciting and innovative new works for direct competition. Past winners who have risen to the challenge have dreampt up installations featuring sand dunes, cabanas, pools and ponds, oversized play pens and inventive sculptural rooftop gardens. You can peruse each one of these on the PS1 YAP website.
This year’s winning pavilion was designed by HWKN (Matthias Hollwich and Marc Kushner, New York), whose architectural and design brilliance the MINI Space Team is well acquainted with. HWKN were the brains behind MINI Space's inaugural event — the "Creative Use of Space " MINI Rooftop party back in 2008 — and we take personal pride seeing their work front and center at this celebrated, world-renowned venue. Their piece, affectionately named Wendy, combines the-future-is-now technology and materials with HWKN's signature style of innovative design. Wendy’s massive blue spikes may look intimidating, but they actually neutralize pollutants and provide visitors with shade and seating while cooling off lucky dancers with blasts of fresh water.
Along with other neighborhoods bordering the East River like Williamsburg and Greenpoint in Brooklyn, Long Island City in Queens has seen rapid growth among those looking for cheap, cool and convenient options close to Manhattan. As with any influx of new residents in the city bars, restaurants and cookie cutter condos are never far behind. LIC is no different, but with a rich history and neighborhood landmarks like 5 Pointz, one of the world’s greatest graffiti temples, still standing tall, old school authenticity isn’t hard to find.
We might be in the dog days of summer, but there are still plenty of hot festivals and other thrilling events to showcase before the season is out.