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Gateway is the community newsletter of Pratt Institute. It is published monthly by the Office of Communications, in the Division of Institutional Advancement. For a list of contributors, click here.

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Friday
Jan172014

PRATT AND RALPH PUCCI INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION SHOWCASES STUDENT KNITWEAR DESIGNS

 

On January 21, Pratt students, faculty, and friends gathered at Ralph Pucci’s Gallery Nine in Manhattan to celebrate the opening of Organic Matter: Woven Artwear by Pratt Fashion, an exhibition that challenged Fashion Department students to re-think the form, function, and design of knitwear as fine art. 

This past fall, Ralph Pucci International, a high-end mannequin, lighting, furniture, and sculpture company, partnered with the Institute on a semester-long project in which Pratt fashion design sophomores and juniors created garments, sculptures, and installations to complement Pucci mannequins from yarns donated by Lion Brand Yarns. The 27 works on view in Organic Matter were selected from more than 90 projects considered for the exhibition, and each design illustrates a forward-thinking approach to knitwear.

Pratt Institute Trustee Ralph Pucci, president of Ralph Pucci International, worked closely with Fashion Chair Jennifer Minniti and Assistant Professor Susan Cianciolo to select top projects. The students worked exclusively with neutral-colored yarn to complement Ralph Pucci’s classic MANNEQUIN collection in matte grey.

Before the opening reception, a jury of esteemed members of the art, fashion and design industries reviewed the work and selected their top three outfits, with first place going to Margaret Burton (B.F.A. Fashion Design ’15), second to a collaboration between Sam Smith (B.F.A. Fashion Design ’16) and Meghan O'Sullivan (B.F.A. Fashion Design ’16), and third to Chantal Galipeau (B.F.A. Fashion Design ’15), all of whom were awarded Pucci mini-mannequins by Pratt Institute Trustee Ralph Pucci and President Thomas F. Schutte.  

The partnership of Pratt and Ralph Pucci provides a rare opportunity for students to create works of art that will be on display in a commercial gallery. 

The real-world experience “is a game changer for the students,” said Ciancolo. Not only were they challenged to create innovative designs for a commercial gallery space, but they also had to contend with competition. “The students made amazing work, but fewer than 30 pieces could be selected out of 90. That alone is a great dose of reality,” she said.

The chance to work with a client in a commercial gallery setting led students to think about their work in a new way. “It has been such an honor to compete for the opportunity to show at Gallery Nine. The entire experience taught me a lot about what it is like to create work with a space and with a brand and company in mind,” said Sophie Andes Gascon (B.F.A. Fashion Design ’15).

This collaboration follows the successful 2010 partnership Pratt + Paper & Ralph Pucci, in which students were challenged to dress Pucci’s Spring 2011 GIRL 2 mannequins in fashion designs made entirely of paper. The results were presented in an exhibition at Pucci’s Gallery Nine showroom in December 2010 and later in the display windows of Macy’s flagship Herald Square store.

In 2013, Ralph Pucci was elected to Pratt Institute’s Board of Trustees. Pucci’s appointment was effective October 11.

After ending its run at Gallery Nine on February 3, Organic Matter traveled to the display windows of Macy's Herald Square store for a special viewing during New York Fashion Week.

Text: Amy Aronoff, Marion Hammon
Images: Alex Weber

Wednesday
Jan152014

PRATT CENTER REPORT MAKES THE CASE FOR BUS RAPID TRANSIT IN NEW YORK CITY

Dedicated, physically protected bus lanes help put the “rapid” in Bus Rapid Transit.

“Bus” and “rapid” are not the first words that come to mind when New Yorkers think about getting around the city, particularly in areas of the outer boroughs that are significantly underserved by public transportation—but that may be about to change.

A new report issued in December by the Pratt Center for Community Development highlights demographic and economic changes that have deepened disparities in transit access within New York City and identifies eight routes where Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) would provide a cost-effective solution to the mobility needs of some of New York’s transit-starved neighborhoods. BRT is an innovative transit option that has been used successfully in cities such as Mexico City, Barcelona, and Cleveland.

Funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, the Pratt Center report arrives at a very opportune moment for the city. Newly elected New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged his support to build a BRT network of more than 20 lines citywide during the 2013 election campaign as part of his vision to address inequality.

“Transportation is a huge equity issue,” said Joan Byron, policy director at the Pratt Center for Community Development and the author of the report, explaining that a BRT network would speed commutes and improve the quality of life of millions of New Yorkers.

More robust than the Select Bus Service the city has implemented to date, BRT uses dedicated, physically protected bus lanes located along center medians rather than next to the curb. It features station platforms where riders pay their fare before the bus arrives and multiple doors to make boarding easier. BRT offers all of the speed, reliability, and convenience of subway travel—at a significantly lower cost and with an increase in street safety.

The Pratt Center’s proposed BRT corridors were selected based on their potential benefits—connecting major job centers, major health care and educational hubs—and their physical feasibility for BRT. They include one that runs along the North Shore of Staten Island, another between John F. Kennedy Airport and Sunset Park, Brooklyn, and another between Hunts Point in the Bronx and Jamaica, Queens.

The report has been cited in press coverage of BRT’s potential to provide critical links to outer borough neighborhoods and to promote job growth

As de Blasio completes the process of establishing his new team, it will become clear how his administration will move forward on BRT.

Transit disparities are experienced acutely at the local level, but have to be solved at citywide scale. The BRT report is meant to sketch a vision of what's possible, as a way to open conversations, in communities and in City Hall, to test that vision and then make it real,” said Byron.

Text: Marion Hammon
Image: Institute for Transportation and Development Policy

 

Wednesday
Jan152014

Two Pratt Graduates Make Forbes’s “30 Under 30” List

(L-R) Ian Collings (B.I.D. ’08) and Rich Greco (B.F.A. ’07).

Two recent Pratt graduates were named to Forbes magazine's third annual “30 Under 30” feature, which spotlights the brightest stars in 15 different fields under the age of 30. Included in the elite group are Ian Collings (B.I.D. ’08), who made the Art & Style list, and Rich Greco (B.F.A. ’07), named on the Marketing & Advertising list.

Ian Collings, age 28, co-founded industrial design firm Fort Standard with Gregory Buntain (B.I.D. '08). The firm crafts everything from lighting and furniture, to bowls, candelabras, and cutting boards, which were featured in Gateway’s holiday gift guide last fall. They’ve also produced unique items like building blocks and a survival kit.

“Experimenting is an important part of our process and when you come across something new, it’s one of the most satisfying experiences you can imagine,” Collings has said in describing his company’s work.

Fort Standard’s products, made of materials like ceramic, wood, and bronze, have clean, simple lines. Clients include Warby Parker and All-Clad.

Rich Greco, age 28, is head of design at Droga5, a cutting-edge ad agency in New York’s East Village. Greco oversees a staff of eight designers at the firm, which works with clients such as Prudential, American Express, The Coca-Cola Company, Motorola, Under Armour, Mondelēz International, Chobani, Spotify, and UNICEF.

He was cited as one of Business Insider's “30 Most Creative People in Advertising Under 30.”

Text: Ruth Samuelson
Images: Ian Collings photo, Nathaniel Wood; Rich Grecco photo, courtesy of Rich Grecco