Since 2003, co-founders Nataly Gattegno and Jason Kelly Johnson of Future Cities Lab have been pushing the boundaries of deep integration of technology, data, human interaction, and design with many projects designed and built in house for rapid prototyping and iteration. The design lab’s focus has been on public art and building installations in order to get new ideas built and tested quickly on a smaller scale with the intention of future implementation at a larger scale. This workflow allows Future Cities Lab to be agile in crafting their highly technical installations which are coded and fabricated by the design team.

Nataly’s talk covered the variety of projects in their portfolio that addressed issues ranging from climate and rising sea levels, with projects like Hydramax and Xerohouse, to human interaction and data visualization, with projects like Lightswarm, Murmur Wall (pictured above), and the Datagrove. What intrigued me during the talk was the breakdown of all of the multidisciplinary collaborations and consultants necessary for the projects to come to life. From mechatronics engineers, to software developers, to even communications directors, multidisciplinary talent combined with design thinking creates some truly remarkable projects.

With their first permanent design project underway after winning the St. James Park Levitt Pavilion Competition this year, Future Cities Lab has the opportunity the realize many of their design concepts in a pavilion that will become a main stay in San Jose. I will definitely be keeping a close eye on this design practice.

Image Credit: Murmur Wall Photographed by Peter Prato for Future Cities Lab.


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