We approach projects through a mix research and ideas. The fact that experimentation is an integral part of our work is something we see as good rather than interesting. We rigorously test ideas, bending them until they break and fail. The moment of failure is a major part of experimentation to us and is as valuable as the moment of discovery.
Through testing we are not necessarily looking for different or newer ways, but better ways to do things. Our work does not just test the boundaries of what is possible with technology but also blurs the boundaries between the mediums used for each project. By mixing mediums we are able to create a fertile environment for creating unique projects. With all of our work we strive to amplify a simple idea in a way that achieves extreme effects. Sometimes it is done in a simple way and sometimes it requires extensive technological innovation. The way the project is made only concerns us as a means for production of these effects. Our efforts are placed more in achieving the desired experience and the quality of that outcome rather than the novelty of the techniques used. For us, a good idea does not discriminate between any medium or any type of project, it just works.
Below you will find a good mix of some of our featured work or you can Download our portfolio
Many of our projects require a certain amount of research and development and in many cases custom software development. In the past we have always made these resources available. Unfortunately we have struggled to keep this up to date as the range of projects and type of research has grown.
We are still committed to this and are currently thinking of the best way to show our research and our mistakes as we experiment. We plan on having this part of the website up soon and hope that this research can be used by others and also show how we approach the development of projects. If anything, we hope the resources will be interesting and a look behind the scenes will be fun to see.
Please check back soon
SOFTlab is a design studio based in New York City. The studio was created by Michael Szivos shortly after receiving a graduate degree in architecture from the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University. The studio has since been involved in the design and production of projects across almost every medium, from digitally fabricated large-scale sculpture, to interactive design, to immersive digital video installations. As the studio adjusted to a wide range of projects, we began to focus less on the medium and style and more on ideas.
As a studio, SOFTlab, embraces projects through a mix of research and ideas. On one hand the studio is invested in projects that require significant research and experimentation. These projects provide a testing ground for us to help germinate a studio environment that is ripe with creativity. We take advantage of what we learn from these projects through the design of our more client based work. The constraints of all projects are treated as opportunities that are tested through a collaborative studio environment with the hopes of solving typical problems in new ways, with new tools. Through the studio's unique blend of backgrounds as designers, artists, architects and educators we are able to approach every project from a fresh perspective to create rich spatial, graphic, interactive and visual experiences. By mixing research, creativity and technology with a strong desire to make working fun, SOFTlab attempts to create new and unique experiences.
In 2012 SOFTlab was awarded the Architectural League Prize for Young Architects & Designers and previously in 2010 the studio was selected for the New Practices New York award by the AIA Chapter of New York along with 7 other young studios. The studio has also produced a wide range of design projects and collaborated with various artists, designers, publications and institutions including MoMA, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The New Museum, The New York Times, eVolo Magazine, Surface Magazine, Columbia University and Pratt Institute. The studio has also exhibited work in galleries throughout New York City. We continue to work on many projects in New York while taking on new projects and clients in Europe and Asia.
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We have an addiction to making things. One of the symptoms of this is a lot of time spent experimenting (a combination of making prototypes, mistakes, and everything in between). This strange mixture of ideas, research, craft, and experimentation often requires custom software development. Most of what you will find here is a mix of the resources we have developed and in some cases how we got there. You will also find what we consider our speculative work. It won’t come in the form of unbuilt projects or drawings, but in the form of a constant questioning about the production and deployment of design in the everyday world. Our speculative work is not spread across many projects but just one, the office.
The resources here are available for anyone to use. We hope they can help contribute to other experiments and we would be honored if they serve as inspiration in any way for other projects. This is also a behind the scenes look into how we work and how we fail. We hope it can also serve as a fun record of what all this all really takes. We will be adding work in progress as well as a back log of material we are organizing from previous projects.