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 just finished the design of a display piece for our friends over at NOOKA. The team at NOOKA put together a party last Sunday with loads of liqour sponsors. The piece looks great with all of the colorful NOOKA products. The party was packed and the overall collaboration was a lot of fun. Can’t wait to move on to the next project with the guys over at NOOKA! you can check out more information about the project here: COstruction
You can check out the piece in person at the DDCLAB in the meatpacking district.
We have been collaborating with NOOKA on a custom display for their watches and Tietz-Baccon for the fabrication of the piece. We worked with them to design a piece that is rigid and organic. We “grew” a display out cubes of varying sizes. The many surfaces created by the intersecting cubes allows for NOOKA products to be displayed in a variety of ways.
NOOKA and a whole list of sponsors are throwing a party at DDCLAB in the meatpacking Sunday May 15th, 2011. If you are in the neighborhood for ICFF you should stop by for a drink! You can find info about the sponsors and the event here: CO-struction
Last Saturday was lot of fun! and our piece was still hanging after many drinks were served. 1500 LEDs later…. we pretty much finished our piece for the entry to the school on Mott and Prince the late the night before, so we were able to enjoy all of the events during the day. A lot of people came out to see a lot of great work. We have photos from our photographer up soon!
Saturday was amazing and a lot of fun! Our good friends at Nuit Blanche and all of the other organizers of the many events really tore the roof off in the Bowery. It was one of those nights that really makes us realize why we love living and working in NYC . Great to see creative people prove that they not only know how to party, but that they can get people on the streets to stop and wonder how the city can be made better through art and design. The hangover was definitely worth it!
Hope you all will make it downtown this weekend for the New Museum’s Festival of Ideas For the New City. A lot of fun and interesting projects are going on around, near, and all over the Bowery! We are producing an installation out of 1500 LEDs and a bunch of Mylar as part of Flash:Light organized by Nuit Blanche New york. Our installation will hang in the entrance to the courtyard of 233 Mott Street. We also produced a piece for projection onto the New Museum facade along with a number of artists including our friends over at Acconci Studio and Terraform One. The projections will start Saturday night May 7th at 8pm. We can’t wait to see the museum breath, melt, get taped, grown, covered in hair and pretty much get transformed into an eight story hot box!
We are also working with Nuit Blanche and the New Museum on a fold up New Museum that features the projection of various artists. If all goes well these will be available on site this weekend. Hope to see you all there… will be a lot of fun!
We are working with a great team of people from Nuit Blanche New York and artists to make projections for the New Museum as part of their Festival of Ideas for the New City. We shot our piece last weekend. It was a lot of fun and most people are creating analog videos. The videos will be projected during the festival weekend at night on Saturday May 7th. If you are in town, you should definitely check it out along with all of the many other great things going on!
Its not whether you win or lose, its whether you win! Well not this time, but we had a lot of fun trying to meet the Storefront’s crazy demands. We worked with our good friends over at njenworks. They produced some crazy graphics to go with our crazy scheme and big thanks to Matt Clark at Arup for making sure we won’t blow away in the wind. You can check out our full proposal here: SOFTlab_StreetFest.pdf
took us a while to figure out how to present in a vertical format, so we didn’t. More images of our proposal after the jump…
SOFTlab is featured in a new section on the Rado website! We are the first in series called Unlimited Spirit. The short film was directed by Yaara Sumeruk. The shoot was a couple of months ago and a lot of fun. We can’t wait for the other spots! and we NEED one of those watches, they are ceramic and probably won’t break even when you are meeting with the worst clients!
Our good friend Michael Rees asked us to be a part of the show Alpha to Zeta. Michael has developed a sculptural user interface that produces a 3d object based on letters entered through a keyboard. Anyone one can develop a 3d alphabet. It is a great project we saw in the works a longtime ago when we were first starting the studio. the exhibition will include a number of artists that have created alphabets an models. Each model is 3d printed and will be on display. The screen cap above is a picture of our alphabet in action! The opening is this Thursday and will be alot of fun. Details below:
February 4 to February 15, 2011
Reception: February 10, 2011, 6-8p
Visual Arts Gallery at the School of VIsual Art
601 West 26th St., 15th floor
New York, New York
Artists include: Michael Rees, Suzanne Anker, Prem Makeig, Mike Szivos (Softlab), Lenka Curtain, David Frankel, Lala Montoya, Michael Severance, Zulma Cardona, Sam T. Chciuk, Nicholas P. Colbert, Nicole P. Crisbacher, Katarina A. Crnogorac, Ashley M. Simon, Christian D. Tandazo, and Geoff Flash