Eight raspberry and cyan-blue colored "worms" will be on hand for StreetFest in May. The rolled galvanized steel ribs of The Worms, supported by steel forks resting on swivel casters, create bays that can expand, turn, and contract to host a variety of programs, and can easily be reconfigured. To minimize on-site setup time, each worm can be flat packed and delivered to a site fully assembled before being rolled and locked into position. Simultaneously distinct, familiar, and endlessly adaptable, The Worms will physically engage the neighborhood, buildings, and streets to form new spaces for gathering, eating, discovering, and playing.
About The Worms, Family and PlayLab said, "Besides wanting to design something that was buildable and inexpensive, we wanted the tents to interact with their context in ways that we didn't think the typical street fair tent was doing. That the space between the tents and the buildings (or the trees, or the curb, or whatever) was just as important as the space within and could be shaped by the Worms themselves. We like to imagine that each fair could be a completely different spatial experience as the Worms adapt to their surroundings."
"People seem to be excited about it simplicity and flexibility...it probably also has something to do with the fact that they look at the same time unique and familiar. Everybody just really likes worms for some reason."
Storefront director Eva Franch i Gilabert describes the Streetfest component of the Festival as "the place of encounter between all the different actors of urban life. StreetFest has been envisioned not as a space of consumption and display but as a space of provocation, interaction, learning and play. Visitors can expect almost everything: from performances to classes, the streetfest aims to be a space of learning and action where citizens, artists and experts exchange desires, curiosities and tools where everyone becomes an active citizen, a participant and contributor to the Festival of Ideas for The New City."
Built from common and inexpensive materials, these new tent typologies are designed to be as efficient in cost and assembly as the ubiquitous white farmer's market tent, while catalyzing activities and events not typically found in street festivals.
• New Initiative Will Focus On Culture, Community, Education, and Participation. A three-day slate of symposia, lectures, and workshops with visionaries and leaders—including a keynote by Rem Koolhaas, exemplary international mayors, forecasters, architects, artists, economists, and technology experts—who will address the four broad Festival themes: The Heterogeneous City; The Networked City; The Reconfigured City; and The Sustainable City. These events will take place at The Cooper Union, New York University, and the New Museum from Wednesday to Saturday, May 4-7.
• An innovative, minimal-waste, outdoor StreetFest will take place along the Bowery. More than seventy-five local grassroots organizations, small businesses, and non-profits will present model products and practices in a unique outdoor environment. The Festival will premiere a new environmentally inspired tent module commissioned for the Festival, as well as outdoor living rooms and inflatable structures. Visitors can expect cooking demonstrations with urban farmers, rooftop gardening classes, oral history projects, bike tours and valets, and a variety of affordable and healthy, locally grown, sustainable food options. The StreetFest will take place on Saturday, May 7, 11 a.m to 7 p.m.
• Over a hundred independent projects, exhibitions, and performances, which expand on the Festival's themes, will open at multiple festival partner venues Downtown, activating a broad geographic area. Projects include a solar powered mobile art studio; artist-commissioned rolldown, metal storefront gates; projections of poems in endangered languages on Lower East Side buildings; a prototype of an urban campground; a marathon event where architects will present their ideas about reconfiguring public space in a rapid fire format; an exhibit exploring the political, economic and social relevance of preservation and its role in architectural thinking; and a wide range of other activities exploring ideas for the future. These events will open Saturday evening, May 7, and Sunday, May 8.
The Designers: Family & PlayLab Team includes: Archie Lee Coates IV, Jeffrey Franklin, Keshet Rosenblum, Scott Snelling, P.E., and Dong-Ping Wong.
The Jury includes: Vito Acconci, Principal, Vito Acconci Studio; Jeff Thompson, Associate Principal, Buro Happold Consulting Engineers; Eva Franch i Gilabert, Director, Storefront for Art & Architecture; Tamara Greenfield, Executive Director, Fourth Arts Block; Lisa Phillips, Toby Devan Lewis Director, New Museum; Charles Renfro, Partner, Diller Scofidio + Renfro; and Wendy Feuer, Assistant Commissioner Of Urban Design & Art, NYC Department Of Transportation.