The Grimshaw disappointment

So the new NYC street furniture is here. At least, our shelter on the M103 line is, and it seems like others are going in up and down Third Avenue.

What can I say? They’re kind of meh. Inoffensive. There’s no personality to them. Where they had looked, in the engineering drawings and mockups I’d seen, as if they might be vaguely sleek, and redeemed by good material choices, in the flesh they’re not nearly so convincing. Oh, Grimshaw, what have you wrought? Is this what we’ll have to live with for the next 25 years?

You know what I thought was particularly disappointing about ’em? They made no obvious provision for digital interactions with their users, presenting a face to the technological world little different than they might have in 1982. I couldn’t see anywhere you’d be able to tap your NFC-equipped phone against one to download a bus schedule, or the fitting for the ambient indicator beacon whose glow gets more intense the nearer the bus draws.

Hopefully they’re modular enough to allow all that to be retrofitted as technologies emerge and standards are settled upon, but I saw no obvious evidence of this. It’s not the end of the world, surely…but it smells like missed opportunity to me.

3 responses to “The Grimshaw disappointment”

  1. Rob says :

    You’re not kidding. Personality free. I have no idea how his stuff always turns out so damn cold.

    Round my way we have to bring our own warmth to his rehousing of the city’s science museum:

    It’s not easy.

  2. speedbird says :

    Are those lighting elements retrofits?

  3. Rob says :

    Looks like it:


    Meanwhile, out front, where it should meet the public realm like a kid on a sugar rush bursting to tell you about all the cool stuff inside, we get this:


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