Victor J Papanek Social Design Award - we are a finalist!by TYTHEdesign on 11/16/11
written by Kristina Drury of TYTHEdesign
We are excited to announce that TYTHEdesign's system redesign of the St. John's Bread and Life Mobile Soup Kitchen (MSK) is a finalist in the Victor J. Papanek Social Design Award! The contest was the inaugural Design for the Real World Redux competition supporting environmentally sustainable and socially responsible design.
Our work is currently featured in exhibitions held at the University of Applied Arts Vienna from Nov 14, 2011 to Jan 31, 2012. Following this show, the exhibition will be at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York from March 6 to June 17, 2012. The competition solicited entries from established, emerging, and student designers of projects from around the world that upheld Papanek's vision of environmental and/or social responsibility under 2 categories: "Designed Objects" and "Social and/or Ecological Infrastructures and Design Concepts." We're honoured to share this award with the likes of Yves Behar of Fuse Project and Mitchell Joachim of Terraforma one.
In 2009, TYTHEdesign collaborated with the MSK to redesign their interior space and create new tools to increase efficiency at the service window. The MSK serves daily hot meals and provides outreach services to a number of New York City's most impoverished communities.
TYTHEdesign spent time volunteering and observing the working dynamics of the mobile space. The MSK staff and volunteers work as quickly as possible to make sure everyone gets served as quickly and efficiently as possible, however they just couldn't seem to serve fast enough for the waiting community. At times we witnessed the negative emotional effects of backed-up service, including fights in the line outside and a very unhappy staff. We also noticed the challenges of rotating volunteers, not knowing how the system works, where the supplies are and asking too many questions for the already busy staff. Using design thinking research, we discerned some clear organizational and spatial design opportunities within the MSK that could result in a more efficient process, and therefore a better experience for staff, volunteers and the community.
TYTHEdesign worked directly with the staff/volunteers to brainstorm ideas, create prototypes, test them and then redesign the prototypes to make sure the design matched the needs of the clients. The first system redesign was to organize the storage space within the MSK to be more intuitive, efficient and easy for use by volunteers. The second system redesign was the development of a new serving table with a specially designed soup tray and cutting boards. This table would include a greater serving area, more accessible space for napkins, utensils, and a compact, foldable structure for storage purposes while in transit.
Photos from a site visit this past week. To see more images of the current space check out our flickr set.
Once the MSK space was reorganized, the table installed and the new system in place, the final results helped to reduce backups and inefficiency at the service window. Our redesign of the soup kitchen's space elicited much positive feedback. Speeding the serving process means the community spends less time waiting in line (and seasonally, in the cold), so they enjoy a more respectful experience, are more open to the other social services offered by the staff and are less likely to allow tensions to build into fights. Minimizing time needed to train volunteers, serve patrons and break up fights means that staff can spend more time administering social services to the community. A better experience for volunteers means they are more likely to return.
We are very excited about being a finalist and being featured in a museum!! Many thanks to all those who supported us on this project.