Utilizing Tech for Hyper-Customized Design & Installation Efficiencies

Long Island City, New York

At 43TEN, 3D-printed artwork represents Mancini R&D’s exploration and ingenuity. Our team is delivering an installation that will be assembled on site using projection mapping technology.

Soon, tenants who are looking to be in the heart of New York’s creative services, media, and tech neighborhood will find a home at 43TEN. The 203,184-square-foot, seven-story building was once a manufacturing site that Mancini is adapting for the commercial office market, offering tenants loft-style workplaces and sweeping views of burgeoning Long Island City and Manhattan. The design team’s mandate is to honor the building’s industrial past and growing neighborhood while integrating a future-forward facility that will support an increasingly tech-centered culture.

The client challenged Mancini to curate a unique work of art for the lobby that is not only cost-effective and visually impactul but is inspired by the history of the neighborhood. Running the length of the space, a dark brick wall is punctuated by columns, framing a traditional grid that creates a different sort of canvas for an art installation. Rather than commission an expensive piece, a Microfactory of 3D printers produced the piece directly in Mancini’s Design Lab, the home-base for research and development.

Using a map of Long Island City, the team pinpointed transit stations and local landmarks, connecting them at various points, often aligning with the city grid. The diagram creates a linear, abstract map that the team then used to lay out a pattern on the lobby’s brick wall.

The raised pattern resembles the surrounding streetscape and rail yards, referring to the juxtaposition where rail meets pavement. Mancini devised a unique script using Grasshopper software’s generative algorithms to create a hyper-customized pattern based on this map for 200 unique, 3D-printed bricks that snap easily into a universal receptor.

The complex geometries of the parametric design create a Hyper-Map of Long Island City. Throughout, many of the bricks light up with internal LEDs, creating a prismatic effect that seems almost kinetic as people stroll by. Most of these lighted bricks will be installed behind a Mancini-designed reception desk.

To keep installation costs to a minimum, the design team is planning to apply a high-tech solution for installing this integrated artwork. Utilizing projection mapping technology, installers on site can simply beam blueprints directly onto a surface and follow a guide – think of it like a giant puzzle. Using Rhino 3D modeling software, the design team will produce a measured drawing that’s the same size as the wall where the bricks will be installed.

Once the base wall is constructed, and the projector is set up, it’s switched on and the user clicks and drags the corners of the projection to precise points to establish a rectilinear grid (from any angle). The design team even created a customized, 3D-printed holster that connects the various components so that the entire system moves as one piece without having to recalibrate.

Essentially, projection mapping acts like a digital template for the Hyper-Map to be installed quickly and efficiently without racking up labor hours. All the installer has to do is place bricks where the projection says, coordinate wiring for lit bricks, and snap everything in place. The system is continuously calibrating the scaled digital overlays, so the measurements are always accurate and accounting for bricks that are installed.

This process has the potential to take over traditional paper construction documents. One major benefit is that installation time and field measuring can be instantly reduced. Foolproof template minimizes human error, yielding a higher quality finished product. There is little to no sacrifice of design or creativity due to contractor limitations. But the design team isn’t waiting for the future, this process is currently being field-tested on-site and perfected in Mancini’s Design Lab.