Warm Up all summer long at MoMA/P.S.1

It’s been four months since we announced the winner of P.S.1/MoMA’s Young Architects Program. Now that summer is officially upon us, the museum has opened up its courtyard and unveiled Interboro Partner’s winning design, “Holding Pattern,” which will play host to the annual Warm Up party series. One of the first things you notice when you enter the space, aside from the fact that it seems to be undergoing some last minute construction, are the bright yellow tags on nearly every item in the courtyard (pictured below). They read “Hold For” and are stuck to the chairs, benches, planters, trees, chess boards and ping pong tables. The tags are marked with the names of local businesses and organizations who will receive the tagged item after Warm Up closes in September. When Interboro Partners was conducting their initial research they went out into the neighborhood and asked people, “Is there something you need that we could design and use in the courtyard and then donate in the Fall?” The community seems to have answered eclectically. In addition to seating, there’s a sandbox, foosball table, lifeguard chair and even a self-misting modular stage for breakdancing performances.

There are also two smaller rooms off the courtyard. One room, lined with large mirrors that will be donated to a local ballet studio, will no doubt serve as a safe haven for Warm Up partygoers who need a quick touch up or want to take gratuitous photos of themselves for Facebook. The second, delightfully earthy-smelling room, dubbed the “urban forest,” is filled with young trees arranged in planters made from hay bales (pictured below).

Aside from the lushness offered by this small grove of trees, once you leave the room the courtyard itself feels barren. Gray gravel fills the space between the grey concrete walls. The furniture, while well designed and refreshingly low-brow (the chaise lounges are plywood and PVC pipe), offer no break from the pervading minimalism. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a devout lover of minimalism, but gray and gray and brown and gray do not make a party. All it needs is a bright pop of color to break up the flat tones, but even the canopy overhead, an airy thing made of long strips of white fabric, offers no reprieve and no interest either. And without a yellow hang tag, its woefully out of place. Couldn’t the designers think of any other material to use, one that the local Boys & Girls Club or senior center could use?

No doubt the revelers that come in droves every summer will help make things festive, as will the music. This year’s line up includes Omar-S, DJ Pierre, Sun Araw, Black Dice, Four Tet, Tanlines, Grimes, Syd Tha Kyd / OFWGKTA, His name is alive, and Nguzunguzu. See the full schedule.