by Rakks | July 20th, 2012
Rakks recently sent a shipment of shelving systems including wall mounted standards and shelf support brackets to the Saratoga Square Senior Center in New York City. Since Rakks products are used in all environments around the world, this would normally be just another shipment. The difference in this case is that the project is part of a much larger mission for the good of countless people.
We were contacted for this project by Lonni Tanner, Chief Change Officer of New York City’s Department of Design and Construction. She runs a Mayor Bloomberg-backed initiative called SeeChangeNYC.
We asked Lonni about the initiative:
“The goal of SeeChangeNYC is to improve the places where the most vulnerable New Yorkers come for critical city services. We have hundreds of centers; think probation, recreation, food stamps, senior centers and shelters. Design is used as a catalyst to spur other improvements, as well: in staffing, training, programs and operations. All of our designs are meant to be replicable and transferable. We do full overhauls but lean towards making small, pivotal changes.”
Small change, big impact.
That’s the mindset Tanner and her coworkers are in as they try to make a difference in the seemingly innumerable public venues around NYC that need their help. Many designers and manufacturers have taken up this rallying cry and signed onto the initiative, including Peter Gluck Architects, Pentagram, Biber Architects, Armstrong, Interface and Herman Miller.
The first task on Tanner’s list was to create a new model for the city’s probation centers that could be replicated at other sites. This model would help turn the traditional drab waiting room into a workspace of possibility and hope. Tanner chose James Biber of Biber architects to design the first “new-look” waiting room at the Department of Probation Resource Hub on the 9th Floor of 346 Broadway. See the pictures of the finished improvement project at metropolismag.com.
With the probation centers’ improvement underway, Tanner and SeeChangeNYC next turned to the city’s senior centers.
“As always our improvements lean towards enhancing the quality of life: in this case, our goal is to draw more seniors to the centers — so they are not home alone — and engage them while they are at the sites,” said Tanner. “Many elements are designed to be replicated at any of the city’s 250+ senior centers — from the signage (branding) to the furniture to the shelving system.”
“We even developed a signature element: an activity railing that morphs into different shapes and winds its way inside and out a facility so seniors can exercise year round. All of our design elements are meant to encourage seniors to “do” and interact without staff — whether it be exercise or art.”
It is in this capacity that Rakks shelving systems will be utilized. Seniors at the center have been asking for a way to display their artwork, and the new shelving will encourage them to create to the best of their abilities.
Construction is planned to begin this month. Stay tuned for updates!