Pop-Up NYC

Creating and sharing designs for public space

We rely on design to help us provide people with a good experience in public space. We also believe that thoughtful design conveys respect for our community hosts. Over the years we’ve worked with architects, architecture firms, and fabricators to develop pop-up infrastructure that we use all across New York City. We’ve also made and shipped the same infrastructure to organizations and agencies in other cities across the globe.

We are always looking for ways to generate new pop-up designs for the public realm and share the work of architects with neighborhoods across the city. Pop-up can address the needs of neighborhoods in the short term, even while long-term planning and design processes are underway. Since 2011, we’ve created over 500 installations in 150+ public spaces in New York City, and we’re still expanding. If you are a designer, architect, or fabricator and want to partner with us to put something great on the street, contact Leslie Davol.

Collaborate with us!

A brief history of our collaborations with designers:

The first design we put into use consisted of a series of angular cubes that could be stacked to make a bookcase, held in place by magnets, with yellow protrusions that could double as benches. It was designed by architects Höweler + Yoon and built by students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) under the supervision of Professor J. Meejin Yoon (of Howeler + Yoon) in 2011. The project was featured in the U.S. Pavilion at the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale, and won an A+ Architizer award in the learning category.

Launched on Kickstarter:

The second design was a cart that unfolded to reveal shelves, inspired by co-founder Sam Davol’s years of touring with stage cases as a musician. It was also designed by architects Höweler + Yoon and was fabricated by Höweler + Yoon in June 2013.

Working with Bill Bancroft Furniture Design in 2015 and 2016, we then made further adaptations to this cart design, adding additional programs and developing custom solutions for partners.

In 2016, we worked with architect Joana Torres of Oficina Design to develop a design for a portable information sign and kiosk.
In 2017, we began working with Jaywalk Studio to make improvements to our original bench design, streamlining fabrication of benches for other organizations and cities.
In 2018, working closely with Bill Bancroft, we developed designs for moveable tables and material storage units based on Tangram puzzle pieces.

Supporters of our design and fabrication work

  • 239 Donors via Kickstarter in 2011
  • HASS grant from MIT 
  • Robert Half, Boston MA
  • Leaves of Grass
  • The Laura B. Vogler Foundation
  • Burning Man

Design and fabrication credits

We're getting a "new" name... Street Lab.

The Uni Project is the work of Street Lab, a nonprofit launched in 2006 in Boston, where we created community-oriented programs for public space. In 2011, we migrated Street Lab to New York City and launched the Uni Project. The Uni began as a single, portable reading room and has since grown into a city-wide initiative offering more than 700 days of pop-up programming in 150+ public spaces across the city. In 2019, we are re-introducing our original name Street Lab to tie all this work together going forward, with much more to come.

For now, details about our programs are available here on the Uni Project web site. Soon, that content will move to www.streetlab.org. Thanks for sticking with us!