See ChangeNYC works with a variety of leading designers and NEW, a job training program, to give old city furniture a new life. NEW’s trainees are all women learning skilled trades such as woodworking, carpentry and metal working, refurbishing furniture as guided by designers.
Excerpt from the See ChangeNYC website about David’s recent project with NEW:
When See ChangeNYC Director and Chief Change Officer for the New York City Department of Design Construction, Lonni Tanner, showed furniture designer David Weeks the forlorn, gum and graffiti-laden benches, tables and chairs from two South Bronx adult probation center waiting rooms, his first reaction was shock, but his next was, “I can make those benches better.”
So he took one back to his home, took it apart and put it back together — with a nod to Donald Judd. Weeks shared the instructions with job training program NEW (Non-Traditional Employment for Women), which was tasked with taking the furniture apart, fixing, sanding, varnishing and putting it back together again, so it could be returned to the center. Not as easy as one would think. In terrible disrepair, the benches required the trainees and graduate, all-female carpenters to be whizzes with hammers, saws, drills and varnish. But they “nailed” it.
Weeks, an accomplished furniture designer, known for his lighting, tabletop products and children’s toys, was overwhelmed with the results. Said Weeks, “What can I do next?”
See Change NYC is a joint Mayoral/Department of Design and Construction initiative. Their mission is to improve the places where the most vulnerable New Yorkers come for critical city services. Top designers, manufacturers and creatives are donating their services and products to get the program off the ground. Their donation of time and energy on the project has, in turn, caused city agencies to simultaneously make other necessary improvements in staff, program and operations.