LIFTnewyork: Telling Stories through Architecture

by Elizabeth Pate, EW Correspondent

LIFTnewyork-7LIFTnewyork was founded in 2011 by Scott VanderVoort, a designer, artist and professor at Pratt Institute’s Industrial Design Department. The company applies design, media strategy and visual arts to create “architectural experiences” by reworking underutilized urban spaces, focusing on interstitial spaces such as elevators and escalators. Located in New York City (NYC), the company’s design team creates custom elevator cabs that transform shafts into kinetic canvases, turning traditional areas into 3D brand extensions. LIFTnewyork also offers curatorial and artist-management services to assist clients in creating visual expressions of their sites. “The potential for activating these transitional spaces in community housing, commercial and public venues, from elevator shafts to stairway corridors, is massive,” VanderVoort said.

LIFTnewyork-4LIFTnewyork uses hand-painted murals, digital projections and sculptural installations to transform what VanderVoort says are often overlooked spaces. The designs can tell a location’s story by combining design interventions with provocative visuals. LIFTnewyork also uses communication channels to reinvent once- static spaces as expressive environments. “We work closely with our clients to translate their core values and marketing objectives into agile identity systems and easy-to-execute programming,” VanderVoort explains.

The company’s first project was at VanderVoort’s apartment on Bond Street in NYC. His goal was to redesign the building’s elevator car to feel more like an old freight car. The windows had to be redesigned to mimic old steel-mesh walls. When the elevator was in motion, the walls became an important feature. “My first thought was to invite an artist to design a wall mural, so I did, first collaborating with artists David Ellis and Dose Green,” VanderVoort said. “I was attracted to their different styles but knew they would work beautifully together.”

LIFTnewyork has recently been exploring digital surfaces and their relationships to transition spaces. The company is currently collaborating with Planar Systems, Inc. to integrate a transparent LCD screen into elevator cars to layer content over content.

LIFTnewyork Products

The Box (Turnkey Solution)

“The Box” is an elevator cab suited for standard elevator setups/configurations featuring expansive hoistway aperture and refined finishes.

The Modern (Retrofit Solution)

Working with the context of existing buildings, “The Modern” is used to modernize and modify elevator cars to accentuate a location’s identity.

Lift Custom (Bespoke Model)

“Lift Custom” models combine design and content format options to create “experiences” with movable apertures, triggered, audible and multidimensional installations.

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