Urban Matter Inc. creates experiences using Storytelling, Data visualizations and Participation.
Urban Matter Inc is an interdisciplinary experience design studio based in Dumbo, Brooklyn. It was founded in 2012 by Shagun Singh, Valeria Bianco, and Rick Lin.
Shagun Singh is an interaction designer with a background in architecture. Valeria Bianco is an accomplished creative director and product designer. Rick Lin is a creative technologist with an interest in film and video and a background in sculpture and installation.
Together, we create work that tells stories, visualizes information, and inspires interaction. We believe that compelling narratives and thoughtfully designed spaces make our lives better. Working at the intersection of design, technology, and community, we craft environments and experiences that delight, surprise, and engage.
Urban Matter Inc has worked with a variety of partners and clients, including government organizations like the New York City Department of Transportation and cultural organizations and nonprofits like the New Museum, The Bronx Museum of Arts, Brooklyn Arts Council, Architecture for Humanity, The Red Hook Initiative, Feast Conference, and Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership among others.
Our Silent Lights project was awarded the Artplace America grant for excellence in creative-placemaking and the Black Rock Foundation grant for interactive art and civic participation. We’ve also won the Community Arts Fund Award from Brooklyn Arts Council, the Local Arts Support Award from NYSCA, and the Urban Arts Program Grant from the NYC DOT two years in a row.
Our work was shown as part of the US Pavilion’s “Spontaneous Interventions: Design Actions for the Common Good” exhibit at the Venice Biennale 2012 and at the New Museum IDEAS CITY Festival in May 2013. We have spoken on the topic of parallel urbanism and community-driven modernization on various panels, including The Intersection of Architecture & Public Art for Innovative Community Revitalization at the Center for Architecture 2011; The Social Life of Public Spaces at the Venice Biennale 2012; and The Future of Work panel at World Architecture Day 2013.
We collectively believe that lives can be improved through thoughtfully designed spaces by pushing the boundaries of design, technology and community participation.
What we do:
High-level planning and thinking about what kind of intervention would create the maximum impact for the client and community. This could involve creating partnerships with local organizations, outreach and research pertaining to the community and context.
Development of experiential intervention ideas based on both research and intuition. This could take the shape of a storyboard, schematics, sketches, 3D renderings or animations, or 3D models.
From hand sketches and quick-and-dirty Photoshop visualizations, we develop 3D forms and renderings. We work closely with vendors and manufacturers to provide them with schematics. Whenever possible, we test prototypes in the studio, where we all get to interact with the objects we design.
Development of stories and data art using interactive media, videos, animations and more. We develop content that best tells the story or represents the data.
Using cutting-edge open source technologies, we explore, discover, and bring to life our experience design through natural user interfaces, and collect and analyze data for deeper understanding of the contexts in which we work. Services include: physical computing, prototyping, web applications, big data design, and projection mapping.
URBAN MATTER INC.
139 Plymouth Street #409, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Applying for Interships
We’re always on the look out for skilled and enthusiastic interns. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know a little bit about yourself and your work, including a link to your website. Please put “Internship Application: Your Name Here” in the subject line.
Applying for JobsAs a small studio we do not hire often, but we’re always on the look out for talented people to work with. Email us at email@example.com and please include a link to your website. Please put “Job Application: Your Name Here” in the subject line.
Valeria Bianco - director design operations
Valeria is an accomplished creative director and product designer. She graduated from the Politecnico di Torino with a degree in Industrial Design. She has been working in New York City for over ten years and has an extensive background in product, packaging, furniture, interior, and environmental design. Valeria’s career started with world-renowned designer Karim Rashid, with whom she worked for six years on a wide range of products in furniture and exhibition designs. Through Karim’s studio she has brought products to market for furniture companies in the United States and abroad. Valeria's exploratory nature has prompted her to tackle a variety of fields within the design spectrum, from product to packaging to environmental and humanitarian design. A connection between these diverse interests is found in her dedication to excellence in design and her desire to create meaningful design experiences.
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Danielle Christophe - design researcher
Danielle is a design researcher and strategist with a background in journalism and graphic design. Originally a D.C. native, she now resides in New York City where she received her MFA in Trandisciplinary design from Parsons The New School for Design. As part of her practice, Danielle uses design research and systems thinking to interpret the challenge at hand, translating it into actionable research that leads to the articulation of the elegant solution. She has applied her unique approach to strategic problem solving in collaboration with organizations including FEMA, The Red Cross, Memorial Sloane-Kettering and Partnership for Parks.
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Tracey Hill - communications manager
Originally from New Zealand, Tracey received an MA in Creative Writing from Victoria University, Wellington. Her fiction has been published in numerous journals, including A Public Space and Sport, and she is the recipient of several fellowships and awards, including the Glenn Schaeffer Award, a year-long fellowship to attend the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She worked in publishing for many years as an editor. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she works as a writer and editor.
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Marcel Marquez - junior designer
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Shagun Singh - principal
Shagun is an interaction designer with a background in architecture. She received her Masters from the Interactive Telecommunications Program at Tisch School of Arts, NYC, and completed her undergrad studies at the Center for Environmental Planning and Technology at Ahmedabad, India. Her work focuses on bridging the gap between people, technology, and spaces. Before starting Urban Matter Inc, Shagun worked in acclaimed design and architecture studios like frog, C&G Partners, 2x4, Antenna Design, Method Inc, SOM, and Local Projects. In the educational realm she has worked for the National Institute of Design in India and in NYU’s Advanced Media Studio as a design and technology consultant. Shagun is passionate about design and technology, and their impact on the urban environment. She also runs Designwala, a blog that looks at design thinking in the developing world.
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Rick Lin - principal
Rick Lin is an artist and creative technologist with a background in sculpture, photography, and filmmaking. After receiving his degree in Fine Arts from Oberlin College in 1996, he went on to broadcast television and filmmaking, working for public relations firm Burson-Marsteller. Always interested in innovation and creative thinking, Rick joined Meaningful Machines in 2001, where he worked on a small, elite team of technologists developing artificial intelligence, distributed programming, big data, data mining, natural language translation, and specialized search engines for web applications. After a decade of developing in a start up environment, he left to pursue his creative side at Urban Matter Inc, where he lends his diverse skills to projects involving new media/ film /TV and social media applications for internet and interactive installations.
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