For the month of October – known locally in New York City by the name ‘Archtober’ because of its month-long itinerary of architecture and design events – the design hub and creative space A/D/O by Mini is hosting a dynamic installation by the British design studio, Universal, which aims to decode and articulate the iterative design process.

By no means an easy feat, the installation, which has been titled ‘On Loop’, highlights the cumulative nature of progress, while experimenting with the cyclic ideas of co-creation. Touching on elements of collective behavioual systems of Swarm Intelligence and Hive Mindsets in the creative process, the installation is structured like an assembly-line that turns back on itself, while riffing off the surrealist game, ‘Exquisite Corpse’, which layers individual marks on top of each other to create an accidental outcome that in turn serves as the foundation for new creations.

On Loop by Universal Design Studio
Photography: Andres Sebastian

To this end, ‘On Loop’ is an ever-evolving installation that feeds off the contributions of visitors who are encouraged to participate in a continuing series of looping and iterative drawing exercises. The evolving series of designs will be formed of traces and marks left over the course of the month, with the rules of engagement altering in response to trial and error to explore the balance of instruction vs. free will. At key points during the 31 days, collections of so-called completed designs will be exhibited amidst the installation structure, thus helping passers-by and participants to take stock of the results.

‘The proposal that Universal presented really aligned closely with our overall mission at A/D/O by Mini,’ explains A/D/O’s global managing director, Nate Pinsley. ‘To explore the future of design through research that very often includes trial and error.’

On Loop by Universal Design Studio
Photography: Andres Sebastian

Collaboration is such a key part of Universal’s design process that it has also thrown open the door to a series of bookable events that applies the iterative experiment to various fields of design. From clay on loop sessions, run by BKLYN Clay to a food workshop run by designer Laila Gohar and a drawing and sound session lead by artist Juan Miguel Marin, the events prove just how universal the theory can be. §