About Gateway

Gateway was the community newsletter of Pratt Institute published monthly by the Office of Communications, in the Division of Institutional Advancement through spring 2014. For current Pratt-related news, visit the News page on Pratt’s website.


Student Spotlight

David Krawczyk

Industrial Design, Class of 2013


You recently placed as one of four runners-up in the nationwide Roommate of the Year contest, sponsored by Apartments.com. Tell us about it.

My video, The Accumulation, was a runner up with a prize of $500. (The grand prize was $10,000 plus free rent for a year.) The short film that I produced details the collection of curbside finds that I recovered on nightly walks. My roommate, Colin Kelly, was initially against the idea though eventually became integral in rescuing goods before they were hauled off to the landfills. Rescued items include lamps, speakers, eight-track stereos, TVs, to name a few. The items that I can not fix I take apart to determine how they failed. I often save parts for inspiration for design projects.

What advice do you have for others scouting for curbside finds to refurbish their living quarters?

Whenever I went out after nightfall, I went with my roommate. Also, despite the term “dumpster diving,” we only carried away items that were set outside of containers. Electronics, lamps, tables, etc. are often set next to the black plastic bags so identifying the condition of our finds was done quickly to eliminate any lingering.

What other precautions should one take in picking up something?

New York City is being infested with bedbugs. Furniture that is not solid wood or metal should not be picked up. Anything else basically has the same risks as purchasing something from a second-hand store. Also, recently there was an article about a man being fined for going around with a vehicle collecting scrap. We went on foot. One should be informed of the laws regarding trash collection.

What’s the best treasure you’ve ever found on the street?

I've had several great finds. I don't want to specify to avoid increasing my competition.

What’s your most recent curbside acquisition?

A desk lamp.

Where are you from?

Roanoke, Virginia.

What brought you to Pratt?

Pratt was my first choice. I originally came for Advertising Art Direction, for which New York is the national center. However, finding things and fixing them up for use in the dorm instead of buying them new (out of frugality) reminded me of how much I enjoyed making things when I was younger. This, in addition to Foundation classes, helped me decide to change my major to industrial design. 

Now that you’re a sophomore, do you still have a roommate?

No, I’m actually a resident advisor in a freshman dorm. I've reduced my collection considerably to allow space for residents to come by and talk. 

Where will your prize money go?

Towards the materials that I need for classes, that can’t be found on the street.

To see the video entry David produced, click below.


Photo courtesy of David Krawczyk

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Reader Comments (2)

Congratulations, David!

September 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterŽaneta Zubkova

When I was at Pratt from 1974-1977, we descended en masse on stuff left on neighborhood curbs - kitchen items from the 1940s, tailored jackets from the 1950s. I still use some of the wooden-handled cooking utensils, and I regret later giving away one particularly terrific jacket. Ft. Greene streets were dangerous then, but underneath the crime it was a great neighborhood with a lot of personal history. We didn't fix and resell things the way David has brilliantly done, but the rich urban life in the neighborhood started me on a life of reusing and recycling.

October 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

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