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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.


Renovated Faculty and Staff Dining Hall Becomes Living Showcase of Alumni Design

Where in the world can you find a dedicated place that brings together the work of Pratt alumni under one roof?

The answer is North Hall, where the Faculty and Staff Dining Hall has recently been transformed into a smart new space completely designed, furnished, and decorated with the work of Pratt alumni—from light fixtures, window treatments, and floor tiles to furniture and artwork. Many of these works were created for companies such as Knoll, West Elm, and Starwoods Hotels & Resorts, to name a few. 

Professor Bruce Hannah (B.I.D. ’63) conceived and curated the project and Visiting Assistant Professor of Industrial Design Tanya Van Cott, AIA (B.Arch. ’93, M.I.D. ’98), designed the space. Ron Jones, Director of Food Services, served as the project manager. The dedication ceremony for the hall, held on November 21, was attended by Pratt Institute President Thomas F. Schutte.

“The renovated dining hall is a wonderful addition to the dining options on campus. It offers a unique opportunity to experience the influence of Pratt alumni on the outside world in a very personal way. I am especially grateful to Bruce and Tanya for taking the lead and managing this important project,” said Schutte.

The dining room contains close to 25 pieces from 30 designers, and the collection spans 60 years of art and design work by Pratt alumni, from the Eye Wall Clock (designed by Lucia DeRespinis, Certificate ’52, B.I.D. ’62) to track lighting (designed by Molly McGee M.I.D. ’06). 

The space is intended to serve as a home of living, experiential exhibits. Visitors can relax in a lounge chair designed by Charles Pollock (B.I.D. ’53) or dine at round tables designed by Joe D’Urso (Interior Design ’65). The room also features four exhibition spaces—the walls, a shelf display, a wall-mounted rail display, and a monitor—that allow for easy installation and presentation of art and design work by alumni, faculty, and students.

For Tanya Van Cott, this project required a very different way of working. “Normally, as a designer, you curate the objects that will go within the space. Because the objects were already curated, my challenge here was to figure out how to choose the right finishes and coordinate them to make a successful space,” she said.

The pieces selected for the room reflect diverse creative perspectives. “That’s the power of Pratt—that there are multiple points of view and outcomes to everything that we do, from furniture to art and design,” said Hannah. He noted the significant support for the project shown by alumni, whose time and donations played an important role in making it a success.

The renovated dining room is also popular with faculty, staff, and visitors. “The response has been amazing,” said Ron Jones.

Text: Marion Hammon
Images: Peter Tannenbaum

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How can I contact the editor in chief of Gateway?
February 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCaroltn

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