Urban design firm Urban Umbrella took center stage at Design Miami/ 2022, providing its new Art Activation product for an exhibit hosted by Jason Jacques Gallery. Known for its high-caliber arching white sidewalk scaffolding throughout New York City, where it markets the only alternative to traditional scaffolding, Urban Umbrella’s new Art Activation product incorporates elements of its scaffolding for utilization in creative non-construction-related use-cases. Jason Jacques Gallery commissioned the new product as a multi-level structure ensconcing Finnish ceramic sculptor Kim Simonsson’s Moss People. The green epoxy-covered and flocked clay figures are playfully positioned atop, beneath, besides, and around the Urban Umbrella, which visitors can walk through.
When Jacques saw Urban Umbrella’s sidewalk scaffolding in New York City, where his gallery is located, he knew it had to be incorporated into his exhibition of Simonsson’s work. “When I saw the Urban Umbrella scaffolds on Madison Avenue for the first time,” he exclaimed, “it was like flash, boom! We’d displayed Kim’s work on a scaffolding installation at Design Miami/ before so this fit perfectly into a running theme— but it’s elevated. I knew I had to stage a fair with them and Kim's insane green magic was the perfect fit.”
Best known as a design company re-imagining scaffolding with beauty and security in mind, this is not the first time Urban Umbrella has delved into the art, fashion and event arenas. The company first launched its Art Activation product in New York with WXY Architecture and Uber Eats in 2021 to construct elegant canopies that displayed local artists’ work. This past summer, Urban Umbrella’s Art Activation product was also featured by the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., who utilized the Urban Umbrella system as a vessel for The Playhouse, an interactive, immersive exhibition. Urban Umbrella’s Event Activation product is currently installed in New York City at Bank of America’s annual Bryant Park Winter Village. Urban Umbrella has also participated in multiple seasons of New York Fashion Week and has curated dozens of Brand Activations at luxury retail storefronts.
The push to develop and market non-scaffolding products has not been an accident, says Founder and CEO Benjamin Krall. “Over the last year,” he noted, “we have been extremely focused on using our unique product and design capabilities to reach new audiences beyond just construction. We saw an opportunity to penetrate new industries,” he continued, “by transforming our premium scaffold material for creative utilization beyond its traditional use-case. We are the first company to provide a modular structurally-engineered product that can be put to use across the arts, entertainment, fashion and retail sectors.”
While this is not the first Urban Umbrella Art Activation, it is Urban Umbrella’s first project in Miami, a city that the company hopes to further introduce its many products to. Krall mentioned that “Urban Umbrella plans to launch its construction scaffolding product in Miami in 2023. Presently undergoing a significant construction boom and known for its appreciation for aesthetics, we think Miami will be a great city for our products.” Urban Umbrella recently launched in Nashville and Dallas-Ft. Worth, bringing its total number of markets to nine.
The Urban Umbrella Art Activation with Jason Jacques Gallery is located at Design Miami/ 2022, booth #G07 and will be on display through December 4th.
Jason Jacques Gallery is an American contemporary art gallery specializing in artists working in clay. Over its thirty year history, the gallery has both made its mark building museum collections of late 19th century European Art Pottery and become renowned for exhibiting some of the most exciting and influential international contemporary ceramic artists. Jason began his career in Europe three decades ago, combing through flea markets and antique shops for star pieces to send back to American dealers. He returned with a specialty in what he calls the Art Pottery Renaissance of the late-19th century— works by Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer, Ernest Chaplet, Clément Massier, Georges Hoentschel, and the like.
Urban Umbrella is the designer, patent holder, and fabricator of the only alternative to traditional sidewalk scaffolding approved by the New York City Department of Buildings. In 2009, the company beat out over 260 contestants to win an international city-organized design competition aimed at creating a safer, more attractive, pedestrian-conscious alternative to traditional sidewalk scaffolding. In addition to sidewalk scaffolding and overhead protection, the company also provides canopies and event staging systems, custom façade netting, construction fencing, and level-five walls. Urban Umbrella is live in nine cities at present, including recent launches in Nashville and Dallas-Ft. Worth, and is coming soon to Austin and Montréal. Additional information about Urban Umbrella is available at https://www.urbanumbrella.com/.