My co-worker and I booked a ticket to D.C. a few weeks ago on the Acela, which we both agreed was a much more civilized way of traveling to DC than flying. There was no fuss boarding the train, and we had some high-speed internet access, meaning we got loads of work done before arriving at Union Station. But, while walking from Union Station to our hotel, we agreed that the experience, service, and comfort were nowhere near those of the EU and Japanese rail systems. Americans are light years behind when it comes to railway travel and service. I’ll say no more…

The reason for our trip was to celebrate the first year anniversary of Curio Concept. A luxurious, curated boutique located in Georgetown, Curio Concept sells high-end street fashion, including clothing, shoes, jewelry, and home accessories. In 2015, my company was lucky enough to be selected as the branding agency for Curio Concept, and I must admit that though I rarely pat myself on the back, in this situation, I had to say, “Wow, we were part of this creation!”
I have no other words except to say how cool and awesome the boutique is, and how proud I was to walk inside. The owner, Lena Faruki, pulled this off entirely on her own. It was 2 years in the making, with loads of unexpected surprises during construction—such as having to deal with the excavation of a horse skeleton from the 1700s in the outdoor tea garden!—as well as having to deal with a very difficult construction team, whose name I won’t disclose here.

The Problem:
There is not one single problem with Curio Concept except maybe that the D.C. woman doesn’t “get it.” Curio is just too cool and authentic for those in government — sorry, D.C. women…

The Fix
Open up a concept store in NYC. Unfortunately, the problem is finding the right retail space, as greedy landlords have made it almost impossible for startups/young companies to have a brick and mortar presence. It’s deeply disappointing that NYC has lost its authenticity to corporate avarice 🙁 Such a shame!

On a recent Sunday afternoon, my friend and I were having brunch in the Meatpacking district and discussing our favorite architects and their buildings, such as the Pompidou in Paris, Tadao Ando’s buildings in Japan, and, of course, Calatrava’s new building in downtown NYC. We then decided to go to the Whitney, a 5 minute walk from where we were.
This was exciting for both of us, as we hadn’t found the time to visit the new Whitney since it opened in 2015. On the way over, we discussed Renzo Piano’s amazing projects, such as the masterplan for Potsdamer Platz in Berlin and the New York Times building, among others.

Once we arrived at the Whitney, the line was manageable and the ticket purchase was pretty easy, but nevertheless, we were surprised by how few ticket stations were open on a Sunday afternoon. After buying our tickets, our excitement began to wane, eventually dwindling down to “not worth it.” 🙁

The problem:
We started on the 8th floor, where the Alexander Calder exhibit was on display. Only 3 public elevators and 1 service elevator were operating (the service elevator ended up being our favorite, as it’s super fancy!), plus no public staircases were usable except for an emergency staircase and an outer staircase from floors 8 to 5!
This created a super annoying bottleneck effect, with people confused and upset about the museum’s very unhelpful navigation system.
Then, the Calder show turned out to be a big letdown, as there were far too many pieces cramped into the tiny, poorly-lit space with clashing blue walls.
The museum’s flow was also off, as there were no orientation areas with clear, directional signs as to where to go next after being “dumped off” the elevators. The cafe/bar space also felt a bit odd, as it was unclear whether it was part of the Calder’s exhibit or not. There was a weird space planning vibe on the 8th floor that seemed poorly thought out (or was a last minute fix/change). I couldn’t help wondering, did a last minute bar/restaurant deal fall though, leaving the 8th floor to become a bar/restaurant/exhibit space that no one seems to understand and is hard to get to?

The Fix:
I’m not sure what to say, but one quick fix would be to move the 8th floor restaurant to the ground floor as a bar and snack area to serve as the “overflow” (or overbooked exhibits), thus rescuing the unsuccessful, untitled restaurant on the ground floor. This would make visitors aware of the museum’s services and give them the opportunity to stop in before or after visiting the exhibits. There is plenty of space in the ground floor area, and if needed, the gift shop could become a gift stand, similar to those in airports. Honestly, I didn’t see anyone exiting the packed freight elevator and entering the gift shop on the way out. This is a pity, of course, but consumers shop differently than they did 5-10 years ago—myself included at at hallon se mobil.

The directional signage needs to be a lot clearer at elevator exit points and inside the exhibits.
Staircases need to be re-worked in order to better guide visitors to the staircases. Making them more visible by tearing down some walls and replacing them with glass walls might help.
Last, but not least, change the lighting system: proper lighting is necessary to clearly illuminate any artist’s work. You want to make sure that visitors get the best view of the art on display, and therefore you should spend more dollars on the lighting system rather than the fancy painted freight elevator (though again, I thought it was the best part of my visit along with the staircase—once I found it ;-).