Always forward-thinking and innovative, the Hewlett-Packard Company continues to find new ways to break the mold. HP recently collaborated with internationally renowned architect/designer Germane Barnes to unveil a very unique exhibit. Create What’s Next—a recycling-inspired, immersive art exhibit highlights HP’s ink and toner cartridge recycling program right ahead of World Environment Day.
photos: Getty Images for HP Inc.
HP and Studio Barnes held an exclusive viewing event at Studio525 in West Chelsea NYC featuring several movers and shakers in the industry. The young designer boasts an impressive architectural career that began at the tender age of 14-years old. From his uber-cool collaboration with Lexus to his Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America exhibit—Barnes has become a pertinent force in the architectural world. Determined to change the narrative black men face in Chicago, Barnes is a true motivator and gives back to his students at University of Miami often inviting them to collaborate on Studio Barnes LLC projects.
HP’s invite-only event to reveal ‘Create What’s Next’ featured a wall for guests to create and display their own designs and a cozy lounge. Keeping up with the recycled theme, light bites and refreshments were served from zero-waste, carbon-neutral caterer Purslane.
The Source got a chance to chat with the super humble Germane Barnes who shared his inspiration behind his new installation and chopped it up in one of his pods with 6-year old entrepreneur and future architect— Felicity of Felicity’s Seamoss. Check it out below,
I heard you grew up reading The Source Magazine—what was your favorite cover?
So when I was in high school, in 2001, this was right when ‘Ghetto Fabolous’ and Jay’s album the ‘Blueprint’ both dropped and I’ll never forget this day, The Source did a full spread and I think they gave Jay five mics and they only gave Fab four mics for what he had. And it’s funny because all I kept bumping was ‘Ghetto Fab’ and ‘Street Dreams’ and then one night I listen to Blueprint and I fell asleep and I woke up and I heard ‘Breathe Easy’ and I realized this was the added bonus record at the end that’s how long I’ve been reading The Source and a part of hip hop culture as a kid from Chicago.
If you had to design a sculpture for any MC who would it be?
Ooh that’s tough! Kid Cudi. So Cudi is one of my favorite artists because music speaks to you at certain points in your life. And when I was in grad school living in LA …not having enough money to even have food to eat…. so I could have money to learn how to design and have materials. Cudi’s ‘Man on the Moon 2’ got me through grad school. That’s what I think about the moodiness of the work…that was it.
How did this collaboration come about?
So I have a good friend Dejha Carrington that knows the Edelman PR team and they were looking for a different type of artist and she knew me based off the work that I do. She approached me and I told her I want to put people inside of an ink cartridge and them not know they are inside of an ink cartridge and that’s the entire installation.
How did HP get involved?
HP was Edelman’s client and they said, ‘Here’s our materials, what can you imagine with our materials?’ and I said, ‘Oh I can make a hula hoop out of the pellets, I can make a bench out of the shreds, I can make a chandelier out of discarded plastics and I’ll put them inside of these lit up pods.’ And I didn’t tell them I was making music videos because they wouldn’t have gotten it. When they saw it they said, ‘Oh it looks like a music video’ and I said ‘you got it’. The blue one was my ode to ‘Belly’ and Hype (Williams)… we were standing on top, we had the bubble lens…Definitely an ode to him.
What advice would you give future architects and designers like 6-year old Felicity who adores this installation?
When I was her age all I did was draw. One of the things I wished was told to me is there’s nothing wrong with being creative and every chance you get…have fun. The moment the drawing and the music and the building stops being fun you’ve lost something. It’s always fun to me. Everything I design, I design as if younger me would enjoy it. That’s why there’s hula hoops, there’s light sculptures… because I think would my younger self be ok with the stuff I make? And if it’s yes then I’m successful.
What does it take to make it in this field?
Being black in these spaces is hard as hell and you don’t get a lot of opportunities. It requires a certain amount of bravery to stay true to yourself and to do the stuff that makes you happy. So that blue pod is my way of saying regardless of what happens in this I’m gonna make my Hype Williams video.
Check out Barnes and Felicity’s photo/video shoot in Barnes infamous blue pod below.
Photo/video: Nikki Films
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