David Schwarz is a creative leader and founding partner of , a Brooklyn based design agency he co-founded back in 2006 (remember this installation of theirs?). After earning an MFA from Art Center College of Design, he landed work at noted interactive design studios before meeting his partner and launching his own firm. Since then, he’s spent his time creating brand experiences for top companies, like Nike, Google, Sonos, Uber, and more, by integrating content, interactivity, architecture, and technology. The award-winning Schwarz can be found in a number of publications, including Fast Company, Creativity, Inc. Magazine, and Cool Hunting, or speaking at conferences for AIGA, The One Show, SEGD, SXSW, AdWeek, Cannes Lions, and FITC. In recent years, he’s also become a mentor for the New Museum’s incubator program, New Inc., for art, technology, and design. In this week’s Friday Five, the busy creative shares a place he loves, two places he finds inspirational, a thing he loves, and a thing he can’t live without. Take a look.
1. A place I love:
I proposed to my wife here, in the shade of a Richard Serra sculpture. I’ve taken our kids here when they were toddlers, learning to walk beneath the grandeur of a Calder. Our company has held team offsites here for many years. On all occasions, as we wander the grounds hour after hour, the sheer scale of the place puts any challenge in perspective and teaches the power of emptiness, intervention, light and shadow, sky and landscape.
2. A place I find inspirational:
It’s one thing to view an artist’s work, but when his work, studio and home environment collapse into one, it represents a grand testament to a view on life, scale, relationships and order. A visit to Judd’s 101 Spring Street represents a moment frozen in time. It quickly becomes clear that calling him an artist is an over simplification. He had a view on the world that comes, optically, through his creation and division of space and the way he moved through those spaces to perceive and organize the world.
3. A thing I love: Citibikes
Urban scale government interventions – transportation, technical infrastructure, tree plantings, etc. – are often a lesson in how not to engage city and citizen in a successful relationship. In New York, the private/public Citibike transportation system has changed my life. I embraced the Citibike program after just a few rides, immediately giving up my allegiance to my dangerous, uncomfortable, and geared-too-high steel fixie. Now, I carry my helmet everywhere, and use Citibike to connect meeting to meeting, appointment to appointment and gain back hours of time once wasted on mass transit. There is simply nothing cool about it – no style, no nuance, no flair. But efficiency can be cool too.
4. Things I can’t live without: Notebooks
Despite every aspect of our lives trending towards a digital record, I’ve found that my brain simply cannot process information without writing it down by hand. I have a stack of notebooks on my shelf of different sizes and scales, weights and thicknesses, all dated start to finish and aligned in succession. They are a sacred record of experiences and ideas, good and bad. I rarely ever return to them because their job was done the minute I scrawled on the page and committed an idea to memory. Inside of each, I’ve implemented a mix of writing and inde, annotation and illustration. I work from front-to-back on sequential notes and recordings, and from back-to-front on my to-do lists.
5. A place I find inspirational: Wilderness
Most of my creativity is not innate; I get it from exterior sources, mixed and remixed, filtered and bent, passed through an array of emotional, visual and psychological lenses. Part of living in New York is capitalizing on those stimuli and juggling the infinite inputs at our disposal. However, I frequently covet a place that can wipe everything away and get back to basics… to emptiness. I’ve explored wilderness areas from Colorado to Costa Rica, and even reasonably nearby in Upstate New York. The act of reducing exterior stimuli to wind, light and the earth under your feet reengages my appreciation for everything else operating at volume ten.