DESIGN EXCHANGE has renovated, redesigned and furnished one of The Ali Forney Center’s (AFC) living spaces. AFC is largest and most comprehensive organization dedicated to housing homeless LGBTQ youth. Nearly 40% of the homeless youth population is LGBTQ. Homeless LGBTQ youth are 8 times more likely to experience violence, discrimination and suicide. AFC houses 124 youths each night, and provides services to over 1,400 homeless young people per year.
Design increases connection and community: When we revamp a shelter space, history tells us that the residents spend more time in the space, more time with their peers, building connections and community; a greater sense of home.
Hierarchy and balance: We flanked the predominant wall with lighting and storage, creating an order of balance about the space. Bilateral symmetry creates order and adds an element of feature; a starting point for your eye to travel the space. Just as we need balance in space, we need difference. Spaces that are perfectly balanced often feel "hands off". By offsetting the symmetry with difference, we make the space feel cozier, more welcoming and more livable. The sectional sofa, work table, and the TV, act as difference to symmetry in the space.
We mirror our environments: One’s sense of self is challenged through traumatic experiences, such as being homeless. In addition, one's surroundings directly affect our decisions, emotional responses and the way we feel about ourselves. These shelter spaces act as the foundation for rebuilding their lives. By providing a comfortable, vibrant and welcoming environment, we improve their quality of life, their outlook and their self esteem; increasing their chances of success.
Lighting & mood: Rather than reuse the existing overhead fluorescent lighting, we wove in a new smart lighting system that offers various levels and tones of lighting throughout. Environments with ambient light sources sprinkled about are much more calming/comfortable than environments with fewer light sources above. With this new lighting system, the staff and residents are able to adjust the color temperature and dim the lighting throughout the space. Lighting and color temperature play a large role in our experience of space and time.
Nature: Like humans, every space needs its essential greens! The calming influence of plants are priceless in any environment. We utilized low-light plants such as Pothos and the Snake Plant for ease of maintenance. The residents were ecstatic that we brought in plants.
Ali Forney was a homeless youth who was kicked out of his home because of his LGBTQ identity. Ali was murdered on the streets of New York City 20 years ago. The work of the Ali Forney Center was started in his memory.
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Space Plan/Finish Concept:
We gifted a full repainting, sectional sofa, custom table, work chairs, side chairs, side tables, end tables, TV, TV console, Roku, plants, pillows, throws, decor and smart lighting.
We would like to thank the below vendors for pitching in!!!
FLOR donated rugs, Remembrance in fuchsia + Made You Look in Dark Brown
Room & Board donated the Slim Bookshelves
Allmodern donated $500 of merchandise, floor lamps, art, table lamps, and decorative objects
Paintzen provided a 50 percent discount on painting services
Aaron Thompson provided photography at a 70 percent discount
DESIGN EXCHANGE is a not-for-profit design outreach organization founded and funded by Sean Carlson Perry LLC, we thank the above donors for helping to make this project happen. To get involved, visit the DESIGN EXCHANGE website by clicking here