Universal Design Studio

Identity / Environmental

Through a variety of repeated tasks, the On Loop installation at A/D/O allows participants to test whether the whole is really greater than the sum of its parts.


Repetitive tasks are known to be relaxing, therapeutic, and can even send the mind into a trance-like state. But what role do they play in the creative process? The On Loop installation at A/D/O in Brooklyn invites visitors to partake in such monotonous activities, becoming part of an experiment that will inform Universal Design Studio’s ongoing research into how behavioural patterns and assumptions affect design processes and outcomes.

To coincide with the Archtober festival, taking place across New York City all this month, A/D/O collaborated London-based Universal on the interactive exhibit, which relies on groups of people to produce a particular piece of design – each individual effectively performing as a cog in a machine.


The project developed from a previous iteration, On Repeat, which Universal presented at the 2017 London Design Festival. Similarly, it involves multiple participants working collaboratively on an array of repetitive manual tasks. “Instead of solitary tasks, it relies on people working together,” Universal co-directors Jason Holley and Paul Gulati told The Journal. “Circular activities that loop around and explore iteration.”

Throughout the month, visitors to the space will be met with a set of instructions that will outline various tasks to be completed. These will include simple drawing and making exercises, with the aim to achieve cumulative outputs – in a cross between an Exquisite Corpse game and a production line.


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