Design for Freedom | Pilot Projects

Pilot Projects are the next step in the Design for Freedom movement.

 As early adopters of Design for Freedom, Pilot Project teams accelerate the movement by raising awareness of the pressing humanitarian issue of forced labor in the building materials supply chain.

Together, Grace Farms Foundation and the new Pilot Projects are modeling transparent and forced labor free supply chains and demonstrating design principles in action by creating a tangible example of a more humane built environment. 

As of spring 2022, there are five Design for Freedom Pilot Projects in the U.S. and abroad. Each of these projects is open and accessible to the public. Additional international projects will be announced later this year. 

Serpentine Pavilion 2022 Black Chapel designed by Theaster Gates. Design render, interior view
© 2022 Theaster Gates Studio, courtesy: Serpentine

Black Chapel by Theaster Gates (21st Serpentine Pavilion)

The Black Chapel by Theaster Gates, is the first international Design for Freedom by Grace Farms project. As Responsible Materials Advisor, Grace Farms is working with the Pavilion project team to enhance material transparency and prioritize ethical procurement. 

Entitled Black Chapel, the 21st Serpentine Pavilion is designed by Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates with the architectural support of Adjaye Associates.

The Serpentine Pavilion, at the Serpentine Galleries, which began in 2000 with Zaha Hadid, has been designed and built by some of the biggest names in international architecture. In recent years it has grown into a highly-anticipated showcase foremerging talents, from last year’s Sumayya Vally, Counterspace (South Africa), the youngest architect to be commissioned, and Frida Escobedo (Mexico), SANAA (Japan), Diebedo Francis, Kere (Burkina Faso), and BjarkeIngels (Denmark), whose 2016 Pavilion was the most visited architectural and design exhibition in the world.

Read More in the Press Release

Harriet Tubman Monument Rendering

Harriet Tubman Monument

The new Harriet Tubman Monument in Newark, NJ, which is designed by architect, artist, and United States Artists Fellow Nina Cooke John, and will open in late summer. The two-story monument, Shadow of a Face, replaces a statue of Christopher Columbus.

The Monument provides the opportunity for the public to walk inside of it and around it, so that they can connect with Harriet Tubman, her story, and extraordinary legacy. Cooke John’s commitment to transparent sourcing of materials is a powerful message about the desire to design and build forced labor free.    

Chelsea Thatcher, Creative Director & Chief Advancement Officer, Grace Farms Foundation, and Sunil Kant Munjal, Founder Patron of Serendipity Arts, announce a new Arts and Culture Center at the Design for Freedom Summit, March 2022

Arts and Culture Center, located in New Delhi, India

“A new center for arts and culture will be designed for accessibility, inclusion, sustainability, fairness, and as a welcoming place to all. I want to compliment Sharon Prince and Grace Farms for setting up this Summit. In the arts and cultural center that Serendipity Arts is setting up in New Delhi, we are hoping to make this a model project, and we are delighted to partner with Grace Farms to turn this into a Design for Freedom Project,” said Sunil Kant Munjal, Founder Patron of Serendipity Arts.”

New Canaan Library Addition Rendering

New Canaan Library

The New Canaan Library, in New Canaan, CT, is the first Design for Freedom building project in the U.S. 

Design for Freedom is partnering with New Canaan Library on a new state-of-the-art knowledge and learning center, to explore and pursue the use of low-risk materials – materials less likely to be sourced through forced labor – during the building’s construction.

Throughout the process, Design for Freedom will collaborate with Centerbrook Architects, Turner Construction, and 21 subcontractors to trace raw and composite (engineered from two or more materials) building materials as far as possible within the supply chain. The new library project began construction in late fall 2021. 

Much like Grace Farms, libraries bring communities together and disseminate knowledge, resources, and stimulate conversation.  Grace Farms and the Library’s collective commitment and shared work will provide key data and research that advances the movement and serves as a replicable example of what is possible when transparency is brought to the global building materials supply chain.

Temporal Shift Sculpture shown at Grace Farms, by artist Alyson Shotz | Photo by: Melanie Lust

Temporal Shift by Alyson Shotz

Temporal Shift by Alyson Shotz is a new, site-responsive sculpture that interacts with natural light and animates an interior courtyard of the SANAA-designed River building at Grace Farms, describing time as the seasons change. Fabricating and installing the work in summer 2021 presented the opportunity to align the process of bringing this exciting work to the public with the ever-expanding framework of analysis, inquiry, and collaboration demonstrated by Design for Freedom.

Grace Farms Foundation worked with Design for Freedom Working Group members Joe Mizzi and Jay Gorman from Sciame to trace the stainless steel and concrete used in Temporal Shift to ascertain sources and labor inputs. 

The process of applying an ethical framework to the sourcing of materials for the sculpture installation made clear that ethical sourcing is possible and 100% of the steel and concrete used in Temporal Shift was ethically sourced.