Ida C. Benedetto, a BA/BFA graduate (Parsons' BFA Design and Technology and Lang BA History), has taken design in new directions by staging creative interventions in disused spaces. Benedetto and her co-creator, N. D. Austin, conceived The Night Heron (shown above) as a temporary speakeasy in an empty Manhattan water tower. To access the ad hoc space, guests surreptitiously entered a derelict building, mounted stairs, and climbed a ladder to the water tower.
During its seven-week existence in 2013, more than 700 visitors risked arrest to socialize in the tiny clandestine bar, which garnered the attention of the New Yorker, The Atlantic, and the New York Times. "You could go to The Night Heron only if someone who'd already gone gifted you admission. The chain of generosity brought uncommon magic to the risky experience," says Benedetto.
Other projects have included the Illicit Couples' Retreat, held at an abandoned Poconos resort, and a photo safari at Brooklyn's defunct Domino Sugar Factory, under the project moniker Sextantworks. Today Benedetto conducts design research for a range of clients, holds a senior designer position at SYPartners and a research residency at The New Museum's NEW INC cultural incubator, and lectures widely.