Hi, I’m Jerry Van Eyck. I’m a Principal with !melk. !melk is a firm for landscape architecture and urban design. We’re based in Manhattan. We have a beautiful view over the city where we have projects. So, here in town, but also in other cities around the country and around the world. People know our work as being unique, fresh and optimistic. Our projects are always based on their context and based on bringing out the unique identity of the place. In 2011, Brown University commissioned us to work with them on a master plan for the expansion of their campus from their current College Hill campus into the downtown of the city. The master plan consisted of a pedestrian bridge, a new park, the comprehensive streetscape and a new public space. Since our projects are always inspired by their context, we looked at the history of the Jewelry District and its place in history for providence. The Jewelry District was once a very thriving area with warehouses and manufacturing buildings, and it had its own port. Making a streetscape master plan, a public realm there, the logical thing for us to do was bring elements of that history together. The pictures show beautiful buildings, streetcars, and paved streets and sidewalks paved with cobblestones. Of course, the cobblestones aren’t relevant or legal today in terms of court compliance and ADA loss. What we did was come up with an idea to see in we can use current product, tweak it in a way that we can basically revive the feel, the texture of the past. Because of the unique nature of what we wanted to establish, we knew that we had to find a good, reliable partner, a creative partner that we could work with and develop this product with. Out of the usual names in the field, we found Unilock. And immediately we had a really good feeling with them because the Unilock team was very eager to understand what we were trying to achieve. So by combining attributes of two Unilock products, Copthorne® and Courtstone®, we were able to develop this whole new palette. What was missing though was one colour to achieve that texture that we were looking for, that historic feel. The Unilock team offered to work with us in developing a new colour and we did it. And the colour is called !melk Blue. We tested it out in the field to get the exact balance of colours, the right blend. We talked about the paving patterns that we wanted to use and how to combine them, especially how to install the paving. The Unilock teams’ role was crucial. The area where once was a very ugly parking lot is now a very successful public space around which Brown University will continue to build their campus. For our project in Las Vegas that we are currently working on together, we are achieving great results. They have custom capabilities important for our large projects, and with Unilock we have a great new partner.
!melk Partners with Unilock
Brown University commissioned !melk to create a master plan unifying the extension of the downtown campus into the Jewelry District of Providence, Rhode Island. Drawing on the history of the area, the designs included marine-like patterning and historic cobbles for the sidewalks, pedestrian spaces and a new public square. Sourcing the right products and the right partners is key to the success of every project. Watch as Jerry transforms the area that “once was a very ugly parking lot” into an enjoyable public space.
About the firm
!melk is an award-winning urban design and landscape architecture firm based in Manhattan. Established by Jerry van Eyck in 2010, they are dedicated to large master plans and landscape interventions, drawing on over 20 years of conceptualizing, designing and realizing projects that areinspired by context and designed with a blend of common sense and place-making.