Going Analog To Build Solutions With Greater Democratic Appeal

Going Analog To Build Solutions With Greater Democratic Appeal

A collaborative art installation by Prodigy Network at Social Media Week NYC is a visual exploration of the transformative power of the crowd.

  • 12 february 2014

PSFK has partnered with real-estate crowdfunding company Prodigy Network to crowdsource the designs for their most recent project 17John, an innovative hotel in the heart of New York City’s Financial District. This series of articles provides inspiration for readers wishing to be a part of the project and join the crowd in designing the first Cotel.

As we prepare for the upcoming Social Media Week in NYC, we can surely expect some exciting conversations around the growing cultural and economic impact of digital technology in our world today. At the core of many of these conversations will be the idea of leveraging ‘the crowd’ to reframe modern problems and their solutions for the collective benefit.

At the same time, collaboration over digital channels is just a modern iteration of an exercise that has taken analog form since the dawn of mankind. Amidst the digital buzz, we’ve been interested in a growing movement re-emphasizing a slower pace of life, allowing people to unwind or unplug from their digital devices and in some instances, collaborate in person. At SMW this year “Unplugged Playground,” is one such dedicated space, featuring a collaborative installation by mural artist Rafael Esquer of New York based Alfalfa Studio. Created by Prodigy Network, the project will be a visual exploration of the transformative power of the crowd. Guests will first experience a blank canvas – a totally white room representing the live-in guest suites that will become part of the design for the world’s first Cotel, 17John. The term Cotel, first coined by Prodigy Network and PSFK, is a personal hub where work, play and leisure co-mingle to uniquely meet the needs of the modern business traveler.

One company exploring the impact of the crowd on new business models is Prodigy Network – the same company that used crowdfunding to build BD Bacata, Colombia’s tallest skyscraper – is hosting a panel at SMW exploring how social media can catalyze systemic change in fields such as real estate. Kicking off on February 17, attendees of SMW will be welcomed into the “Unplugged Playground” located in the Interactive Gallery at the SMW HQ Highline Stages to add their personal mark to the space by drawing a picture, writing a message or anything else they wish to explore. To fully engage the community beyond the “walls” of the installation, Prodigy Network is asking guests to further engage the crowd by checking into “Unplugged Playground” and sharing their creations via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram including the hashtag #MyCotel.


In attaching value to the strategies that the crowd can impose, Prodigy is looking to gather solutions from the people affected by the problem, in order to have greater democratic appeal, satisfaction and success. At Social Media Week in NYC next week Prodigy Network – the same company that used crowdfunding to build BD Bacata, Colombia’s tallest skyscraper – is hosting a panel at SMW exploring how social media can catalyze systemic change in fields such as real estate.

These challenges to an efficient yet enriching travel experience should provide inspiration for design teams looking to participate in the competition to create the first Cotel in New York City.

Prodigy Network is known as a pioneer in crowdfunding for real estate. In 2009—after more than 29 projects—Prodigy Network developed an innovative investment model for crowdfunding in real estate, becoming the world’s leading platform in the field. By doing so, Prodigy introduced a way of democratizing investment opportunities for large-scale projects. Prodigy Network believes that community and transparency are essential to success in real estate. 


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