Tag Archives: Manhattan

REA New Hire – Noelle Pistilli

REA welcomes new Creative Services Director, Noelle Pistilli.  Here’s a few things we’ve learned about her:

1)    Where are you from originally?

I’m originally from Manhattan, but grew up mostly in Bergen County, NJ.

2)    What do you hope to achieve here? / What are some goals you’re excited about working towards at REA?

I hope to bring a unique perspective to REA’s clients’ projects, by offering creative ideas and insights. Some of my goals include expanding REA’s existing pool of creative talent by finding new and talented photographers, print professionals, videographers, and web developers. Another goal of mine is to find cutting-edge and unique print executions that REA can present to their clients. Such things as incorporating creative packaging, use of unique papers and print techniques, and concentrating on the details, helping REA’s clients stand out from the rest.

3)    What are some of your favorite things about the creative advertising & design industry?

I’m naturally a creative person, so I excel in creative environments, especially where new ideas are openly welcome and accepted. REA has an extremely creative environment, one where every team member is encouraged to share their unique ideas and experiences.

I think that design has a bigger influence on people’s lives than they realize. Just walking down the block to grab a cup of coffee, the average person encounters an overwhelming amount  of both  good and bad design. Inevitably effecting your mood and decision on where you’re going to buy that cup of coffee.

 4)    What are your favorite spots in the city?

I like trying out as many places around the city as possible, so if I don’t love it I usually won’t go back. Some favorite spots are: LES, Central Park, Union Square, and parts of Chelsea.

5)    What inspires you most?

I get inspired by sharing ideas and learning from other creative people. Also, by scrolling through lots of design blogs, magazines, movies, and listening to some of my favorite bands.

6)    List a few hobbies you enjoy.

I enjoy experimenting with photography, DIY projects at home, getting outside as often as possible, finding new bands, and movies of the indie variety.

7)    Any advice on treating clients? What’s your philosophy when it comes to doing your job well?

I think the best advice when it comes to clients is that you have to treat each person as an individual. Everyone has their own personality and methods of getting work done. Being a chameleon and able to adapt to each client’s unique ways, I think, is key to keeping clients happy and confident that you’ll get the job done well.

Photos on 9/11

REA Designer Anthony “Chip” Fernandez snapped some shots of lower Manhattan on the night of September 11, 2011.  These photos capture the two rows of lights beaming from the ground up from the World Trade Center site, piercing the Manhattan skyline and illuminating the cloudy sky.  He took them with a Canon G10 on an auto setting with no flash.  These were taken from Exchange Place in Jersey City.

Real Estate Arts designer Chip Fernandez masterfully captures a 9/11 moment

Real Estate Arts designer Chip Fernandez masterfully captures a 9/11 moment

Real Estate Arts designer Chip Fernandez brilliantly captures a 9/11 moment.

Real Estate Arts designer Chip Fernandez brilliantly captures a 9/11 moment.

Real Estate Arts Designer Anthony "Chip" Fernandez snapped some shots of lower Manhattan on the night of September 11, 2011

Real Estate Arts designer Chip Fernandez perfectly captures a 9/11 moment.

The World Financial Center: REA Design Process

REA Director of Design Irasema Rivera called her very first project at REA “a progressive challenge” — in the most positive of terms.  The World Financial Center’s design process — from the initial look and feel to the printed piece — took the creative team about 2 months to complete.  Under Rivera’s guidance, they created a vision that would highlight the three major qualities of this new development: the high-end retail, excellent accessibility, and regrowth of this post 9/11 neighborhood.

Irasema: The retail was envisioned to be high-end, a completely new retail experience for the consumer, different from how they may be experiencing it today.  So we went for a look that would bring in that sense of fashionable, luxurious retail throughout the design.  The second piece was the accessibility–that the WFC would be extremely easy to get to due to the addition of the West Street entrance, as well as the new Fulton Street Transit hub.

Last but not least, there was the neighborhood–an area that was blooming again in the decade following 9/11.  A project like WFC was proof that businesses as well as residents were committed to bringing the neighborhood back, and expanding upon it.  So we focused on images and phrases that would really highlight what the WFC had to offer throughout the day and also at night… from beautiful scenery and a great neighborhood for business, to the dazzling nightlife of clubs and restaurants.

The inspiration for the logo came, in part, from the idea that the WFC was painting a new vision for itself — one that included a curated, considered experience — similar to something one would experience in an art gallery. Since the World Financial Center is near the water, I thought that the brush strokes of a water color painting would work for the logo. I did an initial set of drawings on tracing paper using a wide marker. After about the third one, I knew we had it … but we did another 20-30 just to be certain. Once selected, we scanned the drawing and then converted it to vector outline artwork in Illustrator.

Dissecting the Art of Coffee

By REA Designer Mark Thrapp

In my opinion there is but one thing that serves as the ultimate vehicle for artistic expression — food.  And, by extension, the restaurants that serve it.

Why is food the ultimate vehicle?  It’s about the only creative work that can stimulate every sense all at once and do so on both a visceral and heady level.  The aroma. The plating. The texture. The flavor.  Even its sound (e.g., fajitas).  Then add to that the ambiance of the restaurant.  The décor. The music. The service. The vast possibilities in combining these elements into an inundation of all the senses, all at once, gives the artist (i.e., chef) greater sway over the emotions of the observer/eater of their art than Picasso or Rembrandt ever could.  But the food need not be haut cuisine of a world-renowned chef to elicit a rapturous response.  Goulash served in a dive can do just as well.

Coffee is my current realm of cuisine snobbery.  I tend to be hardcore when it comes to coffee — finding myself only enjoying espresso or ibrik coffee preparations.  It is in these preparations that the barista becomes more than a pusher of caffeine, and becomes an artist of great sensitivity and skill.  A barista can make or break a cup of espresso or ibrik coffee, even if the perfect bean, roast and equipment were used.  I’ve noticed that for as much coffee as New Yorkers drink, there just is no quality in the average cup.  I’ve searched NYC for good coffee and could find nothing.  Then just in the past five years, slowly but surely, quality coffee shops started to crop up here and there.   I’ve tried well over 100 restaurants and coffee shops in the city and have found only three to be of the best quality.  Here’s my list:

1) The best cup, by a significant margin, is O Café located on the corner of 6th Avenue and 12th Street in Manhattan.  Drinking their espresso is like drinking chocolate.  I don’t even need to add sugar to my macchiato; the caramelization and the créma from the extraction are so sweet on their own.  From the bean to the barista, O Café knows their coffee.  The downside to O Café is that its ambiance is a bit rigid and uncomfortable.  Still, I regularly commute to the city all the way from Astoria on the weekends specifically to have just one macchiato at O Café and then head back home.  I’m quite lazy, so that’s saying something.

2) A recent discovery for me was 71 Irving Place Coffee & Tea Bar located on Irving Place near 19th Street in Manhattan.  I have not had the chance to test their consistency, but the few times I’ve gone for my espresso the results were quite good.  Their ambiance is considerably better than, and their coffee came in a close second to, O Café.  The neighborhood is also quite inviting.

3) New in Astoria, Queens is Kickshaw, is located on Broadway near Steinway.  They serve the best espresso-based coffee in Astoria and are a close second to O Café.  Their baristas are definitely artists, with methods and a style that are more refined and precise than any place I’ve witnessed on the East Coast.  I go there quite often.

Honorable mention goes to Terrizzi’s Bakery in Astoria, who made the best espresso in Astoria until Kickshaw opened its doors.  At Terrizzi’s the quality was more in the bean than in the barista, but still very good, and their espresso complemented their quality pastries quite well.

Joe The Art of Coffee, having several locations in the city, used to be my favorite a few years ago, but has since been overshadowed by those mentioned above.  They still make a good cup, though.

It all comes down the artistry of the barista and the quality of the bean, roast, water and equipment.  Coffee is an art.

Across the East River

This year’s 4th of July fireworks were shown over the Hudson, but instead of fighting the crowds on the West Side, REA Designer Anthony “Chip” Fernandez decided to get a unique perspective from the other side — in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

This shot was taken using a Canon Powershot Elph 300 HS on automatic setting, with Manhattan silhouetted against the backdrop of the firework glow and sparkle.