About New Lab
New Lab is a community of hardware-centric designers, engineers, and entrepreneurs leveraging advanced technologies to create meaningful new products. We offer a place and platform for inciting new paradigms in manufacturing, and seek to nurture companies that are pushing boundaries and developing the next evolution of responsible enterprises. We are home to a group of innovators working together to rethink, redesign, and launch products and companies that enrich our lives.
In 2011, the President of the Brooklyn Navy Yard invited David Belt to visit Building 128, a deserted, rotted-out, but beautiful iron skeleton of American manufacturing. David, a real estate developer and founder of Macro Sea, had a zeal for bringing historic properties back into cultural relevance. He invited his friend and sometime collaborator Scott Cohen to walk with him through the primary machine shop for every major ship launched during World Wars One and Two. David and Scott’s discussion turned to what constituted “state-of-the-art” both then and today.
The Navy Yard was where the USS Arizona was built, Squibb invented anesthesia, and opera singer Eugenia Farrar sang the first song broadcast over wireless radio. These and other innovations inspired the friends to imagine what the building should be in the future.
The historical significance of this site, coupled with a present-day need to provide NYC’s design and manufacturing community access to the tools and space it needed to address the current era of manufacturing challenges, formed the impetus for Cohen and Belt to create New Lab. Belt worked with his team at Macro Sea to design and develop the project alongside his project management firm DBI. Cohen dedicated himself to learning about the technologies and companies that would take up residence in New Lab.
The partners developed a plan that would repurpose the 51,000 sq. ft machine shop into an 84,000 sq. ft. multidisciplinary design, prototyping, and advanced manufacturing hub. Not only would the reclad Building 128 constitute a non-denominational media lab environment, it would place the variegated botany of NYC’s design and manufacturing vanguard under one roof and harness its collaborative potential.