The winner of the eleventh annual Times Square Valentine Heart Design competition has officially risen, bringing an 18-foot-tall aluminum chapel to Midtown Manhattan just in time for Valentine’s Day.

X was designed by Manhattan’s own Reddymade as a nod to Times Square’s status as a crossroads as well as the area’s sordid and seedy past. Two towering slabs of offset aluminum, each with a hole cut in the middle, have been overlaid to create a heart that appears and vanishes as visitors change their viewpoints. The installation itself seems to “kiss,” and even allows love-struck passersby to venture beneath the arch for a romantic experience.

“One of the things we’ve learned over the years about public art in Times Square is that ideally it should operate on many different levels and have a multitude of meanings,” Tim Tompkins, president of Times Square Arts, told AN. “X alludes to Times Square as an X-shaped intersection. It’s also the symbol of a kiss and a nod to the neighborhood’s XXX history. Most relevant today, it’s the mark we make to vote, representing democracy and freedom of choice for the individual.”

X was installed on February 1 and will remain on view until the end of February. AN braved the cold to tour the illuminated pavilion (but unfortunately didn’t manage to document any engagements, unlike our visit to last year’s Aranda\Lasch + Marcelo Coelho–designed Window to the Heart).

Photo of intersecting circles forming a heart

The intersecting circles form a heart when approached. (Jonathan Hilburg/AN)

The winning design for X beat out entries from Agency-Agency, Buro Koray Duman, Isometric Studio, N H D M, Only If Architecture, Splice Design, and STUDIO 397 in an invite-only design competition curated by the AIA New York. The Center for Architecture hosted an exhibition that spotlit all of the contest’s proposals until November 2, 2018, the first time the AIA has put the non-winning designs on display.

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