Putting up the Holiday Lights

Hou de Sousa’s Flatiron Holiday Design installation is open

Ziggy frames views of the surrounding landmarks while also offering gateways and seating for pedestrians and visitors. (Cameron Blaylock)

Last week, the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership and Van Alen Institute unveiled the winning design of the sixth annual Flatiron Public Plaza Holiday Design Competition in the flesh. The colorful, “kaleidoscopic” Ziggy lights up the plaza with 27,000 feet of iridescent cord and painted rebar while also serving as seating for visitors. 

Aerial photo of the plaza in front of the Flatiron Building with lit-up pavilion

An aerial view of Ziggy located between Broadway, 5th Avenue, and 23rd Street in Manhattan. (Cameron Blaylock)

Created by the New York-based architecture and design studio Hou de Sousa, Ziggy encourages a rethinking of how we view and interact with others in public space. “Ziggy is a polyvalent creature that strings together gateways, apertures, and seating,” said Josh de Sousa, principal and co-founder of Hou de Sousa, in a recent press release. “This porous wall will welcome folks arriving from all directions while ringing in the holiday season with a flourish of color and light.” It is described on the designer’s website as a “moment of respite” and a “kaleidoscopic beacon, designed for the people of New York.”

The installation is the centerpiece of the district’s “23 Days of Flatiron Cheer” events, as the pavilion’s winding form frames the area’s attractions and landmarks (both the Empire State Building and, of course, the Flatiron Building) while creating filters of shifting color, pattern, and light across all its surroundings. “This competition continues to demonstrate the importance of both public art and programming in DOT public plazas,” said NYC DOT art and event programming director, Emily Colasacco. “Hou de Sousa’s interactive larger-than-life-size configuration will bring even more color to the already vibrant Flatiron district.” 

Photo of people moving below lit-up neon arches

Hou de Sousa’s Ziggy has been described as a “kaleidoscopic beacon” designed for the people of New York. (Cameron Blaylock)

Ziggy will be on view and open to the public (weather permitting) through January 1, 2020, at the intersection of Broadway, 5th Avenue, and 23rd Street. Throughout the holidays, the Partnership is encouraging visitors to use #ZiggyFlatiron to share images of the installation on social media for the chance to win prizes from local businesses.

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