Today is Valentine's Day, and what better place to celebrate than Times Square? (If you're already doubting my taste and/or sanity, suspend your cynicism for a moment, enjoy this placating 💖 emoji, and read on.) Each year, the Times Square Alliance invites emerging New York architects to deliver a heart-themed installation to the Crossroads of the World, and this year, its competition jury selected New York– and Tucson, Arizona–based Aranda\Lasch + Marcelo Coelho (head of design at Formlabs) to design Window to the Heart, a piece that doubles as the world's largest Fresnel lens and provides a nice public place to make googly eyes at your boo. Working with 3-D printing manufacturer Formlabs, Aranda\Lasch and Coelho printed each segment of the 12-foot-wide lens using clear resin in lieu of glass. The lens bends the light emanating from billboards and signage to give visitors an ideal selfie sphere, or a place to pick gunk from your teeth before smooching your paramour. According to the Times Square Alliance, which is throwing a fête at the installation today, three couples are using the space as a wedding venue, and three more are planning to propose to their partners. In honor of the heart-fest, AN Products Editor Gabrielle Golenda swooped into Times Square to talk Valentine's Day with couples standing near Window to the Heart: Among the visitors were DJ Drewski, host of a late-night program on New York's Hot 97, and his fiancée Sky Landish, a fitness model. The pair spoke with Golenda about their romantic sojourn: "I think it's beautiful," Landish said. She is clutching a resin panel that was printed onsite by Formlabs: The couple—who got engaged yesterday—said they plan to frame it along with a picture of themselves and hang it in their home. Cute! Planning a visit? The installation will be up near the TKTS booth at Father Duffy Square, between 46th and 47th Streets, through the end of the month. More information on Window to the Heart can be found on Times Square Arts’ website.
Posts tagged with "Times Square Valentine Heart Pavilion":
The Design Trust for Public Space and Times Square Arts have selected Aranda\Lasch + Marcelo Coelho as winners of the 2018 Times Square Valentine Heart Design competition, an annual event that brings a love-themed sculpture to the Crossroads of the World. This year's installation, Window to the Heart, leverages 3D printing to capture the Instagram zeitgeist. The project team collaborated with Formlabs to design a 12-foot-wide 3D-printed Fresnel lens to collect and morph Times Square's lights through a central, heart-shaped aperture. Each segment will be printed using transparent resin in lieu of glass, a material reflection on the changing nature of image capture and dissemination. Laufs Engineering Design – LED is providing structural engineering services for the project. Aranda\Lasch is a New York– and Tucson, Arizona–based design and architecture studio directed by Benjamin Aranda, Chris Lasch and Joaquin Bonifaz. The firm's Exhibit Columbus installation, Another Circle, dropped over 1,000 pieces of salvaged Indiana limestone into a city park to create Stonehenge-like spaces for conversation, theater, and relaxation. Lasch teaches at the School of Architecture at Taliesin, and Aranda teaches at Cooper Union. The other team member, Marcelo Coelho, is a computation designer who lectures at MIT's Department of Architecture and serves as Head of Design at Formlabs. His recent work includes an audiovisual installation for the 2016 Paralympics, as well as Sandcastles, a project with artist Vik Muniz that used old and new photographic techniques to etch images onto grains of sand. "Times Square is a symbol for how we experience our world," Aranda\Lasch + Marcelo Coelho said, in a prepared statement. “ It is a physical manifestation of our culture, one dispersed and absorbed through cameras and screens. And in this culture, to fall in love you must first fall through a lens.” Siq! By some metrics, Times Square is one of the most Instagrammed spots in the world. And yes, the installation can be tracked on social media with its very own hashtag, #WindowHeartTSq. Times Square Arts, the public art division of the Times Square Alliance, collaborated with The Design Trust for Public Space, this year's curator, to pick seven firms to submit installation proposals around the theme "labor of love." Proposals from Jaklitsch/Gardner Architects, office iii, Studio Cadena, StudioKCA, studioSUMO, Taller KEN, and the winning team were reviewed by artists, architects, landscape architects, and city officials. Planning a visit? The installation will be up near the TKTS booth at Father Duffy Square, between 46th and 47th Streets, from February 1 through the end of the month, with a official unveiling scheduled for 11 a.m. on opening day. More information on Window to the Heart can be found on Times Square Arts' website. The 2018 season is the 10th anniversary of the competition: Last year, The Office for Creative Research installed a data-driven sculpture that explored migration and belonging in New York City.
Times Square Arts, which describes itself as the largest public platform for contemporary performance and visual arts, announced The Office for Creative Research as the winner of this year’s Times Square Valentine Heart Design competition for their proposal We Were Strangers Once Too. We Were Strangers Once Too will be available for one month of viewing, beginning with the unveiling February 7. The public data sculpture highlights the role that immigrants have played in the founding and continued development of New York City. The Office for Creative Research used the data compiled in the 2015 American Census Survey to create 33 metal pole sculptures, each representing national origins of foreign-born NYC residents, to generate conversations about the value of diversity and its particular importance in the city. The sculpture is designed so that individual color blocks of red and pink gradually become an iconic heart, as visitors experience shifting perspectives from various vantage points around the artwork. “Now more than ever New Yorkers need to stand up and say we are proud to live in a city of immigrants. We Were Strangers Once Too is our way to acknowledge and say thank you to the diverse communities of NYC for their many contributions historically, currently and into the future,” said The Office for Creative Research. Curatorial partners Times Square Arts and Urban Design Forum had seven other final sculpture proposals for the ninth annual Times Square Valentine Heart Design Competition. This year’s finalists included Open (Your) Heart by Jaklitsch/Gardner Architects, Blind Love by Young New Yorkers, Heartfelt by Ekene Ijeoma, Heart to Heart by Partners and Partners and Annie Barrett, Love Square by McEwen Studio, Of Monsters and Gods by Future Firm and Andrew Heumann, and Beyond the Cell-fie by Alan Waxman Ecosocial Design. Although many artists and designers entered the rings of competition with varying outlooks for the valentine heart design, Daniel McPhee, executive director of Urban Design Forum, said "We Were Strangers Once Too is a powerful display of our city’s vibrant immigrant communities, and an important reminder that our city should always welcome new New Yorkers.”
In Times Square, art and architecture converge during the last week of Collective–LOK’s Heart of Hearts installation
Every winter, the Times Square Alliance and the Center for Architecture choose a team of architects to design an installation for Times Square that a) has to both dialogue and compete with the pageantry of Times Square and b) is heart-themed for Valentine's Day. AN visited this year's Times Square Valentine Heart Design competition winner, Collective-LOK's Heart of Hearts, during its final week to speak with the architects and an artist/composer duo who created an interactive sound and visual piece within the installation. Formally, Heart of Hearts is a circle of aluminum–paneled hearts planted in the center of Father Duffy Square, a public plaza between 45th and 47th streets at Seventh Avenue and Broadway. Joshue Ott and Kenneth Kirschner, Times Square Alliance artists-in-residence, installed variant:breaker, a one-day interactive audiovisual installation that used four LED arrays and speakers that plays on Heart of Hearts' reflectivity to create an outdoor theater of sound and light. The partnership came about when Ott and Kirschner met Collective–LOK at a party, and, like Heart of Hearts, variant:breaker had to both survive and outperform the chaos of Times Square. The installation, Kirschner explained, was inspired by his young son's enthusiasm for his drum machine. Users created a sequence of randomly generated sounds by manipulating an iPad in the middle of the installation to activate the LED panels. The video below shows how the installation performed in action: https://www.flickr.com/photos/136339520@N03/25298776750/in/dateposted-public/ Conceptually, the objective of Heart of Hearts was to "out Times Square Times Square," explained Michael Kubo, one of three members of Collective–LOK. The trio wanted to take the hilarious spectacle that is Times Square and reflect it back onto itself, while creating inviting spaces for the more intimate spectacle of the kiss-and-selfie. The architectural renderings that accompanied the rollout of the project depicted a wedding, the Naked Cowboy, the famous llama, and the other happenings that give Times Square its weirdness. It turns out that the renderings were predictive: on Valentine's Day, despite the chill, multiple weddings were staged in Heart of Hearts. The architects were keenly attuned to the project's second life online, positioning their installation as the critical interface between the inherent narcissism of the selfie and an acute awareness of one's surroundings. The results would make Guy Debord proud. "The reflection was used to both embrace the context and have the thing and the space defined strictly by the context, but also, making people even more aware of the 'selfie moment' that we knew happened anyway," fellow collective member Jon Lott explained. "We were thinking about selfies from the beginning of the project," Kubo noted. "We asked, 'How do you build something that's an apparatus for people to take pictures of themselves but then decontextualize themselves, or make the things around them seem different?'" To find out, this normally selfie-averse reporter cozied up to a heart for a snap: In reviewing the photos, it was uncanny to see the the fragments and reflections (those pink fists!) that accompanied my image. The image could hardly be called a selfie, as Times Square inserted itself as a subject from all angles. Although the installation commands attention in the physical and virtual worlds, it had to make a minimal impact on the plaza. Drilling into the ground was verboten, so Collective–LOK designed an installation that was self-supporting. To give the installation its necessary rigidity and weight, the segmented hearts, which weigh a few hundred pounds apiece, were made from a quarter-inch-thick aluminum core sandwiched between eighth-inch gold acrylic mirror panels. Working with Brooklyn–based Kammetal, Collective–LOK had around one month to fabricate the piece and, due to the 24/7 activity in the square, an overnight installation timeframe a day before the unveiling. Although the collective would like to do more work in the public realm, there are no plans right now for Heart of Hearts to be installed elsewhere. When asked to name another space that would suit the installation, Kubo credited the essence of the installation to its context: "The particularities of the Times Square context are just unrepeatable."
The Times Square Alliance takes "I ♥ New York" quite literally. For the past eight years, the nonprofit organization has invited architecture and design firms to create public art that responds to a Valentine's Day theme. This year the Times Square Alliance partnered with the Center for Architecture to administer the competition. Collective-LOK stole the hearts of jurists to win the 2016 Times Square Valentine Heart Design competition. Collective-LOK's submission, Heart of Hearts, is a circle of nine, ten-foot-tall golden hearts that reflect the lights and the goings-on of Times Square. The installation will be on view at Father Duffy Square, between 46th and 47th Streets, from February 29 through March 6. The sculpture is interactive, balancing private and public space in one of the world's busiest pedestrian plazas. Within each heart is a "kissing booth" that encourages intimate but performative affection. “[We] are thrilled to create the Heart of Hearts for Valentine’s Day, an engagement ring for our love affair with the spectacle of Times Square," Collective-LOK declared in a statement. "It’s truly a special opportunity to provide a space for intimacy and performance in the heart of the city, one we hope visitors will love.” The featured rendering certainly captures the ballet of a good city sidewalk—a llama stares contentedly at its reflection, a lonely man flouting blue laws drinks champagne from the bottle, while the Naked Cowboy jams on, stage left. Why is that man staring into that woman's white skirt? It's all part of the spectacle, apparently. For more heartwarming displays of public art, see AN's coverage of past competition winners here.
Next week, the fifth iteration of the Times Square Alliance's Valentine Heart installation will officially open to the public. Brooklyn-based Situ Studio revealed their installation, Heartwalk, in January, which will be built with salvaged boardwalk boards from from the Hurricane Sandy-stricken Rockaways, Long Beach, Sea Girt, NJ, and Atlantic City. The Situ team has been busy removing hardware from the weathered planks and planing them for a smooth surface. The pre-assembled pieces will be taken to Times Square for assembly, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place on February 12 at 11:00a.m. According to a statement from Situ Studio, "Visitors can enter the installation itself and literally stand in the heart of the world’s greatest city."
The fifth annual Times Square Valentine Heart Design has been awarded to Situ Studio. The Brooklyn-based architecture firm presented a design that features "boardwalk boards salvaged during Sandy’s aftermath—from Long Beach, New York; Sea Girt, New Jersey; and Atlantic City, New Jersey. " The project titled Heartwalk is described "as two ribbons of wooden planks that fluidly lift from the ground to form a heart shaped enclosure in the middle of Duffy Square." The competition was cosponsored by Times Square Arts, the public art program of the Times Square Alliance, collaborated with Design Trust for Public Space. The installation opens on Tuesday, February 12, and remain on view until March 8, 2013.