Starting May 2, New York-based creative studio PLAYLAB, INC. is decking out the glass canyon of Sixth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan with a broad stroke of color in the form of giant, inflatable flowers. The public art installation is sponsored by the Avenue of the Americas Association. GROWN UP FLOWERS consists of six different inflatable pieces, which PLAYLAB describes as “sitting, lounging, floating, standing tall or even bending down to greet passerbys” between 44th and 55th streets. PLAYLAB hopes to harken back to Manhattan’s pre-colonial landscape, one where the “island was covered with wild and beautiful flowers.” As a result of their gargantuan size, the installation’s flowers will be able “to compete with the scale of their surroundings.” Each of the six flowers is assigned a unique stance and personality. For example, Jack of 1221 Sixth Avenue measures 30 feet in height and “loves to draw portraits.” Wilt bends towards passing bystanders and enjoys “all kinds of people and can be a little bit of a talker.” PLAYLAB, INC.’s projects often activate public space with interactive installations, including giant slinky-like tents for the Storefront for Art & Architecture and an ongoing collaboration with Plus Pool to design a water-filtering floating pool on the East River. Inflatable Images, an Ohio outdoor advertising company specializing in custom inflatables, fabricated the oversized flowers. The colorful installation will be up through June.
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For nearly a decade now, New Yorkers have been turning their focus on revitalizing the city's waterfront, a trend that has only grown in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. WXY Architecture’s East River Blueway and Bloomberg’s Vision 2020 are two examples of initiatives that seek to build sustainable, accessible, and engaging shorelines for the city. But with summer approaching and the days heating up, what city dwellers may want most from their estuaries is a cool, clean dip. Brooklyn-based design firms Family Architects and PlayLab hope to make that dream possible, but they still need $250,000 to get started. In two weeks, the group will launch a campaign to create a smaller mock-up of +Pool, the floating, plus sign–shaped pool that could land in the East River by May 2015. The mock-up will test the pool's innovative filtration system that cleans water directly from the river to make it safe enough to swim in. The system would use a three-level filtration system within the pool's walls, which filters the river water, making for a pleasant and healthy immersion. The design of the 9,000-square-foot facility combines an Olympic-length lap pool, kids pool, sports pool, and lounge pool, opening the water park up to all levels of swimmers. +Pool previously raised over $40,000 on Kickstarter and has attracted support from engineering firm Arup, local politicians, and the architectural community. Stay tuned for your chance to dip into your wallet for a dip in the pool!