Posts tagged with "public art":

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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, 's Heart of Heartsduring 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."
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Taipei activates space below a rail viaduct with 1,000 twinkling balloons

In November, Taipei was overtaken by a giant anemone lurking beneath a rail viaduct. One thousand six-foot-tall, cylindrical balloons wobbled under the city's Shilin Metro Station. The 650-foot-long, inflatable, public art installation, Walking in the Balloons, was built for the Shilin Light Festival. City Yeast, a Taipei-based design firm, executed the project.

According to City Yeast, the balloons contained motion-triggered LEDs. As children frolicked or winds gusted, the vibrations made lights twinkle. A few of the inflated columns also housed speakers, which played oceanic sounds and Shilin tales. City Lab called the installation a “public art piece for kids.” And visitors referred to it as "the anemone." The Shilin Metro Station is around the National Science Taiwan Education Center, Taipei Astronomical Museum, and the Taipei Children's Amusement Park. But during the popular installation's 2-week period, public life centered at the Shilin Metro Station.
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SOFTlab’s “Nova” pavilion brightens cold New York nights with psychadelic light

Suburban folk mark the change of seasons with spring peepers, the sound of leaf blowers, and first frosts. City dwellers rely on other environmental cures: pumpkin spice lattes, heat season, and festive public art installations. Last week, the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership Business Improvement District (BID) and the Van Alen Institute welcomed crowds to SOFTlab's Nova, the 2015 winner of the Flatiron Public Plaza Holiday Design Competition. Perched inside North Flatiron Public Plaza at the intersection of Broadway, Fifth Avenue, and 23rd Street, Nova invites passersby into a kaleidoscopic interior to view area landmarks—the Empire State Building, the Flatiron, and the Met Life Tower—on its mirrored surfaces and through its many exposures. When activated by sound, LEDs pulse to intensify the psychedelic visuals. The design has definite antecedents in SOFTlab's pavilion at this year's SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas. Here too, the firm partnered with 3M to create a multicolored neon canopy that showcased the company's products. Van Alen and the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership invited New York–based architecture and design firms Bureau V, Method Design, Sage and Coombe, Studio KCA, and SOFTlab to submit proposals for the competition. Competition jurors included Van Alen and the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership directors and board members; Michael Bierut, partner, Pentagram; Aleksey Lukyanov, partner, Situ Studio; and Wendy Feuer, NYC Department of Transportation's Assistant Commissioner of Design + Art + Wayfinding. "The installation illustrates how interactive public art can change the perception of an environment thereby allowing people to experience it in a new way," Feuer explained in a statement. "We count on organizations like the Partnership to commission these exciting installations making NYC streets ever more inviting." This is the holiday design competition's second year. Last year, INABA won the competition with their installation, New York Light. See the gallery below for more images of Nova.  
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Collective–LOK steals hearts to win 2016 Times Square Valentine Heart Design competition

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.
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Pictorial> Take a look inside Dattner’s 34th St-Hudson Yards subway station, now open to the public

On Sunday, September 13th, New York City got its first new subway station in 25 years. Located at 34th Street and Eleventh Avenue, the 34th St-Hudson Yards station extended the 7 train one and a half miles to serve Manhattan's Far West Side. Dattner Architects designed the 364,000 square foot, $2.4 billion station. The new station is ten stories underground, and features the subway system's first inclined elevator. Below the canopied main entrance, designed by Toshiko Mori Architect, a multicolored mosiac mural by artist Xenobia Bailey greets passengers. MVVA designed the park surrounding the main entrance. See the gallery below for images of the new station.
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Signs of life: Artist Steve Powers tacks thought-provoking ‘ICY Signs’ around New York City

Manhattan-based artist Steve Powers is offering a non-caffeinated pick-me-up for weary NYC commuters with his pop art–style street signs mounted on light poles around the city. Bearing food-for-thought slogans with themes of life and love against a pictograph or logotype, such as "I get lost to get found" stamped on a briefcase, the signs are designed to inspire smiles and/or introspection.   Titled ICY Signs, the temporary public art signage project takes after traditional handpainted signs. Powers uses the common sign as a tool to overstate the importance of signs to guide us through a confusing world. "It’s drag yourself to work day," reads one. Another depicts a lighthouse stamped with the word "You" beaming light onto the word "Me." The artist envisioned the signage as an emotional wayfinding system which encourages pedestrians to not only navigate the city streets but explore their own inner alleys and avenues. The 30 signs are being exhibited at four of the intersections earmarked as Summer Streets – part of an annual celebration of car-free NYC streets in which seven miles of streets are reappropriated by pedestrians and cyclists for three consecutive Saturdays in August. Powers’ artwork will go up at four Summer Streets rest stops: Midtown at 25th Street and Park Avenue; Astor Place at Astor Place and Lafayette Street; SoHo at Spring Street and Lafayette Street, with the majority to be displayed at Foley Square at Duane Street and Center Street.
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These odd creatures and sculptures will soon fill Austin’s Circle Acres nature reserve

The 18 winning projects shortlisted in the Field Constructs Design Competition flag a range of pressing socio-environmental issues through whimsical takes on interactive public art. The exhibits will occupy an old landfill and brownfield in Austin within the Circle Acres nature reserve, turning the site into a bizarre outdoor museum teeming with site-responsive sculptures and unforeseen creatures. Here, we take a look at some of the winning proposals to be displayed from November 14–22. Cloudfill by Blake Smith, John Cunningham, Seth Brunner (New York) This three-part installation is made of plastic bottles stuffed in bags. Each piece is specifically designed for either forestland, wetlands, or dry land, and references a different environmental issue, from deforestation to strip mining and microplastics in the ocean, to advance the educational mission of the Ecology Action of Texas. A floating bridge is planned for the park’s wetland area, which used to be a quarry.

Commpost by Daniel Gillen, Colby Suter, Gustav Fagerstrom (Beijing)

These disorienting camel humps rising in the middle of a field are an educational commentary about composting. Visitors scan QR codes or use the on-site WiFi to learn about ecological food disposal. Like a LEGO set, it comes with a step-by-step assembly manual and can still function with minimal component parts. Visitors can throw scraps and water into pits within the sculpture and watch them turn into dirt. Dis-Figure by Aptum Architecture (Syracuse) This vaguely equestrian sculpture looms out of the swampy shadows like a guardian angel. Built from a wood frame covered in latex, the sculpture reportedly “glows” and changes appearance throughout the day. “Through the intertwining of skeleton and mutilated skin, a digitally enhanced structure and its biodegradable latex ornamentation disfigures the form and, in turn, alludes to a new reading of ‘form meets nature’ as the grotesque, the uncanny, and the unexpected,” said the architects. Las Piñatas by Goujon Design (Austin) This exhibition bespeaks the proverbial tension between development and preservation. The giant piñatas pay homage to a local family-owned piñata store that was razed in early 2015 by a pair of transplanted property developers in the city’s rapidly gentrifying East Austin neighborhoods. “The low-income and predominantly Hispanic neighborhood of Montopolis”—where the park is located—“will inevitably become another friction point between the development of a ‘new’ Austin and the preservation of ‘old’ Austin,” according to Field Constructs. Meat Church Field Kitchen by Jordan Bartelt, Scrap Marshall (Los Angeles) The design for this short-lived smokehouse riffs on a lone church standing in the Texas barrens, where seasoned grill-masters prepare juicy meats to be consumed with others like at a church picnic. However, folks of all faiths are welcome at this non-denominational gathering.
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Construction gone awry: crane driver accidentally extricates a house and causes car pile-up—or that’s what the artists will have you believe

A house “mistakenly” unearthed from the soil by an inebriated crane driver hangs mournfully over a construction site in Karlsruhe, southern Germany. Torn roots sprout from its base to remind onlookers that it was once a happy home before its violent extrication. The hyper-real sculpture by Argentinian artist Leandro Erlich is suspended above a market square, where construction for a new tram network is in full swing. While it might appear to critique the built environment and associated human errors, the model house is intended to challenge resident’s perception of construction as an eyesore and something “divorced from the natural world.” "Pulled up by the Roots highlights this tension,” Ehrlich told Dezeen. “As living beings on an ever-changing planet, we can never be apart from the organic world; the architecture that we create is part and parcel of our environment." Inspired by the historical architecture of Friedrich Weinbrenner, Erlich’s reality-bending art addresses global themes of uprooting and migration, but it’s also there to remind people that “underneath the tons of metal and concrete of our cities, a vital organic presence remains.” Therefore, the roots are a sign of life and not destructive intervention. Pulled up by the Roots is part of The City is a Star, a series of realistic sculptures installed across Karlsruhe to commemorate its anniversary. Another spectacle to behold is a comically bent truck by Austrian artist Erwin Wurm, whose rear wheels seem to be kicking off from the building behind it like a bucking bull. 2015-stadt-ist-der-star_truck_001 The artwork truck was recently slapped with a parking ticket, according to CityLab, but a report from KA News insists that the gag ticket was issued by a rare breed of city officials possessing a sense of humor, after the Center for Arts and Media (ZKM) publicly complained about having to pay the charges. The sculptures will be on view until September 27, 2015. Another satirical outlook on human foul-ups is a topsy-turvy pile-up of VW Beetles by Hans Hollein, titled Car Building. Were they also victim to the drunken crane driver’s clumsy hand? 2015-stadt-ist-der-star_car-building_001
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Two Belgian architects create a steel-frame maze which viewers can look down on from an old mine shaft

Belgian architects Pieterjan Gijs and Arnout Van Vaerenbergh created a sculptural-spatial intervention on the grounds of the Genk’s C-mine Arts Center in Belgium, where viewers must navigate a geometric conundrum. Through unique compositions of wall, void, and cut-outs, the two architects, collectively known as Gijs Van Vaerenbergh, explore fundamental architecture typologies. Labyrint comprises 5mm (0.196 inches) steel plates that have been geometrically hollowed to create a collection of continuous, never-ending frames. Arches, concaves, and hard angles form an otherworld, where viewers can get their bearings by looking through cut-outs that repeat themselves from one side of the structure to the other, revealing daylight on the other side. These dimensions were generated using Boolean transformations, a mathematical principle based on a system of logical thought. “Through a monotonous succession of high corridors, the viewer is confronted with openings that reveal what is on the other side of the walls,” say the architects. Lording over the structure is one of the old mine shafts of C-mine, a former coal mining site. Visitors can ascend the shaft, which peaks at 123 feet, and look down onto the maze and those exploring it – a vantage point traditionally reserved for the creators of mythical labyrinths. “In any other context, the installation wouldn’t have worked,” said Gijs Van Vaerenbergh. “The central square at c-mine is a completely different environment. “Here, we were confronted with an artificial, highly designed, large-scaled context that wasn’t very welcoming to make a similar installation. We therefore chose to build an installation that was directed inwards and dealt more strongly with space and one’s relation to it. We did so by looking for inspiration in a primal architectural typology: the labyrinth. In a way, this is an essential form of architecture, which is only composed of walls."
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An expanse of sustainable timber just clinched the Chicago Architecture Biennial’s Lakefront Kiosk Competition

Officials with the Chicago Architecture Biennial today announced the winners of the Lakefront Kiosk Competition, choosing a team whose stated goal was “to build the largest flat wood roof possible.” Dubbed Chicago Horizon, the design is by Rhode Island–based Ultramoderne, a collaboration between architects Yasmin Vobis and Aaron Forrest and structural engineer Brett Schneider. Their pavilion uses cross-laminated timber, a new lumber product that some structural engineers call carbon-negative for its ability to displace virgin steel and concrete while sequester the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide during its growth. Ultramoderne's long, flat roof “aims to provide an excess of public space for the Architecture Biennial and Chicago beach-goers,” according to the project description. Their design rose above 420 other entries from designers in more than 40 countries, and will receive a $10,000 honorarium, as well as a $75,000 production budget to realize the kiosk. BP is providing those funds as part of a $2.5 million grant to the inaugural biennial. Three teams—Lekker Architects, Tru Architekten, and Kelley, Palider, Paros—were finalists for the top honor. Fala Atelier, Kollectiv Atelier, and Guillame Mazars all received an honorable mention. The Biennial has posted a selection of submissions to the Lakefront Kiosk Competition on its Pinterest page.

After the biennial, Chicago Horizon "will find a permanent home in Spring 2016, operating as a food and beverage vendor, as well as a new public space along the lakefront.

During the Biennial three other kiosks will be installed along the lakefront. Details on those are due to be announced next week, but here are the preliminary project descriptions:
The Cent Pavilion, designed by Pezo von Ellrichshausen in collaboration with the Illinois Institute of Technology, is a forty-foot tower meant to convey silent and convoluted simplicity. Rock, the kiosk designed by Kunlé Adeyemi in collaboration with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago is a pop-up pavilion a public sculpture composed from the raw and historic limestone blocks that once protected the city’s shoreline. Summer Vault, designed by Paul Andersen of Independent Architecture and Paul Preissner of Paul Preissner Architects, in collaboration with the University of Illinois, Chicago, is a lakefront kiosk that consists of basic geometric shapes combined to create a freestanding hangout within the park.
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This million dollar sculptural Ferris wheel at a Montreal bus stop is stirring questions about cost

A new bus stop in Montreal will include a 64-foot-tall, Ferris Wheel–shaped art installation that cost the city a cool $840,000. For blatantly obvious reasons, many Quebecois aren’t thrilled about that—in no small part because the expensive art project is in a part of Montreal that is struggling to combat poverty. CityLab reported that the sculpture, called La Vélocité des lieux (the Velocity of Places), is part of a larger reconstruction of an intersection that is set to include a park, bus rapid transit, and new housing. The wheel was designed by BGL, a Quebec City–based art collective, that was dubbed “Canada's Art-World Class Clowns” by Vox, and more recently represented Canada at the Venice Biennale. The trio of so-called class clowns won a competition to design the art piece for the intersection in 2012 When the wheel is completed in September, bus frames will zip around its circular frame as a gesture toward the bus stop below. In a statement, BGL said the installation embodies “dizziness, playfulness, [and] community spirit.” But right now at least, the community is pretty mixed on the project. In an interview with Montreal CTV, one local resident praised the wheel saying that it would help put Montreal-Nord on the map, but many others have said the money spent on the wheel should have gone toward schools, roads, and social programs. Chantal Rossi, a city councilor for Montrea-Nord, defended the controversial project, saying that the area deserves public art just like anywhere else in the city. “The people will be proud of it,” she said.
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In a commentary against waste-producing lifestyles, Indian artist creates a sculpture made from 70,000 bottle caps

Indian artist Arunkumar HG has created a somewhat tongue-in-cheek calling out of our throwaway, waste-producing lifestyles with a shoreline sculpture made from nearly 70,000 bottle screw caps. The artist amassed the collection from his neighborhood over the course of a year, carefully stacked the caps, and connected them in vertical configurations using steel filaments. An undulating, horseshoe-like form resulted, resembling, from afar, a mosaic that is pleasant to behold courtesy of the various colors. “There is a huge imbalance in between our sustainable ecology and our contemporary living practices,” the artist told Designboom. Titled Droppings and the Dam(n), the sculpture is made from bottle caps sourced from Arunkumar’s town of Gurgaon, India, to “map the consumption pattern of the society at the time” and show the scale of waste produced within a limited time period. The sculpture was built for the most recent edition of "Sculpture by the Sea" in Aarhus, Denmark, a government-funded public arts project originating on Sydney’s world-famous Bondi beach. “I have always loved large community arts events like 'Opera in the Park' and 'Symphony Under the Stars', especially the way total strangers sit next to each other listening to music while enjoying a picnic dinner and a few glasses of wine,” David Handley, founding director of Sculpture by the Sea, wrote in a post on the official website explaining the reason he started the initiative. “To me this sense of community is too rarely displayed or available in the modern world.” The month-long public art exhibition is Denmark’s largest visual arts event and typically attracts half a million visitors.