The Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership Business Improvement District (BID) and Van Alen Institute recently announced that SOFTlab is the winner of the Flatiron Public Plaza Holiday Design Competition. The second annual competition called for proposals from New York design firms for a temporary installation at the heart of the Flatiron District. SOFTlab’s winning proposal, Nova, will be the centerpiece of the Partnership’s annual holiday programming and a highly visible landmark in this thriving neighborhood of New York.
SOFTlab’s installation opened to the public on November 18th—on the North Flatiron Public Plaza at Broadway, Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street—and will remain on view through the holidays as part of the Partnership’s annual “23 Days of Flatiron Cheer” programming. When complete, the crystalline Nova installation will compel passersby to enter the structure and gaze onto Flatiron’s iconic landmarks, framed by apertures in the installation’s exterior.
In Nova, the placement of scopes, or viewing cones, is arranged to represent a centralized proverbial North Star for the Flatiron District, with each scope pointing to a distinct landmark. In effect, Nova acts as an observatory for the “constellation” of iconic sites in the neighbourhood: the Flatiron Building, Met Life Tower clock tower, Empire State Building, and surrounding landmarks.
“Using a mix of optical materials, our design creates a human scale kaleidoscope, remixing the surrounding iconic buildings with color, light, and the reflections of pedestrians,” said Michael Szivos, Founder and Principal at SOFTlab. “Although our design reads as an iconic and festive figure from above, the experience at the pedestrian level is very different. The exterior gives way to a crystal-like, mirror-surfaced interior that looks different from all sides.”
Images courtesy of SOFTLab