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Flatiron Public Plaza Holiday Design Competition 2016

For the third year, Van Alen Institute and the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership called for proposals for the annual Flatiron Public Plaza Holiday Design Competition. The winning proposal was installed during the 2016 holiday season. The project aimed to design and build a highly visible temporary landmark at the heart of the Flatiron District that is the centerpiece of the Partnership’s annual holiday programming.

The winning proposal by architecture and design firm LOT, Flatiron Sky-Line, opened to the public on Monday, November 21, 6 – 8 p.m., 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 “23 Days of Flatiron Cheer” programming.

Proposals were reviewed by a jury with expertise across the worlds of design and public art, including representatives from the Partnership and Van Alen Institute’s Board of Trustees.

Nicholas Athanail, The Corcoran Group and Flatiron Partnership board member

Jennifer Brown, Executive Director, Flatiron Partnership

Sherry Dobbin, Director, Times Square Arts

Wendy Feuer, Assistant Commissioner, New York City Department of Transportation Urban Design & Art

Jessica Healy, Van Alen Institute board member

Natasha Jen, Partner, Pentagram

David van der Leer, Executive Director, Van Alen Institute

Aleksey Lukyanov-Cherny, Partner, SITU Studio

Michael SzivosSoftLAB

LOT: Flatiron Sky-Line

Flatiron Sky-Line is a landmark spatial installation engaging passersby in an intimate interaction within and around it. Tubular arched components define an outlined trapezoidal galleria at the footsteps of the Flatiron building. Each of the arches is lit along its whole length, a smoothly transitioning lighting effect from daytime to nighttime transforming the look and experience of the installation while making it highly visible from a distance and from above.

White net hammocks hanging from each of the arches invite the public to embrace the Flatiron Plaza skyline and immerse into the constructed tranquility of the Flatiron Plaza – skyline gazing, socializing, contemplating, and experiencing the surroundings.

As part of the BID’s “23 Days of Flatiron Cheer” programming, a camera mounted atop one of the arches will enable visitors to send holiday greetings via Facebook Live hosted on Flatiron’s Facebook page.


 Architensions: Radiant Forest 


Radiant Forest is a pavilion that promotes interaction between people and encourages gathering in a comfortable environment. A composition of movable and stationary vertical slats partially skinned with a mirror film reflects visitors and passersby, highlighting the beautiful differences in our city across changing colors, seasons, days and nights. The forest invites visitors to follow unpredictable paths as they are drawn to an area by fiber optic curtains and radiant heating dishes. A sensor activates the radiant dishes and the fiber optics light up with RGB irradiation map colors, measuring the real-time temperature of the bodies occupying the space.


Büro Koray Duman Architects: Flatiron Roc Chair

Design has the power to create a sense of belonging, joy, and an ownership of public space. A design that provides a sense of familiarity between strangers in public while being playful is the core of Flatiron Roc Chair. As passersby enter and sit down, the piece rocks up and down, animating the holiday spirit. At night, in a fixed, upright position, the piece transforms into a stage where festive choirs perform. LED lights adhered to framing provide a glow underneath. Fitted polycarbonate panels at the ends offer safety for the kinetic movement of the piece.

FreelandBuck: Vanishing Point

Our visual experience is layered with the dense clouds of imagery and information encountered through digital devices and social networks. Expanding on this new visual capacity, Vanishing Point collects partial, oblique views of the Flatiron that are imprinted on layers of translucent fabric and woven into three kaleidoscopic urban objects. Condensing the countless images of the iconic building found online and elsewhere into a three-dimensional structure, the project captures multiplicitous our modes of seeing. From a central point within the pavilion, the layered drawings align into a unified image reminiscent of the iconic prow of the building. Vanishing Point would further proliferate the building’s image as the subject of new photos during the Holiday Festival.

Young & Ayata: Silver Shimmer

Silver Shimmer appears at first as a field of vibrating light. When visitors approach, views shift through alignments of the chromed steel pipe structure, offering glimpses through the pavilion. Upon entering, one becomes immersed in the reflections of mirror-finished, bell-shaped balloons inflated to nestle within the lattice, reflecting the context and the luminous lines of the pavilion into a specular spectacular. What is not immediately apparent is that the pavilion is entirely constructed out of what already exists in the Flatiron Plaza, the public tables. This humble public amenity is transformed into something otherworldly, a shimmering lattice of light.