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2014 Times Square Valentine Heart Design Competition

How could Times Square celebrate the chance encounter and spontaneity that comes with being single?

Competition Launch: October 2013

A collaboration with the Times Square Alliance, the 2014 Times Square Valentine Heart Design Competition brought a singular design experience to one of New York’s busiest and most iconic intersections. The competition also marked the five-year anniversary of the iconic new TKTS booth in a revitalized Father Duffy Square, a project that was also a love child of Van Alen Institute and the midtown community.

The winning design firm, Brooklyn-based Young Projects, created “Match-Maker,” an intricate, heart-shaped structure that cosmically connected people through their zodiac signs. At twelve points around the sculpture, visitors could peer through colorful, interwoven periscopes to catch glimpses of their four most ideal astrological mates, offering novel connections between lonely souls or settled lovers. The sculpture’s elusive form changed depending on a viewer’s vantage point within Times Square: From many points of view, it appeared as a perfect heart; from other perspectives the work was rendered tangled and perplexing. As a small-scale intervention in a vast urban landscape, Match-Maker softened the monumentality of Times Square, briefly transforming the spatial experience from spectacular to intimate.

The Times Square Alliance has invited architecture and design firms to submit proposals for a temporary public art installation celebrating Valentine’s Day in Times Square since 2008. Previous winners of the Times Square Valentine Heart Design include: Situ Studio (2013); BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) (2012); Freecell (2011); Moorhead & Moorhead (2010); and Gage/Clemenceau Architects (2009). 2014 was the first time that Van Alen collaborated with the Times Square Alliance on the competition.

TEAM

Fabricator: Kammetal

Graphic Designer: Dungjai

Lighting consultancy: Lighting Workshop

Structural engineers: Robert Silman Associates

Barry Bergdoll, The Philip Johnson Curator of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art

Susannah Bohlke, Director of Operations, Van Alen Institute

Stephen Cassell, Principal, Architecture Research Office

Wendy Feuer,  Manager of Urban Design & Art, Department of Transportation

Tom Finkelpearl, Executive Director, Queens Museum

Jennifer Lantzas, Public Art Coordinator, Department of Parks, City of New York

David van der Leer, Executive Director, Van Alen Institute

Jonathan Marvel, Principal, Marvel Architects

Sara Reisman, Director of Percent for Art, Department of Cultural Affairs

Ellen Goldstein, VP of Planning, Policy & Design, Times Square Alliance

Sherry Dobbin, Director of Public Art, Times Square Arts

Winner

“Match-Maker,” the winning design, cosmically connected people to Times Square. Guided by their zodiac signs, visitors arranged themselves at twelve points around the heart-shaped sculpture.

Peering through colorful, interwoven periscopes provided glimpses of each viewer’s four most ideal astrological mates, offering potentially novel connections between lonely souls or settled lovers. The form of the sculpture was elusive, complex, and symmetrical, and changed as viewers experienced it from different vantage points throughout Times Square.

From many points of view, Match-Maker formed a perfect and iconic heart; from other perspectives the sculpture appeared tangled and perplexing.

The 2014 Valentine Heart was located at Father Duffy Square, between 46th and 47th Streets. “Match-Maker” was constructed in collaboration with Brooklyn-based fabricator Kammetal. Young Projects worked with graphic designer Dungjai, lighting consultancy Lighting Workshop, and structural engineers Robert Silman Associates.

Young Projects, “Match Maker” (Brooklyn, NY)

“Match-Maker,” the winning design cosmically connected people this Valentine’s Day. Guided by their zodiac signs, visitors arrange themselves at twelve points around the heart-shaped sculpture. Peering through colorful, interwoven periscopes provides glimpses of each viewer’s four most ideal astrological mates, offering potentially novel connections between lonely souls or settled lovers. The form of the sculpture is elusive, complex and symmetrical, and changes as viewers experience it from different vantage points throughout Times Square. From many points of view it forms a perfect and iconic heart; from other perspectives the sculpture is tangled and perplexing. The 2014 Valentine Heart will be located at Father Duffy Square, between 46th and 47th Streets.

“Match-Maker” was constructed in collaboration with Brooklyn-based fabricator Kammetal. Young Projects worked with graphic designer Dungjai, lighting consultancy Lighting Workshop, and structural engineers Robert Silman Associates.

 

Finalists

TWEETHEART NY
Haiko Cornelissen Architecten
Amsterdam / New York

Every tweet sent from Times Square makes TWEETHEART NY pulse with glowing sections of red light. Just one tweet can make the giant heart pulse, but the more social interaction happens in Times Square, the more excitedly TWEETHEART NY will beat. TWEETHEART NY, by Haiko Cornelissen Architecten in collaboration with ARUP and Tomorrow Lab, monitors the Twitter traffic at Times Square. Through geolocation tags attached to each tweet, the sculpture is able to reflect social media interaction in its surroundings. Tweets sent straight to the heart’s Twitter account will make it glow even more intensely. The eight-foot glowing sculpture consists of 64 sections of low-wattage light tape. The red light is sandwiched between sections of recycled plywood to form a synergy between light and shape. Thanks to the scale, lighting and positioning of the heart, the sculpture looks different from every angle. Send a tweet and show your love.

Vapor Valentine
The Living
New York, NY

Vapor Valentine is a dynamic cloud that captures and displays the ever-changing life and light of Times Square. The cloud evokes the intimate romance of a natural hot spring on a winter day. The cloud also celebrates the technology and interactivity that define the collective public experience of Times Square. In daytime, the cloud is a heart-shaped column. At night, the cloud becomes a flat red heart as it rises out of a glowing glass box. People can interact with the heart through touching and blowing the cloud, through placing their hands on the glass box to affect the vapor inside, and through a custom text-messaging hotline. Text your friend’s number to 41-411 and they will receive a Vapor Valentine message on their phone. This will also cause the red heart to blink twice in the rhythm of a heartbeat as a new type of public display of affection. The dynamic cloud is made through the simple interaction of water, ice, steam, heat, light, data, and human interest. The project creates a simple, captivating, and romantic effect. It also offers a deeper layer of relevance in the context of natural ecosystems, resiliency, and rapid global change. In other words, the project is a model for design with dynamic systems, design with uncertainty, and design with rules rather than fixed forms — the same strategies that we believe are required to address the city’s and the world’s most urgent problems.

 

Sweet Heart
SoftLab
New York, NY

Sweet comes in many colors, shapes, and sizes. Our proposal for the TSQ Valentine takes on a shape that is irregular. A heart that looks as if it has grown out of love. Just like love, our heart for times Square looks different from every angle.

How do you express your love? Is it a surprise, a nickname, or a sweet message? Our heart captures the energy of TSQ through a kaleidoscopic reflective surface. As lights within the heart pulse on and odd they reveal impromptu messages for visitors to use in photos. The irregular shape also acts as a register for a custom web-based photo platform that uses technology similar to facial recognition to reveal different hidden messages as you move you mobile camera around the heart.

My Fuzzy Valentine
SCHAUM/SHIEH Architects
Houston / New York

My Fuzzy Valentine… Fuzzy rhythm. Its striped graphic structure makes moiré patterns when rotated that pulse like a beating heart, flickering and catching your eye. Spring-loaded at its base, it will gently oscillate before coming to a rest. Fuzzy space. Duck inside for a hushed moment of solitude within the busiest and most bustling intersection in New York City. Inside, you are enveloped in a pink haze, and the city peeks distantly back at you between the blinds. Fuzzy shape. It’s a heart, but the shape melts away in reflections that multiply the surroundings and press your image into the heart and the city. Find yourself in a heart woven from the fabric of Times Square, snap a selfie, and send your favorite person a digital valentine-gram. My fuzzy valentine Sweet comic valentine You make me smile with my heart Your looks are laughable Unphotographable Yet you’re my favorite work of art.

O Heart
PERNILLA OHRSTEDT STUDIO
London, UK

Our heart is made from an illuminated circle suspended above Times Square. When pulled it folds to form a heart. When let go it flutters until it regains its balance. At night the changing lights of the ring paint the fluttering movement solid and let you capture thousands of unique hearts to share across the world. The 10ft tall glowing kinetic sculpture is human powered, with the potential to incorporate automation, light, sound and online interactivity. The LED‘s can be programmed to leave a multicoloured trail.