INABA to Light Up Flatiron Plaza for the Holidays

By Catherine Yang
Catherine Yang
Catherine Yang
September 16, 2014 Updated: September 15, 2014

Come November, mirrored panels and twinkling LEDs will light up Flatiron for the holidays.

“New York Light,” designed by INABA, was the winner of the first ever Flatiron Plaza Holiday Design Competition, the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership announced Tuesday.

“We’re always trying to activate our public plazas to make it fun for people who live and work there,” said Jennifer Brown, Flatiron Partnership Executive Director. The BID partnered with Flatiron-based Van Alen Institute to create a competition for their annual holiday installation.

“It’s already such a heavily trafficked area but this adds a little surprise to people who are shopping or passing by the area, to see something so beautiful,” Brown said. “But it’s a draw in and of itself.”

The art installation will be unveiled just before Thanksgiving, at the North Public Plaza at Broadway, Fifth Avenue, and 23rd Street.

Mirrors hang from the steel tube structure, pointing towards Broadway, creating an outline of the Flatiron Building, enticing passerbys to stop and take in the view, or snap a photo with the installation.

The Instagram-worthiness of the installation was definitely a consideration, Brown said. 

“Last year we really started the social media push,” Brown said, and programming will continue to build upon it this year. Visitors took pictures of themselves with the pop-up holiday card installation and weekly winners received prizes from local businesses. 

The installation, which creates a visual buffer to the passing vehicle traffic, will also be used as a backdrop for a series of free public events. It will also lend itself to more digital-oriented programming this upcoming season, Brown said. 

INABA founder Jeffrey Inaba had found the location inspiring, and drew from the visible skyline.

“The Flatiron Plaza is one of the few places where it’s possible to truly experience the magnificence of Manhattan’s urban plan,” Inaba said in a statement. “And it’s a unique spot in the heart of the city where the sky and skyline can be seen from street level.”

“Activating public spaces through design has been at the core of our work for years,” said Van Alen Institute Executive Director David van der Leer in a press release. “I’m excited to see how this elegant yet cool installation may further stimulate interactions between locals and visitors in the increasingly vibrant Flatiron District.”

In July seven firms were invited to submit designs: EFGH Architectural Studio, e+i studio, INABA, Chris Jordan / Moey, RSVP Architecture Studio, SCAPE / Landscape Architecture, and Stereotank.

The jury members were: Nicholas Athanail, The Corcoran Group, Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership board member and local resident; Michael Bierut, Partner, Pentagram; Brad Cloepfil, Founding Principal, Allied Works Architecture; Emily Colasacco, New York City Department of Transportation Urban Design & Art; Sharon Davis, Sharon Davis Design, Van Alen Institute board member; Jane Kojima, Deputy Director, Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership; David van der Leer, Executive Director, Van Alen Institute; Aleksey Lukyanov, Partner, Situ Studio; Christopher Young, Creative Director for Creative Visual Merchandising, Tiffany & Co.