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Flatiron Partnership and Van Alen Institute Announce Winner of Flatiron Public Plaza Holiday Design Competition

Winning Installation for 2015 Holiday Season to be Unveiled on Wednesday, November 18th

The Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership Business Improvement District (BID) and Van Alen Institute today announced SOFTlab as the winner of the Flatiron Public Plaza Holiday Design Competition, the second annual competition of its kind, which 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 opens to the public on Wednesday, 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.

The closed call competition began in July 2015, when the Flatiron 23rd Street Partnership and Van Alen Institute—an organizer of design competitions for over 120 years—invited five design and architecture firms to submit proposals for this year’s installation. The invited firms were Bureau V, Method Design, Sage and Coombe, SOFTlab, and Studio KCA. A jury with expertise across the worlds of design and public art, including representatives from the Partnership as well as Van Alen Institute’s Board of Trustees reviewed the proposals.

"The annual holiday installation is now a tradition in the district that is enjoyed by visitors and locals alike.  It provides a festive and magical experience on the Public Plaza during the holiday season, said Flatiron Partnership Executive Director Jennifer Brown.  “We are particularly proud that this year’s installation is a true local effort – not only in our partnership with Van Alen Institute, but also in the selection of a neighborhood design firm, SOFTlab,”

“This project is a fantastic opportunity to engage with a local site and designer,” said David van der Leer, Executive Director of Van Alen Institute. “SOFTlab’s Nova offers a playful and unusual perspective of the landmarks and street life surrounding the plaza that will be a visually stimulating and interactive outdoor experience for the holiday season.”

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 neighborhood: 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.”

“Design is always about creating magical experiences, and we’re excited to see 3M materials inspire SOFTlab to connect imagination with space and community for this year’s winning Flatiron installation,” said Eric Quint, Chief Design Officer at 3M. “Collaborative creativity is what sparks ongoing new possibilities in our world of design; the Nova project demonstrates this, transforming 3M optical materials for safety and light management into a new context of art and architecture in the heart of the Flatiron District.”

Sponsored by the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership, Nova and the accompanying programming “23 Days of Flatiron Cheer” is also made possible with generous support from Presenting Sponsors Tiffany & Co. and Meringoff Properties, Contributing Sponsors Grey Group and Macmillan.

To see all of the five submitted proposals and to download the full press release, click here.

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Getting our CHEER on in the snow! 🌨❄🌨 Stop by the Flatiron North Public Plaza today until 4pm to spin our amazing prize wheel full of neighborhood goodness, enjoy free HOT coffee by   <a target="_blank" href="http://instagram.com/taralluccinyc%2C">@taralluccinyc,</a>and grab a tote bag full of district discounts!

You can also drop off a donation for our food drive for the  <a target="_blank" href="http://instagram.com/foodbank4nyc%21">@foodbank4nyc!</a>.
Be sure to share your photos using #FlatironReflection for the chance to win a sweet daily prize from a neighborhood business!

#freecoffee #hotcoffee #taralluccievino #discoverflatiron
238 likes
Getting our CHEER on in the snow! 🌨❄🌨 Stop by the Flatiron North Public Plaza today until 4pm to spin our amazing prize wheel full of neighborhood goodness, enjoy free HOT coffee by @taralluccinyc,and grab a tote bag full of district discounts! You can also drop off a donation for our food drive for the @foodbank4nyc!. Be sure to share your photos using #FlatironReflection for the chance to win a sweet daily prize from a neighborhood business! #freecoffee #hotcoffee #taralluccievino #discoverflatiron
2 days ago