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Flatiron Partnership & Van Alen Institute Announce Winner of Holiday Design Competition

The Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership and Van Alen Institute today announced the winner of the first-ever Flatiron Plaza Holiday Design Competition, in which top designers and architects proposed dynamic structures to be installed in front of the famed Flatiron Building during the 2014 winter holiday season.

Designed by INABA, the winning installation New York Light will illuminate the plaza as a backdrop for public events and provide visitors with a special view of the Flatiron Building and the Madison Square skyline during the holiday season. The design is the result of a collaboration between the Brooklyn-based INABA, Tillotson Design Associates, and bengal.fierro.

Created to echo the plaza’s namesake building, the installation will frame the Flatiron Building to its south. At the other end, the steel tube installation faces north along Broadway, opening up to outline a view of the Empire State Building.

Mirror panels hang from the structure so visitors standing inside can see these views bordered by partial reflections of the plaza’s surroundings. At night, twinkling LEDs illuminate the structure to create dramatic vantage points and inviting opportunities for photos with friends with the city in the background.

“The Flatiron Plaza is one of the few places where it’s possible to truly experience the magnificence of Manhattan’s urban plan. And it’s a unique spot in the heart of the city where the sky and skyline can be seen from street level,” said Jeffrey Inaba, Founder of INABA. “The installation is meant to be a place to take in these qualities, as well as to appreciate all of the street activity day and night through its many reflective panels.”

The installation will be unveiled in the North Public Plaza at Broadway, Fifth Avenue, and 23rd Street in time for the start of the holiday season, just before Thanksgiving. The installation will serve as an anchor for the Flatiron Partnership’s third annual holiday-themed programs throughout the month of December, which showcase the shopping, dining and culture in the neighborhood. The winning design will take the place of the larger-than-life pop-up holiday card that the Flatiron Partnership has displayed in the highly trafficked intersection in previous years.

“This amazing piece of art will celebrate the holidays and New York itself, lighting up the Flatiron North Public Plaza and paying tribute to its views of the city from this special vantage point for the tens of thousands of people who pass through the district each day,” said Flatiron Partnership Executive Director Jennifer Brown. “Our competition set out to attract creative, diverse and whimsical ideas, and we were so excited by all of the proposals. We are particularly happy to partner with Flatiron-based Van Alen Institute to advance the district’s reputation as an international draw for innovation, commerce and culture.”

“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. “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."

“We are delighted to partner with the Flatiron Partnership to present this innovative light installation that will commemorate the spirit of the upcoming holidays and spread warmth and cheer to the New Yorkers and visitors frequenting this great plaza space on a daily basis,” said New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “The artwork will serve as a dynamic backdrop for other family-friendly, participatory programming organized by the BID for the public.”

In July, seven artists and architecture firms were invited to submit proposals for this year’s installation, including: EFGH Architectural Studio, e+i studio, INABA, Chris Jordan / Moey, RSVP Architecture Studio, SCAPE / Landscape Architecture, and Stereotank. Designers were challenged to create a temporary installation that offered a centerpiece for holiday events, a dramatic visual presence during the day and night, and an inventive design to encourage public interaction and reflect the unique neighborhood context. 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.

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View and share the winning and finalist designs at


Happy Bike to Work Day! The neighborhood is the perfect place to ride whether using your personal bicycle or  <a target="_blank" href="">@citibike.</a>🚴 💫
Happy Bike to Work Day! The neighborhood is the perfect place to ride whether using your personal bicycle or @citibike.🚴 💫
2 days ago