When the words “Scandinavian Design” come up, most people quickly think about Finland, Sweden, and Denmark. But Norway is no slouch, either. Recently, the nation’s designers have been drumming up noise in the worlds of furniture, product design, and architecture. A string of exhibitions, a master plan for New York’s Times Square, and a robust program of roadside pavilions and viewing platforms highlight this Norsk moment.
The artist whose name is linked inextricably to screen prints of Marilyn Monroe and the Campbell’s soup can also had a fruitful career in feature films, producing Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein and Chelsea Girls. As part of the Midnight Moments series, Times Square will run screen tests by Andy Warhol on its billboards to replace its million-dollar neon advertising—for a fleeting three minutes a day, anyway.
Archtober Building of the Day #28
Times Square Reconstruction
Broadway and Seventh Avenue (West 42nd to West 47th Streets)
“Looking for calm within the chaos,” was how Nick Koster of Snøhetta, described the firm’s design for the Times Square Reconstruction. Just then a topless woman dressed as a super hero sashayed past the Archtober tour group, which contained about a dozen school children.
Times Square 1984: The Postmodern Moment
The Skyscraper Museum
39 Battery Place, New York
Through January 18, 2015
Times Square is one of the most renowned cultural hubs in the entire world. It is commonly heralded as the perfect tourist attraction: full of bright lights at night, giant LED billboard signs, and men in furry costumes of Elmo and the Cookie Monster. Times Square 1984: The Postmodern Moment, currently on view at The Skyscraper Museum, enlightens visitors with the recent history of Times Square and how it became what it is today.
This weekend, design firm Bade Stageberg Cox will transform Times Square with the help of nearly 50 reclaimed chairs painted taxicab yellow. The chairs will be arranged like theater seats and Times Square will be the stage. “As the plaza is occupied throughout the day, the chairs’ movement and rearrangement becomes a performance about the ways in which people inhabit the public realm and shape it to suit their needs,” said the firm in a statement. The installation is part of their Street Theater series, and coincides with New York City Design Week.
New York‘s newest boutique hotel, Row NYC, opened its doors at the end of March in Times Square. This launch comes after two years and $140 million were spent on developing the 1,331-room property at 800 8th Avenue, a collaboration between Highgate Hotels and Rockpoint Group. This hotel strives to bring the pulse of the city into the experience of its visitors and redefine the Midtown Manhattan hotel experience.
New York City has been adjusting to its new Mayor Bill De Blasio, who took office at the beginning of the year. The new mayor has been slowly revealing his team of commissioners who will guide the city’s continued transformation. As AN has noted many times before, De Blasio’s predecessor Michael Bloomberg and his team already left a giant mark on New York’s built environment.
With little more than paint, planters, and a few well-placed boulders, Bloomberg and former Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan‘s street interventions have been some of the most evident changes around the city. Whether it’s at Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza, above, or at Snøhetta’s redesigned Times Square, these road diets shaved off excess space previously turned over to cars and returned it to the pedestrian realm in dramatic fashion as these before-and-after views demonstrate.
As we continue to learn more about our new Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, take a look back at 25 of the most exciting road diets and pedestrian plaza conversions across New York City from the Bloomberg era.
Inside Out New York City
Where: Times Square
When: Through May 10, 2013
The world’s first photo booth was stationed in Times Square nearly a century ago. Now, New Yorkers and visitors are invited back to snap some black and white self-portraits in a photo booth truck hosted by Inside Out’s French street artist JR. The artist has launched Inside Out New York City, taking place from April 22 to May 10, 2013, to provide community members the opportunity to make a statement and participate in creating works of art out of messages of individual identity. The digitally uploaded photographs are printed as posters and displayed on Duffy Square or publicly in the subjects’ home communities.
Today, New York City broke ground on the new paving/plaza/seating design for Times Square, created by Snøhetta. Dark pavers inset with reflective stainless steel discs will provide a muted backdrop for the area’s frenzy of light and crowds. Monumental benches, with concealed electrical infrastructure for events, will provide a variety of seating, lounging, and viewing options. Moreover, the project signals the Bloomberg administration‘s desire to make its pedestrian plazas permanent.
Just in time for Valentines Day, today the Times Square Alliance and Design Trust for Public Space officially opened Situ Studio’s Heartwalk, a heart-shaped installation constructed of salvaged boards that once made up the boardwalks in Long Beach, Sea Girt, and Atlantic City, to the public. Heartwalk is the winner of the 5th annual Time Square Valentines Day Design competition, taking its cue, in subject matter and materials, from the “collective experience of Hurricane Sandy and the love that binds people together during trying times,” according to Times Square Alliance. Check out the installation “in the heart of Times Square” through March 8, 2013.