Times Square Arts collaborated with Van Alen Institute to select Young Projects' Match-Maker as the winner of the 2014 Times Square Valentine Heart Design Competition, celebrating five years since the opening of the revitalized Father Duffy Square and iconic Red Steps. The 2014 Valentine Heart will be located at Father Duffy Square, between 46th and 47th Streets from February 10th until March 11th. Over the last five years, the Times Square Alliance has invited emerging architecture and design firms to submit proposals for the competition. Match-Maker was selected by a prestigious jury of curators, architects, and artists including:
Barry Bergdoll, The Philip Johnson Curator of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art; Stephen Cassell, Principal, Architecture Research Office; Wendy Feuer, Manager of Urban Design & Art, Department of Transportation; Tom Finkelpearl, Executive Director of Queens Museum; Jennifer Lantzas, Public Art Coordinator, Department of Parks, City of New York; Jonathan Marvel, Principal, Marvel Architects; and Sara Reisman, Director of Percent for Art, Department of Cultural Affairs. Additional Jurors: David van der Leer, Executive Director, Van Alen Institute; Susannah Bohlke, Director of Operations, Van Alen Institute; Ellen Goldstein, VP of Planning, Policy & Design, Times Square Alliance; and Sherry Dobbin, Director of Public Art, Times Square Arts.
How does the Match-Maker work?
Guided by their zodiac sign, visitors arrange themselves at twelve points around the sculpture. Peering through colorful, interwoven periscopes provides glimpses of each viewer's most ideal astrological mates, offering potential connections between lonely souls. The form of the sculpture is elusive and complex yet symmetrical, changing as viewers experience it from different vantage points throughout Times Square. From some points of view it forms a perfect heart and from others it is tangled and perplexing.
The sculpture will be made of powered coated aluminum tubes and therefore will be able to withstand weather elements and the general activity of Times Square. Each tube is a custom piece, varying in length, angle and color. This also means (24) unique ellipses for the reflective mirror at the joint of the periscope. Precision and craft is absolutely critical for the optical performance of the sculpture. Our full scale mock-up (shown in the video) works perfectly, a testament to fabrication skill of our awesome fabricator Kammetal. The aluminum periscopes are each suspended by a series of powder coated brackets that attach to a single steel column.
What people are saying about Match-Maker…
“From a great group of applications this year, Young Project’s Match-Maker stood out as an interactive, engaging object perfectly suited to Times Square. Can a sculpture act as a dating service? We will see. Even if not, its reinterpretation of the heart not as a bodily organ but as a place for connection and romance is refreshing and original!” Tom Finkelpearl, Executive Director, Queens Museum.
“From a pool of excellent proposals, Young Projects’ Match-Maker stood out as an intriguing design that uses signs of the zodiac to generate a compelling installation in the heart of Times Square. I look forward to seeing it realized as it continues this great Valentines tradition." Stephen Cassell, Principal, Architecture Research Office.
What is the current status of the project?
We are hard at work with our collaborators but need your help!!!
We have successfully fabricated one full-scale periscope and we are finalizing all shop drawings in collaboration with Kammetal to ensure the sculpture will be structurally sound and safe for the public to experience.
We are finalizing other design aspects with an amazing team of designers and professionals from NYC. Dungjai Pungauthaikan is working on the graphic and instructional aspects of Match-Maker. Doug Russell from Lighting Workshop is detailing LED strips to illuminate the Heart. Robert Silman Associates are testing for wind load and structural stability. Students from Parsons The New School for Design are designing and assembling the base. Everyone has engaged this process without fee. The reward is to see it built and hopefully bring some love to those visiting Times Square this February. Your pledges will go towards the cost of the actual materials and fabrication components of the project.
Match-Maker in the news:
What happens to Match-Maker after Times Square?
We are currently discussing a second run for Match-Maker after it comes down from Times Square in early March. The entire sculpture is also for sale. For pricing and information please contact Young Projects at firstname.lastname@example.org
Risks and challenges
Times Square seems like a harsh environment for an interactive art installation. Will the Match-Maker be able to stand up to the abuse?
Throughout the process, we have selected materials and finishes of the highest quality to ensure that Match-Maker stays looking fresh for the entire time it is up. Along with rigorous analysis from our structural engineer, we are confident that the piece will survive the crowds. This high quality fabrication doesn't come cheap, however - which is a big part of the reason why we need your help!
How will people know how to interact with the sculpture?
We are working with an amazing graphic designer to provide way-finding and instructions within the sculpture base and a free standing kiosk that will be adjacent to the piece. We believe that it will be easy, fun and clear to experience.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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