Valentine to Times Square
New York City, NY
In 2009 the Times Square Alliance commissioned its first public art project, originally planned to be a technologically advanced Christmas tree to compete with that of the Rockefeller Centers natural one. As funding could not be secured in time for the 2008 holiday season, Mark Foster Gage suggested that the Times Square Alliance should, instead of competing with Rockefeller Center, focus on Valentine’s Day as an ‘unclaimed’ holiday, through the construction of a technological heart sculpture. This new tradition, now an annual competition series for emerging architects included hearts designed by architects including the Bjarke Ingels Group and Aranda / Lasch. However, the original, first sculpture of this program, produced by Gage / Clemenceau Architects in 2009, was a giant shimmering and pulsing metallic sculpture that rose to a height of twelve feet from a fluidly contoured podium cnc-cut from Trespa façade panels. The sculpture was formed from a combination of robotically-carved translucent pink Corian panels, all covered in a shimmering veil of reflective, laser-cut and patterned stainless steel. The eternally changing, colored LED lights shifted through hues of pink, purple, and magenta, matching the visual frequency of the translucent plates to create a shifting luminescent glow. Reported by the New York Times as "what may be Times Square's answer to the Rockefeller Christmas tree" the sculpture, and subsequent years of the program, have contributed to the cultural landscape of New York City, not to mention being the site for over 100 wedding proposals to date.