2013 Times Square Valentine Heart Design Finalists

Written by Alyce Packard, BID Candidate

For the past 5 years, The Times Square Alliance has had a competition for creating a sculptural Valentine's Day celebration right in Times Square that the public can interact with. The competition is a collaboration between Times Square Arts and The Design Trust for Public Space and they invite architecture and design firms to submit proposals for a romantic public art installation that celebrates Valentine's Day.

Photo from www.designlaunches.com
This year’s winner was the Brooklyn-based firm Situ Studio. These sculptures have a double meaning. Not only are they beautiful pieces for Valentine's day, but they're also like a memorial to what Hurricane Sandy did to Long Beach, New York; Sea Girt, New Jersey; and Atlantic City, New Jersey. They used salvaged boardwalk pieces from the Jersey Shore to create the heart-shaped structure on the left. The structure begins as two ribbons of the wooden planks that lift from the ground to form a heart shaped enclosure in the center of Duffy Square.

Photo from newyork.thecityatlas.org
Not only do these planks hold a special meaning because of where they came from but they are also highly functional for the design itself. Instead of having a solid enclosure, the boards make it so that they provide varied views of the interior as the visitors move around the perimeter of the structure and they also allow the lights from within the installation to spill out onto the sidewalk. I think all of these are really appropriate features given that it's such a public space. A visitor can actually enter the enclosure so that they are literally standing in the heart of New York City.

Photo from www.timessquarenyc.org
Although it didn't win, I think this idea from Rux Design was really cute. The idea is pretty simple, there’s a giant inflatable heart in the center of Times Square that you pump up. The hand and seesaw pumps require teamwork which is in the spirit of Valentine’s Day and each pump fills the balloon with both air and light. The balloon will lose air at a controlled rate so that many people will have to work together to keep it full and bright.

Photo from www.timessquarenyc.org
This design by Holler Architecture is a little more outside the box than the inflatable heart but I think they're both similar in concept. I like that both of these, and especially this one, require physical effort and help from multiple people to make the display function. This design features a 10 foot high lighting sculpture at the center. The sculpture is made out of acrylic bands arranged in the shape of a heart. Each band has controlled edge lighting which provides a beat to the activity. Around this sculpture are 10 bicycles on a platform. The visitors have to pedal the bikes in order for the heart to light up which provides a healthy, interactive, and collaborative experience for them. Along with Valentine's Day, this also celebrates alternative modes of transportation and alternative modes of energy generation.

To see the other entries that didn’t win but are still amazing or to learn more about the designs featured here, visit www.timessquarenyc.org!