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The new installation, Flatiron Reflections, as scene from the south side of 23rd Street, looking north

The winner of the fourth annual Flatiron Public Plaza Holiday Design Competition, Flatiron Reflection by Brooklyn-based architectural firm Future Expansion, was unveiled this week, complete with live music by The Jazz Gallery, small bites from ilili Box and hot chocolate from Shake Shack. Viewers had a chance to spin-the-wheel to win gifts from local businesses on the Flatiron Prize wheel, and an opportunity to donate to the holiday food drive for the Food Bank for New York City.

But the star of the evening was the winner of the closed-call design competition, Flatiron Reflection. The installation was specifically designed to be experienced both from a distance and close-up. Light and shadows dance around the tubes, while soft, hazy reflections display on the folds and sharpen as viewers approach. Viewers were indeed curling up into the open tubes, while cell phone camera’s flashed inside and outside the new, colorfully reflective installation. Selfie’s surrounded by glistening tubes, against a skyline of iconic and historic sites.

The Flatiron Public Plaza Holiday Design Competition is hosted by The Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership and Van Alen Institute, which invited ten design and architecture firms to submit proposals. The winning design, Flatiron Reflections, “is designed for three scales of experience: the deeply creased exterior makes spaces for individuals; the interior room offers an intimate panorama for small groups; and the north-facing wedge presents a platform toward the plaza. We hope that the installation opens new possibilities for interaction and experiences while reinforcing the pure public essence of the site,” said Deirdre and Nicholas McDermott, principles of Future Expansion.

The competition has “become a valuable platform for launching new practices, a visible celebration of inventive, temporary designs that enliven public space during a chillier season, and an opportunity to understand how these spaces impact our minds and bodies,” said David van der Leer, Executive Director of Van Alan Institute. Last year, visitors to the plaza had the opportunity to relax in a hammock with Flatiron Skyline; other past installations include Nova by SOFTlab in 2015, and INABA’s New York Lights in 2014.

The unveiling of the annual holiday installation design competition is a preview for the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership annual “23 Days of Flatiron Cheer” holiday programming, which will begin on December 1 and run through December 23, highlighting shopping, dining, and cultural attractions in the area. Flatiron Reflections will remain on view on the North Flatiron Public Plaza at Broadway, Fifth Avenue, and 23rd Street, through the holidays. The installation is permitted through NYC DOT Art and is open to the public daily, weather permitting, through January 1, 2018.

While you’re there, step across the street to Madison Square Park, and immerse yourself in a carpet of luminous orbs entitled Whiteout by artist Erwin Redl. Get in touch with the author at AFineLyne.

 Flatiron District

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