Though Times Square is ordinarily a hive of scurrying masses, expect to find an even denser flow of people rushing through the Crossroads of the World these next two weeks. During a celebratory kickoff event on Friday morning, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and the Times Square Alliance celebrated the official opening of Design Pavilion 2018, a nine-day design “happening” that takes place until May 20th on Times Square’s five public pedestrian plazas that run along Broadway between 42nd and 47th Streets. 

Serving as the public face to NYCxDESIGN, New York City’s annual, two-week celebration of design, Design Pavilion is where visitors can grab their official NYCxDESIGN guide via an information kiosk. As part of the event, Times Square’s pedestrian plazas are now presenting free, daily programming (Design Talks NYC), the second annual Design Market NYC (featuring gifts and products from designers) and newly installed architectural pavilions, which embody the theme “From This Day Forward” and invite the public to engage with the built environment.

The highlight this year is a 25-foot-high futuristic and inflatable hub, which looks like a product straight out of a science-fiction movie. Conceptualized by UK-based architecture and lightweight design brand, Inflate, and featuring lighting by L’Observatoire, the large scale structure forms a shell around special exhibitions, including New York Artists: A Public Art Exhibition, a rolling project of 50 magazine covers by 50 artists in celebration of New York magazine’s 50th anniversary; a showcase of digital fixtures from Duggal Visual Solutions; a pop-up shop from The American Design Club; winning designs from Bright New Things, a competition sponsored by Avery Dennison and Arts Thread, among other installations (show below in the order they are mentioned).

Outside of the hub, visitors are also invited to playfully interact with the architectural pavilions on the rest of the pedestrian plazas. This includes a showcase of chairs from MAGIS with HERMAN MILLER, for which design students were asked to develop 2D artwork as backdrops; Pratt Institute’s The Future of Take-Out, an exhibition of student solutions that focus on reducing waste; MIO’s new line of modern and sustainable furniture designed to enhance creativity; and zU-studio’s anti-gravity seating.

For the first year, the Times Square Alliance is also showcasing prototypes developed through the Times Square Design Lab, which commissions proposals to enhance public space from New York City designers. We found the collection wonderfully whimsical and playful — a thought likely shared by others as plenty of visitors stopped to make use of the installations (or at the very least, take photos of them).

‘Drop Sign’ signage system by Louis Lim

‘Island Collection,’ a seating concept by Brad Ascalon

Curvilinear bookcase and seating alternative, ‘Title Wave,’ by Hive Public Space

Another seating design, by Joe Doucet, entitled ‘The Village’

Of course, Times Square’s iconic digital screens can’t be forgotten from the programming. Keep an eye on NASDAQ’s cylindrical video column, which is presenting design-themed interviews from partners, and the Superior Digital display that’s showcasing digital animations by audiovisual design collective Circus Family. As there’s so much happening over the course of the next two weeks during NYCxDESIGN, we’ve selected a few not-to-miss events for your convenience, which include talks, tours and much more. Take a look at what’s in store and visit for the full calendar.

Next, experience NYCxDesign with Untapped Cities + Design Trust for Public Space!