“We Were Strangers Once Too” by hybrid research group The Office for Creative Research reminds us yet again that immigrants make America great, and that upholding the values of showing love and respect for all is as important as ever—especially during a time when the identities of entire communities are being unjustly questioned by those in power.
The installation was the winning proposal of the 2017 Times Square Valentine Heart Design Competition, wherein architecture and design firms propose a Valentine's Day public art installation in time for the holiday at New York City's bustling Times Square. Curated by the Urban Design Forum for 2017, the Times Square Arts competition has been met with success over the last nine years.
“We Were Strangers Once Too” is a public data sculpture that highlights the significant roles of immigrants in the founding and development of New York City.
Read on for more.
At frontal view, the 33 metal pink and red poles of the installation are grouped to form the image of a heart. Up close, the poles display data from the 2015 American Community Survey and are inscribed and hued to represent the national origins and shifting populations of foreign-born NYC residents. The data inscriptions serve as a small yet impactful reminder of the diverse communities that make NYC what it is.
“Now more than ever New Yorkers need to stand up and say we are proud to live in a city of immigrants,” The Office for Creative Research stated. “We Were Strangers Once Too is our way to acknowledge and say thank you to the diverse communities of NYC for their many contributions historically, currently and into the future.”
"For the ninth annual Valentine Heart Design Competition, The Office for Creative Research designed an installation that celebrates the true heart of New York City — the people,” Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, said.
Invited finalists for the 2017 competition included: AWED Alan Waxman Ecosocial Design, Ekene Ijeoma, Future Firm with Andrew Heumann, Jaklitsch / Gardner Architects, McEwen Studio | V. Mitch McEwen, Partner & Partners with Annie Barrett, and Young New Yorkers.
“We Were Strangers Once Too” is currently on view at Father Duffy Square (between 46th and 47th Streets near TKTS and the Red Steps) until March 5.
Check out some of the previous winning installations in the links below.
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