Studio Cadena's Happy, winner of the annual Flatiron Public Plaza Design Competition, opens
By Mackenzie Goldberg|
Wednesday, Nov 21, 2018
Studio Cadena's cheerful installation "Happy," which won the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership and Van Alen Institute's fifth Flatiron Public Plaza Holiday Competition, has opened to the public, remaining on display through the new year. Located at the intersection of Broadway, Fifth Avenue, and 23rd Street, Happy features 23 softly shaped transparent vinyl screens that drape down from an open frame to inscribe an intimate collective space within.
“We all wish each other happiness during the holidays," says Benjamin Cadena, Founder and Principal of Studio Cadena. "This installation physically manifests this well wishing to all who visit Flatiron. In our otherwise bleak social and political context, it aspires to carve a small and more positive space in the city—it offers a warm embrace during the cold winter months.”
The highly visible landmark, which made its debut during the first snowfall of the season, was designed to invoke a sense of joy during the wintery months. Its rich colored surface, describes the architects, shimmers and reflects while it casts long colored shadows in the low light of late fall and early winter. By infusing the surrounding context in a rich saturated glow, Happy tempts passersby to stop, wonder, and most importantly, smile.
The design from Brooklyn-based firm Studio Cadena was selected from among nine proposals by firms including Agency—Agency; Brandt : Haferd; MODU; N H M D; Office III; P.R.O. and Wolfgand & Hite.
“In a relatively small way, 'Happy' demonstrates the huge impact that design can have on daily life,” said David van der Leer, the Executive Director of Van Alen Institute. “By expressing a positive emotion in a public space, Studio Cadena’s delightful installation invites people to take a moment to consider the joy of being in the big, busy city during the holiday season."
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