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Kaleidoscopic installation brings a futuristic funhouse hall of mirrors to the Flatiron District

Written by
Howard Halle

The walk-through art installation that went up this week across from the Flatiron Building is, among other things, tailor-made for taking cool selfies or maybe for just admiring yourself—or, in this case, your selves. That's because the piece (which, from the outside, looks a cross between a Bedouin tent and a starfish) has an interior lined with a crystalline honeycomb of mirrored panels, reflecting and refracting the surroundings like a giant kaleidoscope. Plus it lights up in different colors!

Nova, as it's titled, is the handiwork of SOFTlab, a cutting-edge design firm that has previously created similarly trippy projects for the former Williamsburgh Savings Bank building in Brooklyn and the San Gennaro Festival in Little Italy. They've also designed displays for exhibitions and retail environments. They were the winners of a competition to build the centerpiece for “23 Days of Flatiron Cheer,” a neighborhood celebration of the season mounted by the Flatiron Partnership/23rd Street BID. In fact, Nova's spiky appearance is meant to suggest the North Star, which, as we all know, points the way to Santa's workshop. Each point of the structure is suppose to function as a kind of telescope framing views of the Met Life Tower, the Empire State Building and other midtown landmarks.

Nova is up through the holidays, so bring your phone and your own bad self and have a look. Your Instagram account is waiting.

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