Since 2014, The Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership has sponsored a yearly contest for an outdoor installation as a way of celebrating the holidays in the BID’s namesake neighborhood. This year’s winner, titled Ziggy, has just opened across the street from the Flatiron Building.
In collaboration with the Van Alen Institute (the venerable non-profit organization devoted to promoting good design for public spaces), the annual Flatiron Public Plaza Holiday Design Competition invites architecture firms to submit user-friendly project proposals for the pedestrian mall on the triangle where Broadway, Fifth Avenue and E 23rd Street meet. One previous entry, for example, featured transparent yellow vinyl curtains hung from stanchion-supported rods that formed an enclosure mimicking the Flatiron’s prow-shaped footprint.
Ziggy comes courtesy of design studio Hou de Sousa, whose creation evokes the seasonal spirit with a sinuous, multi-hued structure. An undulating wall created as an open framework strung with painted lengths of rebar and 27,000 feet of iridescent cord, it features archways and public seating formed as U-shaped and circular openings in its sides.
Illuminated from below with fixtures positioned throughout, Ziggy—which looks a bit like a psychedelic cage—has a shimmering transparent quality that invites viewer interaction. Hou de Sousa describes their handiwork, a “porous wall [that] will welcome folks arriving from all directions while ringing in the holiday season with a flourish of color and light.”
Weary shoppers (or anyone else, for that matter) will have until January 1 to visit Ziggy for a chance at respite with a side order of Yuletide cheer.