New installation offers passersby a kaleidoscope view of Flatiron

“Nova,” a new installation at the Flatiron Pedestrian Plaza, as viewed from the inside of the structure (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

“Nova,” a new installation at the Flatiron Pedestrian Plaza, as viewed from the inside of the structure (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A new interactive art installation on the Flatiron’s north public plaza debuted last Wednesday evening, kicking off the holiday festivities in the neighborhood.

“Nova” by SOFTlab was the winning submission in the second annual Flatiron Public Plaza Holiday Design Competition, held by the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership Business Improvement District (BID) and Van Alen Institute, that called for proposals from design firms for a temporary holiday installation.

SOFTlab, which also happens to be a local firm located on West 27th Street directly north, worked with materials from 3M to create the crystalline installation that acts as a sort of observatory for historical sites in the neighborhood. Viewing scopes positioned in different directions allow passerby to see the Flatiron Building, Met Life clock tower, Empire State Building and other landmarks through a kaleidoscopic lens and LEDs that activate within the structure enhance the effect.

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