Erected in the forecourt of New York’s iconic Flatiron Plaza, a public art installation, known as Happy, is designed to “bring a smile to your dial” during an otherwise dreary winter season.
Studio Cadena’s Happy installation is the winner of the fifth annual Design Competition hosted by the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership Business Improvement District (BID) and Van Alen Institute. As the centrepiece of the annual holiday program, the installation was selected by a jury with expertise across the worlds of design and public art, including representatives from the Flatiron Partnership, New York City DOT Art, and Van Alen Institute’s board of trustees.
Sited on the Flatiron North Public Plaza at the intersection of 23rd Street, Broadway and Fifth Avenue, Happy was designed as both a figure and a place. A series of rounded yellow vinyl screens drape down from an open frame to create a more intimate collective space and provide an analog filter to see the city in a different light.
“We all wish each other happiness during the holidays. This installation physically manifests this well wishing to all who visitFlatiron,” said Benjamin Cadena, Founder and Principal ofStudio Cadena. “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 closed-call design competition began in June 2018, when the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership and Van Alen Institute invited eight design and architecture firms to submit proposals. The installation is permitted through New York City DOT Art and is open to the public daily, weather permitting. Visitors to the installation and participants in the “23 Days” programming are encouraged to share their photos on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #HappyinFlatiron.
The Happy project team includes Silman (structural engineer) and YOUNGBUK Art Services LLC (fabricator/installer).
Images © Cameron Blaylock