SOFTLab’s “Nova” Transforms Flatiron Public Plaza for the Holiday Season

SOFTLab’s “Nova” Transforms Flatiron Public Plaza for the Holiday Season

The Flatiron Public Plaza has unveiled its centerpiece for this year’s “23 Days of Flatiron Cheer” – SOFTLab’s Nova, the winner of a closed-competition hosted by the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership Business Improvement District (BID) and Van Alen Institute. The project will become the center of the neighbourhood’s festivities for the holiday season, as well as “a highly visible landmark” in the heart of New York.

SOFTLab’s “Nova” Transforms Flatiron Public Plaza for the Holiday Season - More Images+ 11

Courtesy of 3M

Nova acts as an observatory from the ideal viewing platform of the Flatiron Plaza. Various viewing cones are arranged, pointing to different landmarks. Pedestrians are invited by the crystalline structure to enter and view New York icons like the Flatiron Building, Met Life Tower clock tower, Empire State Building and more. LEDs within the installation enhance the experience with a pulsating light.

Courtesy of 3M

“Using a mix of optical materials, our design creates a human scale kaleidoscope, remixing the surrounding iconic buildings with color, light, and the reflections of pedestrians,” said Michael Szivos, Founder and Principal at SOFTlab. “Although our design reads as an iconic and festive figure from above, the experience at the pedestrian level is very different. The exterior gives way to a crystal-like, mirror-surfaced interior that looks different from all sides.”

© Steven Jackson

The closed-call competition for the installation included four other design/architecture firms besides SOFTLab: Bureau V, Method Design, Sage and Coombe, and Studio KCA.

"The annual holiday installation is now a tradition in the district that is enjoyed by visitors and locals alike…We are particularly proud that this year’s installation is a true local effort – not only in our partnership with Van Alen Institute, but also in the selection of a neighborhood design firm, SOFTlab,” said Flatiron Partnership Executive Director Jennifer Brown.

Courtesy of Van Alen Institute

Along with the sponsorship of the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership, Nova and its associated holiday program is made possible with support from Tiffany & Co. and Meringoff Properties (Presenting Sponsors); and Grey Group and Macmillan (Contributing Sponsors). The project was permitted through NYC DOT Art.

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Cite: Eric Oh. "SOFTLab’s “Nova” Transforms Flatiron Public Plaza for the Holiday Season" 25 Nov 2015. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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