Lateral Office, the Canadian experimental design practice that operates at the intersection of architecture, landscape, and urbanism, in partnership with CS Design, installed 12 seesaws in New York City's Garment District. The urban intervention will stay on display until the 31st of January 2020.
Located on Broadway Avenue between 37th and 38th Streets, the block closed completely for vehicular traffic in order to encourage pedestrians to interact with the installation. The urban space is transformed into a playground with the introduction of one of the most famous games for kids.
Ranging from 4.8 to 7.3 meters, the seesaws light up and emit sounds when activated and used. Part of Garment District Art on the Plazas street program, the installation is triggered when people sit on each end of the planks and grab the handle. In a resting position, the seesaws also radiate, transmitting a dimmed light.
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Commissioned by the Garment District Alliance, a non-profit organization, the intervention was created by Lateral Office in collaboration with architecture studio CS Design and structural engineers EGP Group. Sound designer Mitchell Akiyama and electronic design studio Robocut produced the music, and Generique Design manufactured the system.
First presented in 2015 at the Luminothérapie festival in Montreal, Canada, the initial project entitled Impulse has already won several prizes likes the National Urban Design Award, RAIC in 2016, the AZ Award in 2016, the Prix Lumiere from IES Montreal in 2016 and the AL Design Award, Architectural Lighting Magazine, in 2017. Generating public interaction, the intervention activates the streets and the spaces, encouraging visitors to stop, play and watch. Through sound and light, the installation and the public realm are animated and “alive”.