Susan joined the AIANY Interiors and Planning Urban Design committees for an inspiring presentation and panel discussion of select public art projects, their relationship with the architectural environment, and their social impact.
The other panelists of the night, moderated by Architect’s Newspaper editor-in-chief William Menking, included MTA arts and design director Sandra Bloodworth, artist and designer James Carpenter, Grimshaw Architects’ partner Andrew Whalley, Situ Studio’s Aleksey Lukyanov-Cherny, and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs Percent for Art Program director Sara Reisman.
Focusing on Design Trust’s acclaimed collaborations, The Boogie Down Booth and Heartwalk, Susan emphasized that temporary, interactive public art installations are an effective way to increase awareness and inspire solutions for urban environment issues. That said, the challenge of resolving those problems addressed by these successful public art works lies ahead.
The Boogie Down Booth, a temporary resting spot under the Freeman Street station of the 2/5 subway tracks in the Bronx, provides solar-powered lighting and directional speakers playing Bronx artists’ music to create an active space beneath the train tracks. The Booth is the second experiment for our Under the Elevated project, in partnership with NYC DOT, and in collaboration with WHEDco, that sets out to test policy and design ideas, which might turn into more permanent solutions.
Heartwalk, the winner of the 2013 Annual Times Square Valentine Heart Design Competition organized by the Design Trust, used boardwalk boards salvaged from Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath. The piece began as two ribbons of wooden planks that fluidly lift from the ground to form a heart shaped enclosure in the middle of Duffy Square. Situ Studio, the designer of the project, was inspired by the collective experience of Hurricane Sandy and the spirit of love that bound all New Yorkers and New Jerseyans together during trying times.
The Boogie Down Booth has built connection to the legacy of music in the Bronx and the history of a creative, thriving neighborhood. It also created civic pride and a sense of belonging.
Heartwalk created a transparent room within the city – a dialogue with the great cacophony of Times Square and empathy with the affected communities as a graceful civic gesture.
The Boogie Down Booth and Heartwalk attracted so many people because they transformed a physical connection into an intellectual bond; their temporary nature allowed room for experimentation and thought-provoking expression; and their human-scaled size made them approachable.
Collaboration between artists, designers and public agencies is essential