Selected out of seven other proposals, Brooklyn and Bogota-based architecture and design firm Studio Cadena’s site-specific installation Happy is the winner of the fifth annual Flatiron Public Plaza Holiday Design Competition hosted by the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership Business Improvement District (BID) and Van Alen Institute. The installation features 23 softly shaped transparent vinyl screens that drape down from an open frame to inscribe an intimate collective space and provide an analog filter to see the city in a different light.
“In our otherwise bleak social and political context, this architectural installation aspires to carve a small yet more positive urban space,” explains Benjamin Cadena, Studio Cadena’s founder and principal. “It seeks to offer a warm embrace during the cold winter months.”
Softly swaying in the breeze, the installation overlaps and overlays continuously interplay with light, inviting passerby to bask in its rich saturated glow. “It emotes and evokes what we all wish to be,” continues Cadena. “This Happy installation is a simple devise to make you stop, wonder, and most importantly, smile.”
David van der Leer, exiting director of Van Alen Institute, noted the impact that Happy could have on people’s’ daily lives during a cold and colorless time of year. “By expressing a positive emotion in a public space, Studio Cadena’s delightful installation invites people to take a moment to consider the joy of being in the big, busy city during the holiday season.”
Happy was selected by a jury of experts in design and public art including the Corcoran Group’s Nick Athanail, Michael Bierut, partner at Pentagram, Emily Colasacco, event director of NYC Summer Streets, as well as V. Mitch McEwan, partner at A(n) Office, and Aleksey Lukyanov-Cherny of SITU Studio. Happy will be on view through January 1, 2019 at the Flatiron North Public Plaza, located at the intersection of Broadway, Fifth Avenue, and 23rd Street.