The Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership Business Improvement District (BID) and Van Alen Institute recently named Studio Cadena's site-specific installation, 'Happy,' as the winner of the fifth annual Flatiron Public Plaza Design Competition. Happy is the centerpiece of the annual program and a highly visible landmark in this thriving New York City neighborhood.
"We all wish each other happiness during the holidays. This installation physically manifests this well wishing to all who visit Flatiron," commented Benjamin Cadena, Founder and Principal of Studio 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."
Happy features 23 softly shaped transparent vinyl screens that drape down from an open frame to inscribe an intimate collective space within. Its rich colored surface projects a highly visible and memorable figure from a distance, and up close, filters views inside and out by infusing the surrounding context in a rich saturated glow. Gently swaying in the breeze, it shimmers and reflects while it casts long colored shadows in the low light of late fall and early winter. Happy is a simple device to make you stop, wonder, and most importantly, smile.
Happy is on view through January 1, 2019 at the Flatiron North Public Plaza, located at the intersection of Broadway, Fifth Avenue, and 23rd Street.
Photography: Benjamin Cadena