Times Square Design Lab Invites The Public To Test Furniture Prototypes

Times Square Design Lab Invites The Public To Test Furniture Prototypes
Design

The initiative connects people with new design ideas to improve their experience of one of the world’s most iconic public spaces

Dave Pinter, PSFK
  • 22 may 2018

Times Square is mostly known as one of the most commercialized pieces of land on planet Earth. It’s also a perpetual magnet for tourists looking for a New York experience. The street level of Times Square has undergone some pretty radical changes in recent years. The ‘red steps’ of the second generation TKTS booth designed by Choi Ropiha and the pedestrian friendly plaza redesign developed by Snohetta have made it a vastly better public space.

Launching during the 2018 NYCxDesign festival is a new initiative that explores how design can further improve people’s experience during their visit. The Times Square Design Lab (TSqDL) is an outdoor activation presenting five design concepts by NYC-based designers that explore offering new amenities to public space. Visitors to Times Square during the week of NYCxDesign have the opportunity to use and test each prototype. The collection offers new ideas in public seating, wayfinding and access to culture.

This is the first time Times Square has used the plaza for design ideas. PSFK spoke with TJ Witham, Director of Communications for Times Square Alliance, who said that the TSqDL presented a unique opportunity to field test design ideas in one of the most heavily trafficked places in the world. It was added to the annual Design Pavilion exhibition, a free public design event now in its second year at Times Square. Witham said the hope is to make TSqDL an annual event itself to address different public space design challenges and involve more designers.

Here’s a look at the five prototypes that debuted for 2018:

Island Collection by Brad Ascalon. A series of modular seating and planter boxes that can be configured to fit practically any space. The close proximity of plants to people aims to bring a connection to nature to a largely un-green environment. Island Collection is the first of these prototypes to go into production by Michigan-based Landscape Forms.

Re: Post by DYAD. Displaying posters and wayfinding at eye level outdoors is difficult with most temporary sign holders. They get blown over easily. DYAD’s sign holder idea takes inspiration from kick-boxing bags to create a stable wind-resistant fixture that doesn’t damage the plaza surface.

The Village by Joe Doucet. A series of large-scale seating structures that bring a sense of home to the urban environment. The colorful metal rod-constructed pods have a distinctive pitched roof that are identifiable from a distance as a meeting point.

Title Wave by Hive Public Space. With the sensory overload of sound and lights surrounding Times Square, getting lost in a book might seem challenging. Title Wave aims to encourage reading by combining book shelving with a lounging bench. One or more Title Wave benches are intended as an amenity for the Strand Bookstore outpost already located in Times Square.

Drop Sign by Louis Lim. Having built a reputation for incorporating interaction and play into furniture, Louis Lim tackled redesigning the traditional A-frame sidewalk sign. His teardrop shaped sign system self balances against wind gusts or human touch. Lim developed two variants: one accepts printed posters and the other is covered in chalkboard paint for handwritten signs.

Times Square Design Lab


Images: Times Square Alliance and Dave Pinter

Times Square is mostly known as one of the most commercialized pieces of land on planet Earth. It’s also a perpetual magnet for tourists looking for a New York experience. The street level of Times Square has undergone some pretty radical changes in recent years. The ‘red steps’ of the second generation TKTS booth designed by Choi Ropiha and the pedestrian friendly plaza redesign developed by Snohetta have made it a vastly better public space.

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+Times Square
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