The seventh annual Flatiron Public Plaza Design Installation has been revealed by Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership and the nonprofit Van Alen Institute, and this year’s temporary holiday pavilion will expand across both South and North Plazas for the first time.
In Point of Action, Studio Cooke John, a New York-based multidisciplinary design firm led by Nina Cooke John, has created a series of nine freestanding steel pavilions, interlinked with concentric, six-foot-diameter red rings on the ground. More than just a visual connector and social distancing marker, each of the nine circles will be illuminated from above and act as a “spotlight,” highlighting participants inside. Lights will also be embedded in the metal frames themselves, and ropes woven over the frames can be pulled aside or closed like curtains.
The whole installation is an overt commentary and distillation of the pandemic era, from the innate social distancing required to the scaling of webcam-friendly ring lights to industrial sizes.
“We are at a threshold during this pandemic,” said Nina Cooke John in a press statement from Van Alen. “Now that our eyes have been opened to realities that have been with us all along, how do we move forward? My hope is that Point of Action makes people think about how we connect to the people we see every day so that we can move forward together.”
According to Van Alen, Studio Cooke John beat out six other similarly sized firms based in New York City, none of them strangers to interesting and interactive installation design. The firms included: Architensions, Austin + Mergold, Bryony Roberts Studio, Office Lou Arencibia, Studio Ijeoma, and Studio Zewde.
Point of Action will be open to the public from November 23, 2020, through January 1, 2021.