Habitat Workshop’s Bloom makes its Times Square debut for Valentine’s Day

Heart of the Matter

Habitat Workshop’s Bloom makes its Times Square debut for Valentine’s Day

If you’re heading to Times Square between now and March 9, keep an eye out for the matrix-like canopy of interconnected bundles of PVC pipe held aloft by four pink columns—and whether you’re solo or accompanied by a partner, paramour, or anyone with a special place in your heart, be sure to pause for a moment to scope out Midtown Manhattan’s latest work of impassioned temporary architecture.

The installation in question is Bloom, a “buoyant cloudscape” celebrating the enduring strength of collective love. Formally unveiled on Wednesday at Father Duffy Square between 46th and 47th Streets after being announced last month as the winner of Times Square Arts’ 2022 Love in Times Square Design Competition, the pavilion is the work of Brooklyn-based architecture and urban design practice Habitat Workshop.

Bloom was one of five submitted design proposals in the running for this year’s competition, which is now in its 14th year and was previously known as simply the Times Square Design Competition (and before that, the Times Square Valentine Heart Competition.) Alongside Habitat Workshop, the four other studios/designs invited to participate were: A+A+AbioMATTERS StudioDevang Arvind Shah, and Studio Fierro.

Bloom is presented by Times Square Arts, the public art arm of nonprofit business improvement district the Times Square Alliance, in partnership with the Museum of Art and Design. It was fabricated by IDEKO.

a designer stands in front of a temporary valentine's day installation
Jieun Yang of Habitat Workshop and Bloom (Maria Baranova/Courtesy Times Square Arts)

As with past iterations of the popular competition, Bloom’s big day will be on February 14, Valentine’s Day, when it will serve as the backdrop for a flurry of affectionate activity including weddings, surprise proposals, a planned group vow renewal ceremony on the Red Steps, and likely more than a little PDA.

“The project invites everyone from multiple approaches to pass through the portal of thick clouds,” Jieun Yang, founding principal of Habitat Workshop, explained to AN back in January. “Once the material thins out at the peak of each inner vault inside the structure, warming rays of light greet each visitor and remind how moments of happiness can still exist in the shroud of darkness.”

“The array of pixelated heart patterns blooming from the center are less recognizable from the ground approach but crystallize when gazing up from the inside of the structure,” added Yang. “The varying thickness of the circular roof plane casts shadows that change direction and shape, and the surrounding billboards, buildings, and headlights cast a changing spectrum of colors at night. Bloom embodies this space between change and stasis, as represented by the relationship between fixed structure and its multiple readings. It serves as a reminder for grounding love that can provide room for growth.”

Beyond Valentine’s Day, Bloom will remain on view until March 9.