I ought to - CODAworx

I ought to

Client: New York

Location: New York, NY, United States

Completion date: 2017

Artwork budget: $150,000

Project Team


Matthew Geller

Hutabut LLC

Industry Resource

Joe Meppelink

Merge Studios

Industry Resource

Jan Peters

Glasmalerei Peters Studios

Industry Resource

Lance Gandy

Gandy Lighting Design


I ought to is a trio of round stools capped by a circular corten steel and hand-cast glass concave canopy. The canopy is a witty conflation of the pedestrian and the sacred: a 19th century illuminated manhole cover enlarged to the size of a rose window, a standard feature of Gothic cathedrals. The glass casting method allows for idiosyncrasies in the glass (color, pattern, transparency, air bubbles) while ensuring that the shape is consistent. Small steel medallions and linear braids also adorn the underside of the canopy, much the same way they are used on manhole covers for both functional and decorative purposes. On rainy days, water drains from the center of the canopy through a 12-inch oculus, creating a diminutive passive water feature in the middle of the work. At night, a spotlight mounted on a nearby lamppost illuminates the glass.

2018 NYCxDesign Awards Outdoor/Urban Landscape Finalist

Myrtle Avenue pedestrian plaza, Brooklyn, NY
9’ x 14’ x 14’
Corten, carbon, & stainless steel, cast iron, cast glass, LED spotlight


A sculpture incorporated into the new Myrtle Avenue pedestrian plaza references a common below-grade experience for New Yorkers and visitors—the subway station.


Geller’s process always begins with stakeholder and community engagement which could include learning about the area's history, gaining insight into the community’s vision for the site, and brainstorming about what would enrich and bring together their diverse community.

Metalab provided project management, design development, and fabrication oversite services

AECOM’s design for the new Myrtle Avenue pedestrian plaza carefully considered the location of the artwork and the plaza features in proximity to the artwork. The artist collaborated with the Commissioning agencies, which include, the City of New York Department of Cultural Affairs Percent for Art Program, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Design and Construction.

Additional Information

In his public art practice, Matthew Geller’s participatory sculptures become one of the building blocks that make a space a destination. As such, the work activates the site and promotes interaction among visitors, often creating intimate moments in a singularly public space. Part of his work’s success is that it is physically experiential: viewers understand that there is a place for themselves in it. His sculptures enable moments of respite and delight, befitting the site's functional and visual context. He purposefully uses materials from the everyday environment creating a level of connection to the familiar while highlighting elements of awe and beguilement. The idea is to surprise while fostering the sense of an inclusive community around an unlikely object or location, creating a micro public square or landmark. By considering behavioral design and incorporating dynamic elements activated by people and changes in the weather, the resulting work is in constant flux. Ultimately, the artwork’s goal will be to engender a sense of wonder, enhancing the community and visitor experience.