Zeckendorf Towers - Flying in Formation - CODAworx

Zeckendorf Towers – Flying in Formation

Submitted by SPAN Architecture

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Client

Location: New York, NY, United States

Completion date: 2021

Project Team

Designer

SPAN Architecture

Fabrication

Amuneal

Overview

Flying in Formation is an artwork and illusion. It is a multifaceted, dimensional art screen and chandelier initially conceived and fabricated for the renovation of the amenity space at the Zeckendorf Towers designed by Davis Brody in 1987.

The piece, designed by SPAN and crafted by Amuneal, consists of mirror-polished stainless flat bars that hold diamond shaped elements of felt, satin brass, and blackened bronze. Each of the 900 diamonds are laser cut and CNC formed into 3 orientations of the folded pieces, offering 3 different planes on which the diamonds exist, hand finished and patinated. When combined with the felt, light and shadow creates a deeper visual texture and density. A digital script was created to turn the wall screen into a hanging mobile that appears to deconstruct as it leaves the center armature.

The varying transparency of the composition allows the viewer to partially look through and see the activity and color of the space in the reflection alluding to a space inhabited beyond the screen. The dimensional piece becomes something to look at and to look through. It is a homage to the palette of the late 80’s married to a technical and material achievement of today.

Goals

Located alongside New York City's National Historic Landmark, Union Square, the Zeckendorf Towers serve as a civic anchor in this vibrant, diverse, politically active community. Given the completion of the Towers in 1987, the amenity spaces were overdue for a renovation worthy of one of NYC’s most important revitalization projects and inclusive design firms.

The primary reconfiguration is the addition of a large, hidden package room creating a challenge to maintain the grandeur of the space given it is now two thirds its original size.

The highlight of the renovation began as an exploration for lighting interior spaces receiving scant direct sunlight. New ambient fixtures provide a backdrop for the reflective, custom screen backed against the new package room that becomes an elegant chandelier. Diamonds of fizfelt, blackened bronze, and satin brass rise from the floor and ascend across the ceiling. The diaphanous motif is repeated in the entry.

The artwork camouflages the wall upon which it rests, reflects light back into the room giving the illusion of a much larger space, and activates the ceiling plane, accentuating the height of the room.

Process

The piece, designed by SPAN Architecture and crafted by Amuneal, consists of mirror-polished stainless flat bars that hold diamond shaped elements of felt, satin brass, and blackened bronze.

Each of the 900 diamonds are laser cut and CNC formed into (3) orientations of the folded pieces, offering (3) different planes on which the diamonds exist and hand finished and patinated into (3) different materials deployed. When combined with the felt, light and shadow creates a deeper visual texture and density. A digital script was created to turn the wall screen into a hanging mobile that appears to deconstruct as it leaves the center armature.

Intentionally dense at the bottom and diffused at the top, the piece rises from the floor, where the elements appear to “jump” from the vertical screen and dissipate away horizontally along the ceiling supported by mirror-polished stainless-steel rods. The shadows that dance across every surface are as intentional as each element’s placement on the custom piece.