BIG Love: Bjarke Ingels Group Architects Built a Luminous Love Letter to New York City

BIG Love: Bjarke Ingels Group Architects Built a Luminous Love Letter to New York City
“BIG♥NYC” is a 10-foot tall glowing heart sculpture in Times Square consisting of 400 transparent, LED lit, acrylic tubes
(Courtesy Times Square Alliance)

NEW YORK — Danish architecture firm and recent New York transplant Bjarke Ingels Group (or BIG, the same people who brought you the AIA-award winning 8 House in Copenhagen), recently erected its New York debut: BIG ? NYC, a glowing red LED-lit installation in the heart of it all — Times Square. 

Installed just in time for Valentine's Day, the sculpture looks more like an expression of love for the city than that of doe-eyed couples. Conceptually, Bjarke Ingels wanted to carve a structure out of what he says is the essence of Times Square: "Tons of people, reflections, and lights." His team assembled a grid of acrylic tubes illuminated by red LEDs (the "light source of the future," he calls them, as the super eco-friendly lights have been rapidly declining in cost lately). Arranged in the shape of a heart, the LED bulbs glow brighter and "beat" faster as more people make contact with the sculpture's touch-sensitive base. It's somewhat similar to those touch lamps whose popularity peaked in the '90s. 

“It’s not some remote bench overlooking the water,” Ingels told ARTINFO, but it’s certainly a romantic place to visit. The heart beat brightest shortly after its unveiling last week. “We saw that it had aroused this massive, almost like an orgy of public participation, but it was because of the Giants winning the Super Bowl."

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