Island of Care

Love & Design 2023 finalist: Island of Care by Architensions

This architecture defines a boundary; this boundary defines a territory shaped as a circle, and this territory is an island of care. The project takes on the meaning of love as care for humanity, transgressing societal tropes of love related only to the romantic relationship between two single humans. In a time where we are experiencing housing scarcity, food disparity affecting underrepresented communities in our cities, and racial capitalism preventing the creation of a just society, this island represents a model.

The circular shape, inspired by ancient ancestral homes of different cultures and societies, built around a single room, offers a geometry that, by its nature, doesn’t imply hierarchy but a unifying connotation. Everyone within the perimeter of the island is free and equal in the same measure, free to care for each other and our planet and express that sentiment that we as humans cherish so much.

The design is made of one essential element: a glowing ring made of translucent shrink- wrap membrane that, elevated through a wooden structure, glows at night and floats over Duffy Square and, by extension, over Times Square to signify the presence of this island as a safe place. The Island of Care strives to devise an architectural vision that revolves around sharing resources and spaces for the common good within the urban form of the public space in Times Square. This space is understood as the space that provides resources that go beyond the physical space but a place for care as a transcalar notion of love.

Future Projects
Love Knots

Love & Design 2023 finalist: Love Knots by Future Projects

Love Knots is inspired by expressions of love associated with weaving and knot-making. From the childhood activity of making friendship bracelets to the symbolism behind the true lover’s knot, the design uses the theme of weaving to create an installation for Duffy Square that is rich in texture as well as meaning. The structure is composed of five interconnected archways that are dependent on each other for stability. Each arch is easily toppled over on their own, but together they create a series of strong and stable portals that frame views connecting Duffy Square to Times Square beyond. The arches are wrapped in a wire mesh grid with marine grade rope interwoven throughout to create a tactile textured surface while remaining light and transparent. The red and blue ropes are reminiscent of the body’s circulatory system and alternate to create different looks from every angle. On the ground is a patterned vinyl decal that emphasizes the woven loops of the structure. The archways spring up at the intersections of the ground pattern, creating a continuous loop in all three dimensions.

Limbo Accra and Alaska Alaska
Love Is

Love & Design 2023 finalist: Love Is by Limbo Accra and Alaska Alaska

The Love Is sculpture is an architectural installation that celebrates the biological design inherent to the human heart. The design transposes one from the brutalistic exterior shell of a repurposed shipping container and into the inner anatomical abstractions of the heart. It contains layered metaphors about the heart’s anatomy as an introspective place of zen, inviting New Yorkers and visitors alike to delve into their core. The sculpture is inspired by New York City and the idea that love can be found, appreciated and experienced regardless of the exterior shell hosting it.

Office of Things

Love & Design 2023 finalist: XOXO by Office of Things

X O X O is at once a message, a sculpture, and an experience. It is an artifact of city love that plays off the graphic scale of Times Square, not to contrast its spectacle, but to contribute to it.

The four totems that comprise X O X O operate at multiple scales, from the urban to the human. From afar, Xs and Os dance overhead, a loving tribute to the many billboards around. Their mysterious allure gives way to a second reading from the raised view of the TKTS stairs: the lower letters emit a colorful neon-like glow. They cast light up the structure and echo the glowing billboards above. From up close, the totems cluster together, four bright and distinct forms that establish a welcoming space to wander and gather, and where each totem is a literal meeting-in-the-middle between an X and an O, a hug and a kiss.

Yeju & Chat
Labor of Love

Love & Design 2023 finalist: Labor of Love by Yeju and Chat

“after the revolution, who’s going to pick up the garbage on Monday morning?”
 —Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Manifesto for Maintenance Art 1969!

While Times Square is better known for its development and progress, Labor of Love highlights and celebrates the other side of the busiest crossroads in the world: its maintenance. The piece acknowledges that maintenance and care—the day-to-day hard work on the ground of Times Square, especially the work of 70 sanitation associates of the Time Square Alliance—is a type of love. The project is made up of trash cans that the sanitation associates use to collect and remove trash in the square. The bottoms are removed, and the insides are covered with reflective materials. These trash cans become kaleidoscopes that visitors can look through. The varying angles of the tubes encourage people to look up at the billboards as well as down at the ground. Together it is a stage and a backdrop, with the reflective surfaces inside the trash cans remixing all sides of Times Square.