broken glass surrounds fearless girl statue in NYC to celebrate international women's day

broken glass surrounds fearless girl statue in NYC to celebrate international women's day

 

shattered glass installation celebrates women’s day

 

design collective obj in collaboration with sophie pennetier, paul laroque, and michael ludvik designed a shattered glass ceiling that surrounded the fearless girl statue (kristen visbal, 2017) in front of the new york stock exchange for international women’s day, 2021. standing on site for two days (march 7th & 8th, 2021), the work came with a message: today’s broken glass ceilings are tomorrow’s stepping stones. the naturally reflective piece is dynamic and performative, changing as the sun moves across the sky and as pedestrians move around the street.

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the shattered glass installation

images courtesy of obj (cover image courtesy of new motor)

 

 

using the beauty and power of glass

 

taking in the reflections of the surrounding context, the new york stock exchange is broken into fractured reflections below the fearless girl’s feet. using the beauty and power of a simple pile of glass, the piece also reflects that society’s glass ceiling has not been fully shattered yet. the work explores the process of glass breaking and expresses that motion in time. ‘we wanted the work to read as if it were still falling — like a snapshot of movement,’ shares the obj team. ‘the challenge became how to realize the concept — how to support floating pieces of glass on a public street in NYC.’

 

in order to achieve the purity of the concept, the project was made exclusively of glass. after rigorous physical experiments with breaking glass in many different ways, and testing how glass plays with light and shadow, the shape, size, and location of each shard was designed parametrically. using ultra-strong transparent UV glue, the vertical wedge pieces propped themselves up in a kickstand structure. it was a herculean effort for the entire team, from the bespoke glass cutting to the overnight installation. ‘it was a whirlwind of ideas, technology, and fabrication,’ said jensen of obj, ‘but at the end of the day, the most rewarding part for us was how it was received — strangers kept reaching out to tell us how emotional it made them feel. I am glad our sentiment translated to the larger world — we struck a chord.’ after the two-day event, the glass pieces were collected and will be repurposed/upcycled, the recycled shards continuing to represent that the work of societal equality is not over.

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the fearless girl statue through the glass

 

 

fabrication and installation process

 

bringing 350 annealed 12mm glass shards (1200 lbs) to a public NYC street for the two-day showing came with unique engineering, fabrication, permitting, and installation challenges. parametric modeling with karumba in grasshopper (plugins for rhino) were used to test the vertical shards for stability and resistance to wind-overturning. finite element analysis was leveraged to evaluate the principal stresses in the glass and adhesive bonding, as well as the maximal deflections.

 

brooklyn-based new motor fabrication studio assembled the composite pieces in their shop, using a ‘soft’ UV glue to protect the cantilevers further. the resting edges of the standing pieces were covered with a clear vinyl extrusion and punctual custom foam profiles. the team installed the work overnight. a plywood grid with construction twine provided the fabricator precision and flexibility to install the nested units. the piece is in storage and will be used in smaller iterations. the design team flexed the unit-models until they met the structural requirements and then directly output cut files for agnora (a specialty glass fabricator in canada) skipping over traditional shop drawings. the horizontal glass pieces were cut from one and a half jumbo float glass sheets with a no-waste strategy.

 

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the installation next to the NY stock exchange

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the installation at dawn

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bond street

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the installation next to the federal hall

 

 

 

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broken glass surrounds fearless girl statue in NYC to celebrate international women’s day
 
broken glass surrounds fearless girl statue in NYC to celebrate international women’s day
 
broken glass surrounds fearless girl statue in NYC to celebrate international women’s day
 
broken glass surrounds fearless girl statue in NYC to celebrate international women’s day
 
broken glass surrounds fearless girl statue in NYC to celebrate international women’s day
 
broken glass surrounds fearless girl statue in NYC to celebrate international women’s day
 
broken glass surrounds fearless girl statue in NYC to celebrate international women’s day
 
broken glass surrounds fearless girl statue in NYC to celebrate international women’s day
 
broken glass surrounds fearless girl statue in NYC to celebrate international women’s day
 
broken glass surrounds fearless girl statue in NYC to celebrate international women’s day
 
broken glass surrounds fearless girl statue in NYC to celebrate international women’s day
 
broken glass surrounds fearless girl statue in NYC to celebrate international women’s day
 
broken glass surrounds fearless girl statue in NYC to celebrate international women’s day
 

project info:

 

name: fearless girl broken glass ceiling for international women’s day
designer: obj with merica may jensen (design lead); yushiro okamoto; ryan botts
in collaboration with: sophie pennetier, paul laroque, and michael ludvik

location: new york city

 

 

designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

 

edited by: myrto katsikopoulou | designboom

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