SOFTlab-nova-flatiron-holiday-installation-new-york-city-designboom-010
SOFTlab’s nova pavilion reflects kaleidoscopic views of new york’s flatiron district
photo by alan tansey

 

 

 

at the foot of new york’s soaring flatiron building, local design studio SOFTlab has built an aluminum pavilion that reflects and reveals kaleidoscopic views of the surrounding cityscape. ‘nova’, commissioned by the flatiron 23rd street partnership following a competition by the van alen institute, offers glimpses of the ever-shifting landscape of neighboring towers and bustling pedestrian traffic through a series of scopes. visitors entering the vibrantly colored gazebo can gaze at the atmosphere outside by peering through a set of angular apertures, each framing the environment in geometric and abstract perspectives. the scopes, each pointing in a different direction, form a shape that is different from all sides at street level, but resembles a seven pointed star from above. 

SOFTlab-nova-flatiron-holiday-installation-new-york-city-designboom-012
at the foot of new york’s flatiron building, SOFTlab has built an immersive aluminum pavilion
photo by alan tansey

 

 

 

working together with 3M, SOFTlab clad the interior of the structure in acrylic laminated with 3M dichroic film. the shimmering color-shifting film changes in saturation and reflectivity depending on the angle, turning each viewing cone into a pedestrian scale kaleidoscope.

 

the pavilion is made of a modular system developed in collaboration with arup. on the outside, the structure comprises a lightweight aluminum shell that gains its strength through a cell-like structure. each unit is made of two dimensional panels that are attached together to form a three dimensional cell. these pieces are then joined to create a structurally stable dome in its center, with each scope acting as an arch. the seven vaulted areas unite to form a very stable structure that has a larger platonic half sphere at its base, but also exhibits the nuances and idiosyncrasies of the cell-like system. 

SOFTlab-nova-flatiron-holiday-installation-new-york-city-designboom-013
‘nova’ offers glimpses of the ever-shifting landscape of neighboring towers and bustling pedestrian traffic
photo by alan tansey

 

 

 

the synthesis between the dichroic film and the mirror-finished aluminum panels turns the pavilion into an immersive kaleidoscope, remixing the urban context in unusual and unexpected ways. by night, the composite exterior reflects the light of moving vehicles, passing pedestrians and glow from the adjacent buildings, creating an ever-changing dynamic interplay between the ‘nova’ and its big city surroundings. 

SOFTlab-nova-flatiron-holiday-installation-new-york-city-designboom-011
the scopes form a shape that is different from all sides at street level, but resembles a seven pointed star from above 
photo by alan tansey

SOFTlab-nova-flatiron-holiday-installation-new-york-city-designboom-017
visitors can gaze at the atmosphere outside by peering through a set of angular apertures
photo by alan tansey

SOFTlab-nova-flatiron-holiday-installation-new-york-city-designboom-09
each of the scopes frame the environment in geometric and abstract perspectives
photo by alan tansey

SOFTlab-nova-flatiron-holiday-installation-new-york-city-designboom-016
the interior of the structure in clad in acrylic laminated with 3M dichroic film
photo by alan tansey

SOFTlab-nova-flatiron-holiday-installation-new-york-city-designboom-01
the shimmering color-shifting film changes in saturation and reflectivity 
image by the van alen institute

SOFTlab-nova-flatiron-holiday-installation-new-york-city-designboom-02
a dynamic shift of colors is revealed depending on the viewing angle
image by the van alen institute

SOFTlab-nova-flatiron-holiday-installation-new-york-city-designboom-03
the pavilion becomes an immersive kaleidoscope, remixing the urban context in unusual and unexpected ways
photo by alan tansey

SOFTlab-nova-flatiron-holiday-installation-new-york-city-designboom-05
visitors become entrants into a pedestrian-scale kaleidoscope 
image © 3M

SOFTlab-nova-flatiron-holiday-installation-new-york-city-designboom-08
the openings frame the landscape in abstract, geometric compositions 
image by the van alen institute

SOFTlab-nova-flatiron-holiday-installation-new-york-city-designboom-014
the colorful film reflects the environment through a series of subtly saturated hues 
photo by alan tansey

SOFTlab-nova-flatiron-holiday-installation-new-york-city-designboom-04
from above, ‘nova’ appears as a seven-pointed star 
photo by alan tansey

SOFTlab-nova-flatiron-holiday-installation-new-york-city-designboom-06
by night, the installation mirrors the moving traffic and glowing buildings 
image © 3M

SOFTlab-nova-flatiron-holiday-installation-new-york-city-designboom-07
a soft glow from the surrounding cityscape is reflected onto the aluminum panels 
image © 3M