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Illuminating musical seesaws transform Broadway pedestrian plazas into glowing winter wonderland
The Garment District Alliance unveils an immersive ‘urban instrument’ created by Lateral Office and CS Design in collaboration with EGP Group.

NEW YORK, NY.- The Garment District Alliance unveiled Impulse, an interactive art installation comprised of 12 over-sized seesaws that has transformed the Broadway pedestrian plazas in the Garment District into a gleaming winter wonderland. As visitors put Impulse into motion, the seesaws radiate with light and musical elements, enabling New Yorkers to create their own light show in the heart of Midtown.

Impulse is located on Broadway in the Garment District between 37th and 38th Streets through January 31st. This block is temporarily closed to vehicles and has been converted to public space through the New York City Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Seasonal Streets Program, expanding and enhancing the pedestrian experience.

“This is a truly fantastic interactive art experience that creates a unique area of urban play on our pedestrian plazas,” said Barbara A. Blair, president of the Garment District Alliance. “As part of our commitment to enhancing the pedestrian experience year-round, we are proud to introduce a new, captivating installation that brightens Broadway in the Garment District this winter and brings joy to all who visit.”

The immersive urban instrument creates an exciting, playful experience, in which visitors become the musicians and artists through a series of illuminated seesaws that respond and transform when put into motion. When activated, the seesaws – which range from 16 to 24 feet and are augmented by LED lights and speakers – increase in light intensity and emit a randomized sound sequence. The ever-changing composition creates a dynamic light and sound wave, animating and brightening the Garment District’s Broadway pedestrian plazas.

Impulse was created by Lateral Office and CS Design in collaboration with EGP Group, with Mitchell Akiyama leading the sound design, mechanical elements and fabrication by Generique Design, and electronic design by Robocut Studio. It was first presented as part of the 6th edition of Luminothérapie, in 2015-2016, at Place des Festivals in the Quartier des Spectacles in Montreal.

The installation is part of Garment District Art on the Plazas, a year-round public art program made possible through the NYC DOT’s Art Program and the Public Space Unit’s Seasonal Streets program. The Garment District Alliance and DOT Art work closely to coordinate and install exhibits and individual pieces, which enhance public plazas and make them even more welcoming to New Yorkers and visitors. Previous installations include Iceberg by ATOMIC3, a series of illuminated metallic arches presented in 2019 that symbolized the lifecycle of an iceberg; and LOOP by Olivier Girouard, Jonathan Villeneuve and Ottoblix, an immersive exhibit presented in early 2018 that invited the public to bring animated flipbook-style musical movies to life by activating large, retro-futuristic cylinders.

“We commend the Garment District Alliance for extending their art programming into the colder months to encourage people to stay outside and have fun after the holiday trees and windows come down,” said DOT Assistant Commissioner of Urban Design + Art + Wayfinding, Wendy Feuer. “It’s exciting to be able to provide a safe place to ‘play’ on Broadway within the winter Seasonal Street.”

“We are excited to cut the ribbon on another collaboration between the Garment District Alliance and the NYC Department of Transportation,” said Assistant Commissioner for Street Improvement Programs, Sean Quinn. “Even in the cold weather, streets in Midtown Manhattan are teeming with pedestrians. Initiatives like Seasonal Streets respond directly to the demand for more pedestrian space. The addition of Impulse is a welcome feature that activates the Seasonal Street in a unique and engaging way for all New Yorkers.”

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