As a result of a long-standing relationship with the Museum of the City of New York, the museum asked us to provide a new look for the central entry space of their historic building. Our proposal included three main elements: a seating area, a temporary café on the 2nd floor and a light installation.
Starlight replaces a 19th century chandelier, with the intention of not just providing light, but as part of a greater ideal of making the entry lobby the core experience for public gathering and to encourage visitors to use the monumental circular stair as primary circulation instead of elevators. But beyond these practical notions, the light sculpture symbolizes the museum’s engagement with modern life in the city. It links its great historic tradition with current technology and thinking.
Dynamic rather than static, Starlight activates the space in which it sits. Designed with a precisely uniform 3-dimensional grid pattern (5 ¾”), the geometry seemingly changes as the viewer ascends the stairs. Bursts of star pattern change your perception forming perforated veils to the classical architecture. Each pixel is constructed from a double-sided circuit board, on which LEDs are mounted above and below. They are held at the center of a 3-strand stainless steel wire assembly.
In true elevation, the installation is a circle form. As one enters the museum from the Fifth Avenue, the lower half is visible. Reciprocally, the view of the lights from the cafe on the 2nd floor is predominantly of the upper region of the circle, then completed artistically by the reflection in the white marble floor. As you ascend the stair, you perceive the form in its entirety.
Individual LED chips: 10,486
Double-sided pixels: 5,243
Vertical strands: 219
Length of wire used: 15,768′ (2.99 miles / 4.8 km)
Watts used: 1131
Lumen output: 71,304