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Brooklyn Design Studio Wins Annual Times Square Heart Competition

A heart-shaped network of zigzagging tubes aims to connect strangers in Times Square this Valentine's Day.
Match-Maker Times Square heart installation by Young Projects

"Match-Maker" is designed to take on the iconic heart shape from some vantage points, though it appears as an abstract, zigzagging network of tubes from others. Photo courtesy of Young Projects.

A three-dimensional heart that uses the signs of the zodiac to cosmically connect strangers has been chosen as the winning entry in this year’s annual Times Square Valentine Heart Design competition.

Young Projects, a Brooklyn-based design and architecture studio, collaborated with the metal-fabrication company Kammetal on the sculpture, called “Match-Maker,” which will be unveiled in Father Duffy Square between 47th and 48th streets in early February. It will remain on view there through early March.

Bryan Young, who founded Young Projects in 2010, says the idea is to help strangers find one another at the fabled “Crossroads of the World,” and to help established lovers find novel new connections. Guided by their astrological signs, visitors will be invited to arrange themselves at one of twelve points along the sculpture’s circumference where colorful, zigzagging periscopes will offer glimpses of their four ideal astrological mates.

“I can tell you from personal experience that there is such a thing as love at first sight!” says Young, a winner of a 2013 Architectural League Prize, which is awarded to young designers. “In an era of digital communication, our design takes a decidedly analog approach to viscerally connect strangers and reaffirm compatibility between old partners.”

Match-Maker Times Square heart installation by Young Projects

The tubes are actually periscopes that connect the viewer with up to four ideal astrological matches. Photo courtesy of Young Projects.

“Match-Maker” was designed so its form would appear to shift as it is viewed from different vantage points. From some vantage points, it appears to take on the symmetrical, iconic heart shape; from others, it looks more like an abstract tangle of metal tubes.

Each year, the Times Square Valentine Heart Design competition selects a winning, heart-themed sculpture for display around Valentine’s Day. The competition is sponsored by Times Square Arts, the public arts program of the Times Square Alliance, and the Van Alen Institute, a nonprofit organization devoted to public architecture.

“Working … to bring design excellence to one of the most iconic public spaces in the city has been wonderful,” says David van der Leer, executive director of the Van Alen Institute. “But more importantly, we are thrilled that this year’s heart is not only for couples; it also celebrates all the singles of New York City.”

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