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Lighting Lower Manhattan

Attention lighting professionals: New York City is making like Hong Kong and illuminating its waterfront in a proposed bid that invites architects and designers to create a massive interactive exhibition that will light up Lower Manhattan every night for at least three years.

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Though the RFP cites Hong Kong's laser light show in Victoria Harbor as inspiration, we're curious to see what designers propose other than dancing laser beams. The requirements are pretty loose: the display will be installed along South Street, the southeastern tip of Manhattan overlooking the East River, Brooklyn, Governor's Island, and Staten Island. (Nicely situated to capitalize on the recently-introduced East River Ferry service, the toast of the town in 2011.)

Proposals are due to the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) by February 12, 2012, and as long as it's "prominent," the installation could fall under projection-mapping, 3D effects, interactive elements, up/downlighting and pedestrian or kinetic motion-activated lighting. What does that mean for residents of, say, the Brooklyn waterfront? It's unclear as yet whether the nightly light show will be a boon or burden, but we have high hopes, especially considering partnerships are welcome. Who would you like to see? Maybe it's time to invite Olafur Eliasson back to town to atone for his polarizing Waterfalls installation of 2008!

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