‘Living’ lantern installation offers a moment of zen in Midtown

January 19, 2023

Photos courtesy of Alexandre Ayer / @DiversityPics for the Garment District Alliance

A new animated public art installation is radiating light and tranquility in Midtown. Located on the Broadway pedestrian plazas between 39th and 40th Streets, Living Lantern is a dynamic sculpture with wooden pieces that move with the wind. Measuring roughly 14 feet tall and 20 feet wide, the illuminated lantern evokes a calming effect through shifting colors and movements. Created by NEON and Frankie Boyle, the installation is meant to serve as a beacon of hope, brightness, and a guiding light in Midtown. Open to the public for free through February 24, Living Lantern is the latest public art exhibition sponsored by the Garment District Alliance.

The lantern reacts to the wind, coming to life as its outer layers open and close, letting light and animated light sequences leak out of its center and fill the surrounding space.

Living Lantern is an entrancing work of art that is bringing a sense of tranquility to the Garment District and truly enhancing the pedestrian experience,” Barbara A. Blair, president of the Garment District Alliance, said.

“We are so proud to introduce this extraordinary piece of public art to our neighborhood this winter, and we encourage the public to take a moment to enjoy this calming sensory experience while visiting the Garment District.”

Living Lantern is powered by WIREFRAME, an international art agency known for its production of interactive public art installations. Before arriving in NYC, the installation appeared at the 2021 World Science Festival and Curiocity in Brisbane, Australia and the 2021 Taiwan Light Festival in Hsinchu, Taiwan.

“We thank our incredible partners at the Garment District Alliance on their commitment to exhibiting a wide variety of public art in the plazas in partnership with our DOT Art Program,” Ydanis Rodriguez, NYC DOT Commissioner, said.

“We are reimagining public space around NYC, including through the use of beautiful public art. Along Broadway in the Garment District, where we have done so much recent work to make an iconic street even more welcoming and car-free, Living Lantern offers a unique and engaging experience to enjoy in the colder, darker months – highlighting how our public spaces are active and utilized year-round.”

Living Lantern is part of the Garment District Art on the Plazas, a year-round public art program headed by the Garment District Alliance and the New York City Department of Transportation. The two groups collaborate to create new, creative public art installations that enhance public spaces and welcome New Yorkers and visitors.

Most recently, the Alliance announced a redesign for the iconic needle & button kiosk that sits at Seventh Avenue and 39th Street. Originally built in the 1970s as a garment industry information center, the kiosk sat unused for years. The new structure measures 28 feet tall and includes a 15-foot diameter aluminum button and a 32-foot brushed stainless steel needle.


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