See the Garment District’s new Big Button sculpture

February 16, 2023

Photo © 6sqft

The Garment District’s iconic button & needle sculpture has been replaced with a new, permanent art installation. The Garment District Alliance on Thursday unveiled the new Big Button sculpture on the corner of Fashion Avenue and 39th Street. Designed by Local Projects and UAP Company, the sculpture measures 28 feet tall and has a 15-foot diameter aluminum button with a bright yellow automotive finish and a 32-foot brushed stainless steel needle, honoring the neighborhood’s rich history in the world of fashion.

The new sculpture, which is the Garment District’s first permanent public art installation, creates a “dynamic experience” for pedestrians, improves the line of sight in the area, and enhances the flow of pedestrians along Seventh Avenue, according to the Alliance.

“In revisiting the beloved Button & Needle sculpture, we asked ourselves how we could create a more dynamic design that removed the sculpture’s static relationship with the outdated kiosk,” Peter Vikar, lead designer of Local Projects, said in a statement last year. “Our concept creates the illusion of the overscaled button upheld by a single thread.”

Photo via Wikimedia

The original kiosk was built in the 1970s as part of a public-private fashion industry initiative and served as an information center for more than a decade. After its formation in 1993, the Alliance received approval from the city and nearby property owners to renovate the kiosk and gave it its distinct button & needle design.

Designed by James Biber and completed in 1996, the new kiosk offered business-to-business services for thousands of people annually, but the rise of mobile devices eventually rendered the information center useless, according to the GDA’s website.

In 2017, GDA approached Local Projects to brainstorm potential renovations for the aging kiosk, which had been sitting vacant for years. After conducting outreach with the community, fashion industry professionals, and city officials, GDA came to the conclusion that the information kiosk was no longer necessary but its famous button & needle design should remain and be “enhanced.”

The GDA unveiled the button & needle redesign in October 2022, which incorporated the concept of a big button supported by a thread, which was an “immediate hit” with the project’s stakeholders, according to the GDA’s website.


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