Tom Fruin’s famous colorful glass house sculptures arrive in Meatpacking District

January 5, 2021

All photos © Brake Through Media

American sculptor Tom Fruin has brought his famous “Icon” series to Gansevoort Plaza in the Meatpacking District. The installation, which is a welcome dose of color in the cold winter months, consists of one large “house” and seven smaller “satellite homes,” all made in the artist’s signature stained glass-esque design. During the day, the sun shines through the glass, casting colorful refelections, and at night, the pieces project multi-colored LED lights onto the cobblestone plaza.

“If you really want to understand what makes up the fabric of people and places, you often learn all you need to by looking at the floor,” said Tom Fruin in a statement. He often refers to his process–in which he collects discarded fragments of street and retail signage, theater props, and other plastics and metals–as “quilting.” Fruin is most famous for creating large public houses and water towers like those seen here. Though this installation is temporary, Fruin has permanent sculptures across New York City, including Brooklyn Bridge Park, St, Ann’s Warehouse, the Chambers Hotel, and The Jackson in Queens.

At Gansevoort Plaza, the main house and namesake of the installation is known as Bombora House, which “symbolizes the wave that spurred the ongoing cultural artistic and architectural evolution for the Meatpacking District,” according to a press release. Fruin got the name from friend and fellow artist Melinda Brown who had dubbed the building she lived in nearby at the corner of 13th Street and Ninth Avenue as such when artists began gathering there to collaborate and create.

From her native Australia, Brown explains: “Bombora refers to a large wave with its own frequency. Surfers will wait for the bombora to roll in. It’s a large wave at the end of a set of waves, same rhythm, different frequency or same frequency, different rhythm. It brings the fish in!”

Fruin was part of the group that frequented the original Bombora House. “An evening at Bombora House would often start when Eddie from Down East Seafood next door would bring up a fresh tuna over his shoulder! We’d all go up to the roof to see the street scene below. Melinda in her role as artist, activist and instigator would set in action creative production and inspiration. Hoping my homage to Bombora House captures a glimpse of that energy.”

Bombora House is on display through March. It is presented through the NYC Department of Transportation’s Art Program (DOT Art) in partnership with the Meatpacking Business Improvement District (BID) and design firm Holiday Collective.

Visitors are encouraged to interact with the installation via text, which will prompt a programmed light reaction.


All photos © Brake Through Media

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