Benjamin Aranda and Marcelo Coelho

Photo: Ian Douglas/Times Square Alliance

Times Square is an exemplary public space, where millions of people from across the globe gather to experience the unparalleled energy of New York City.

Window to the Heart celebrates this year’s theme, labor of love, using a large-scale 3-D printing technology, which would not be possible a few years ago. While we ponder about the future of labor and production, the installation raises questions on feasibility, efficiency and limitations around 3-D printing.

The piece also alludes to today’s intense media culture represented in the 24/7 glowing spectacle of Times Square.

Design Trust’s collaboration with Times Square Alliance started years ago to envision better and safer pedestrian space. The new plazas and Red Steps, stemming from our study, provide places to buy tickets, eat lunch, or watch the world go by. And now couples can declare their love through this special window.

Benjamin Aranda, Founder and Principal of Aranda\Lasch: Window to the Heart contributes to what the future of making things is going to be. As we stand in this public space surrounded by these amazing billboards and lights, we’re in the center of the media culture that is highly predicated on images. The lens is really the unsung hero here, because we need a lens to capture images. 

We wanted to create the largest lens ever made. Window to the Heart, a little longer and wider than the now second-largest lens in the world at the lighthouse in Oahu, Hawaii, is a Fresnel lens. This installation distorts light towards the center of the lens and at that center is a heart. People can look through that opening heart, photograph themselves, or interact in endless other ways. 

There is a lot of talk right now about how the media culture produces a lot of factions that divide people apart. But I’ve always believed that here in New York City, and especially in our public spaces, we can really bring people together. It’s an honor for us to do that in Times Square. We believe that love wins, and hope that everyone in New York City find a way to interact with this installation. 

Marcelo Coelho, computation designer: Traditionally, Fresnel lenses were made by casting and polishing glass. As the lenses grow, it becomes harder and harder to make a gigantic piece of glass that needs to be hand polished. The Fresnel lens is a very smart way to flatten the lens to something that creates the same optical effect but yet is very economical in terms of materials and technique. We created the Fresnel effect through 3-D printing. This is a work of love, labor and technology.

#HeartTSq @TSqArts @Arandalasch @marcelosco @formlabs @designtrustnyc

This lens is a literal manifestation of the ways in which the creative people in this country, New York City, and the fields of design and architecture help us see things in new ways.

Tim Tompkins, President, Times Square Alliance

Photos (2)

Photo: Ian Douglas/Times Square Alliance

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Tim Tompkins

Photo: Ian Douglas/Times Square Alliance

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Susan Chin and Debra Simon