Only If—

is a New York City-based design practice for architecture and urbanism.

Love Labyrinth

Love Labyrinth

The Love Labyrinth is a space where two lovers or strangers can meet. In the annual invited competition for the Times Square Valentine’s Heart, organized by the Times Square Alliance and AIANY, Only If proposed a temporary installation where labyrinthine walls follow the geometry of the heart and create a continuous path between two entrances. It is a pattern that connects people.

The path is formed by glass cylinders, which are partially transparent and partially reflective. The glass cylinders reflect and diffract images of oneself, other people, and the surroundings. A dichroic film on the glass cylinders also changes light into different colors, representing diverse forms and all colors of love. Its effects introduce a sense of ambiguity, excitement and surprise. The Love Labyrinth will allow one to see others and Times Square itself in a different light.

Rather than simply occupying space, the Love Labyrinth encloses space. In this sense, it’s not only a symbol, but also a semi-enclosed and intimate space in one of the busiest public areas in the world. The Love Labyrinth is envisioned to facilitate contact and perhaps even intimacy between its audience.

Daytime / Nighttime

During the day, the installation appears more reflective. In daylight, reflections from dichroic glass range from light magenta to light green. At night, light emitted by billboards and screens in Times Square passes through the glass cylinders, and the installation becomes more transparent. The colors of the reflections change to deeper tones of magenta and blue.

Installation and Assembly

1. Component Delivery (60 mins)
Truck arrives with 77 glass cylinders (3,204lbs), 9 steel base segments (3,880lbs), and 18 podium segments (1,263lbs). Truck is unloaded.

2. Site Protection and Leveling (60mins)
High density rubber is positioned to protect granite pavement and achieve a laser-leveled surface.

3. Steel base segments (60mins)
Using a portable davit crane, nine pre-fabricated steel base segments (max 500lbs each) are positioned on top of rubber protection. Shop-welded steel L tabs allow the base segments to be secured and connected in the field with bolts. The steel base has welded cylindrical sleeves to receive the glass cylinders. The steel base plates have circular cutouts for drainage of rain and snow through the installation.

4. Glass Cylinders (5 hours)
77 glass cylinders are individually installed. Each glass cylinder can be handled by 2 workers. Borosilicate glass, differing from conventional float glass, features high strength and thermal resistance, which will enable the cylinders to withstand the tough environment of Times Square. The Love Labyrinth will be an innovative demonstration of this material technology that thus far has limited use in architecture. Additionally, the dichroic film will act as a safety lamination. The glass cylinders are cantilevered from the steel base, whose self-weight will provide resistance to overturning from lateral forces without the use of additional ballast. The glass cylinders are mechanically fastened to the steel sleeve of the base using countersunk screws and high-density rubber washers.

5. Podium (1 hour)
The podium is installed in 18 pre-fabricated pieces of wood-framed platform with a rubber finish. Each piece (max 75lbs) can be handled by 2 workers.

Project Information

Type Temporary Installation
Location Times Square, New York, NY
Status Invited Competition, 2018
Consultants Guy Nordenson and Associates (Structural Engineer)
Support Schott North America
Team Karolina Czeczek, Adam Frampton, Stephanie Hamilton, Hector Song

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