Sunday, May 15, 2011

New York Character Re Defined For A Weekend

Sometimes the visual dynamic of New York, and Manhattan in particular, can be too much -- too much a jumble, or a clash of priorities and styles -- a cavalcade of dissonance. But sometimes, something comes into view that re-orders the environment so much so that it both jars the visual ecology and redefines it. That happened yesterday when I saw three large brightly colored metal shipping containers stamped CHARACTER PROJECT on the front and back sitting in various public spaces in Manhattan.

Plopped down into high trafficked public pavilions these boxes captured the attention and altered the impact of the space they occupied. But because they are there as pop-up movie theaters, meant to feature eight shorts commissioned by the USA Network and RSA Films (Ridley and Tony Scott's company), they did more than visually affect the street dynamic -- they became site-specific gallery spaces as well.

Having started yesterday, Friday, May 13, this cinematic experience can be found in Manhattan throughout this weekend, continuing today (Saturday, May 14) to tomorrow (Sunday, May 15) from 10am-10pm at three locations: Gansevoort Plaza (9th Ave between Gansevoort and Little W 12th Streets); Flatiron Plaza, Broadway between 22nd & 23rd Streets and South Street Seaport (Fulton between Water and Front Streets).

Somehow, the impact of these containers on the visual ecology stirred further musings in me about how a graphical strong statement alters something prosaic as a public walk space. And that has led me to muse on today's start of the annual International Contemporary Furniture Fair -- the long-standing /exhibit/conference held in the Javits Center that runs from 10 am today through Tuesday, May 17th. This event also heralds Design Week in Manhattan.

Inside the Javits, the ICFF exhibitors take up 145,000 net square feet with 500 exhibitors displaying contemporary furniture, seating, carpet and flooring, lighting, outdoor furniture, materials, wall coverings, accessories, textiles, and kitchen and bath for residential and commercial interiors. This throng re-defines the Javits space, offers an unparalleled view of recent design developments from all over the globe and presents a broad selection of the world's best, most innovative, and original objects for the home, office or any space for that matter.

Simultaneously, on various streets (such as Tribeca's Franklin St.) and pockets through Manhattan such as the Noho design district (and even some of the other boroughs) stores and firms band together to host open houses, receptions and celebration of their wares as well. Though the ICFF is mostly for industry insiders, the closing day, Tuesday, May 17th from 10 am - 4 pm, is open to the general public as well.

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