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February 1, 2023

There’s a giant bush in Times Square for most of February

OK, it is actually a hedge. But if you love or hate Valentine's Day, the design competition winner is still something to behold.

By City Monitor Staff

New York Times Square is going into romance overload. As part of a yearly competition to design a Valentine’s Day sculpture for the square, it is hosting Almost Studio’s ‘Love’s h|Edge’ installation

valentines day
‘Love’s h|Edge’ in Duffy Square. (Photo by rblfmr/Shutterstock)

“Like a daydream, and just for just a moment – forget your troubles, your stress, your to-do’s, and where you are going. Love’s h|Hedge is meant to be a pause, a momentary illusion, in your day, in your week, and in your life. Planting an artificial garden within Times Square is meant to be a jolt from our routines. It is meant to draw from the history of landscape design, public theatre, and Surrealism to take us out of our every day and instead offer a garden island of wonders, what-ifs, and somedays. It is a place of reflection and reformation. It is a place to look at yourself and others anew,” said Almost Studio’s Dorian Booth and Anthony V Gagliardi.

“Just as love has no edges, no boundaries – we have an expansive sense of gratitude for being selected for the 15th Annual Love & Design Competition in Times Square, and are deeply honoured to have been considered alongside teams we admire so highly.”

Peak NYC Valentine’s Day

Saccharinity in the square will reach its peak, as you might expect, on Valentine’s Day itself: Times Square’s website also welcomes New Yorkers to propose, get married or renew their vows there on the big day. The hedge sculpture will be there until 28 February – so if you’re not a fan of public displays of affection or giant bushes, it might be best to avoid the area until then. 

The city holds the design competition every year. Past winners have included Situ Studio’s “Heartwalk” installation, which took the form of a heart-shaped, pink-lit sculpture built from boardwalks salvaged after Hurricane Sandy.

The space was also once occupied by “The Matchmaker”: a heart-shaped tangle of tubes that promised to match New Yorkers by their “zodiac sign”: visitors arranged themselves according to their sign, and then the tubes allowed them to speak to the match the stars decreed.

There was also a giant, pulsating heart, surrounded by people playing percussion and dancing. The sculpture was the work of design firm Stereotank. 

So something for everyone really.

[Read more: Six creative teams win £45k Watershed Playable City commission to build prototypes that connect people to their city]

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