Future Expansion installs mirrored tubes outside Flatiron Building

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Flatiron Reflection by Future Expansion and Van Alen Institute
Future Expansion installs "choir-like" mirrored tubes outside New York's Flatiron Building

Future Expansion installs "choir-like" mirrored tubes outside New York's Flatiron Building

A cluster of hollow reflective pipes forms this installation by Brooklyn architecture and design firm Future Expansion, which is on display in front of the Flatiron Building in New York City.

Titled Flatiron Reflection, the design comprises a set of vertical metal tubes that together create a horseshoe shape in plan and a fluted perimeter.

Flatiron Reflection by Future Expansion and Van Alen Institute

Around the outer edge, their bottoms are cut away at an angle and the lower half is painted white. Overall, the sculpture is evocative of grand organ pipes.

At night, the shiny tubes are illuminated from within and their outer surfaces reflect the surroundings.

Flatiron Reflection by Future Expansion and Van Alen Institute

"The glistening materials and choir-like sculptural formation prompt passersby to engage with the art," said Wendy Feuer, assistant commissioner of design, art and wayfinding at the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT).

The horseshoe layout creates a more secluded space at the centre, which then opens out towards a public space adjacent to Madison Square Park.

Flatiron Reflection by Future Expansion and Van Alen Institute

The piece is located in front of the Flatiron Building – the iconic beaux-arts building completed by architects Daniel Burnham and Frederick P Dinkelberg in 1902. The building became famous – and gained its name – for its unusual triangular shape, created by the site at intersection of Fifth Avenue and Broadway at 23rd Street.

Flatiron Reflection by Future Expansion and Van Alen Institute

Flatiron Reflection is designed to interact with the area's heavy foot and car traffic, and reflect and refract light from the sun during the day, and passing vehicles and street lights at night.

Flatiron Reflection by Future Expansion and Van Alen Institute

"The installation is designed for three scales of experience: the deeply creased exterior makes spaces for individuals; the interior room offers an intimate panorama for small groups; and the north-facing wedge presents a platform toward the plaza," said Deirdre and Nicholas McDermott, the principals of Future Expansion.

Flatiron Reflection by Future Expansion and Van Alen Institute

The design was installed as the winner of the Flatiron Plaza Holiday Design Competition, organised for the fourth year running by Van Alen Institute and Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership, in tandem with the New York City DOT Art.

Flatiron Reflection by Future Expansion and Van Alen Institute

Reflective materials have been used in a handful of recent installations. Examples include Es Devlin's colourful and immersive exhibition at the Miami Beach Edition Hotel, Ai Wei Wei's Good Fences Make Good Neighbours cages across New York City, and Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirror Room on display at David Zwirner Gallery in Chelsea.

Flatiron Reflection will remain on show until 1 January 2018.

Photography is by Noah Kalina.