Dezeen Magazine

XXX HY Sex Toys by Wolfgang and Hite

Wolfgang & Hite models sex toys on Foster, Heatherwick and Diller Scofidio + Renfro buildings

Skyscraper-shaped dildos and a sculptural butt plug are among the silicone erotic toys created by design studio Wolfgang & Hite to critique New York's high-end real estate projects.

Dubbed XXX-HY, the series includes pink silicone versions of numerous buildings in the Hudson Yards development, including Thomas Heatherwick's Vessel and The Shed, a cultural building by Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R).

XXX HY Sex Toys by Wolfgang and Hite

Wolfgang & Hite, a studio that specialises in architecture, exhibition design and art production, created the toys to use "humour as a way of critiquing the city and fusing high design with pop culture".

The designers focused on New York's Hudson Yards development on Manhattan's far West Side, which is described as the largest private real estate development in the US. The 28-acre (11-hectare) site contains glazed towers and a public plaza.

XXX HY Sex Toys by Wolfgang and Hite

"There's a lot to love in NYC's recent building boom, but the city and developers have been jerking each other off for decades, so naturally we wanted to join in the fun," said Wolfgang & Hite.

"Masturbation is a great metaphor for the latest wave of development in New York City."

XXX HY Sex Toys by Wolfgang and Hite

Each toy's height corresponds to the height of the building it represents. The team used a scale of one inch to 100 feet (2.5 centimetres = 30.4 metres).

Highlights of the collection include a butt plug that resembles the Vessel – a giant, honeycomb-like sculpture by Heatherwick Studio.

There also is a clitoral stimulator that takes after The Shed by DS+R, and a large dildo that mimics the 10 Hudson Yards skyscraper by Kohn Pedersen Fox.

XXX HY Sex Toys by Wolfgang and Hite

Other towers featured in the series include 15 Hudson Yards by DS+R, 35 Hudson Yards by SOM's David Childs, 50 Hudson Yards by Foster + Partners, and 55 Hudson Yards by KPF and Roche-Dinkeloo.

The toys are meant to be abstracted versions of buildings rather than exact replicas.

"To challenge what critics have claimed 'placeless' and 'mindless materialism', the design team purposefully exaggerated cues in the architecture of Hudson Yards to make sensitive and stimulating forms for penetrative and external masturbation," the studio said.

Each toy comes with a base and fits into a scaled rendition of the full Hudson Yards site. The objects range from about eight to 13 inches in height (20 to 22 centimetres).

"One might imagine the dildo city perched on a bedside table or the desk of a high-powered urban planner," the studio said.

Wolfgang & Hite noted that skyscrapers have long been compared to the penis, adding that "phallic architecture" even has a Wikipedia page. Hudson Yards has not escaped the comparison – in a 2008 article, architectural critic Ada Louise Huxtable said that certain designs looked "alarmingly like sex toys".

"Architects design dildos all the time," said Wolfgang & Hite. "We wanted to put these buildings to the test."

XXX HY Sex Toys by Wolfgang and Hite

The toys are currently prototypes and are not available for sale, although a set has been mailed to the New York City planning department and Steven Ross, chairman of the Related Companies – the developer behind Hudson Yards.

"Hudson Yards has received a litany of criticism this year for diverting funds intended for underemployed neighbourhoods and secretively owning the rights to visitors' photos," the studio said. "After the fiery criticisms, we thought city officials might need a healthy outlet for working through some of that guilt."

XXX HY Sex Toys by Wolfgang and Hite

Wolfgang & Hite aspires to create toys for other cities in the future.

"We hope to spark public discourse around new methods of design critique and eventually replicate other cities as sex-toy utopias," the studio said.

Phase one of Hudson Yards has earned negative reviews from a range of critics. In a piece for Dezeen, writer Alan G Brake described it as an inward-facing, exclusive development that was created for a "narrow band of wealthy individuals, tourists and high-income workers" rather than all New Yorkers.

Photography is by Wolfgang & Hite.

Project credits:

Design team: Nick Meehan, Greta Hansen, Shan Raoufi and Sage Dumont