Love Letters in Times Square
New York, NY

Love Letters riffs off of the building facades of New York City, using plywood as a material of public engagement to mimic a scrolling storefront. The installation, designed to facilitate multiple levels of participation, winds throughout the heart of Times Square to create four integrated spaces in one folding surface, providing a public infrastructure at different scales, creating both adjacency and separation. Plywood panels are alternated with mirrored windows, allowing the surface to shift with the visual landscape of Times Square and create open views between spaces. The North-South elevation of the installation is sheared on a plane that reflects the incline of the TKTS booth below the Red Steps in the Square, creating a view corridor that ties together the bronze statues of Chaplain Francis P. Duffy and George M. Cohan. Safety net — a material sympathetic to the language of rebuilding — is interwoven within the plywood, serving as a poetic armature for an outdoor respite that is visually captivating. The structure features secluded seating sections at multiple levels, giving visitors a space for meditation and reflection, and the opportunity to view Times Square safely from different vantage points. From above, the installation forms the shape of two hearts.

Love Letters invites the public to participate in the installation by leaving their own love letters within the sculpture. Continuing the ancient custom of votive offerings — the ritual of tying a ribbon to a wishing tree, or a love lock to a bridge — visitors are invited to tie a wish, a memento, or an artifact onto the netted underlay, such as letters of protest, a letter to a lost loved one, or a message of appreciation to essential workers. The public can layer on their own meanings to the plywood storefront, each an author of the installation. Over time, Love Letters will become a memorial and a beacon: a symbol of solidarity and hope. 

+Tal Liu, Lexi Tsien, Tanvi Marina Rao   + Invited Competition  
+ Architects Newspaper +PBS