Beaux Arts Ball 2012: Tender

The Beaux Arts Ball is an annual event for The Architectural League of New York. Each year the league picks an interesting architectural location to have the ball and invites a young studio to design an installation for the ball. This year’s ball was held in the Williamsburgh Savings Bank in Brooklyn. The selected studio SOFTlab decided on the theme of Tender for this year’s ball based on its location, but also based on the versatility of the word. The existing space is quite extraordinary and subdivided on the ground floor by separate areas all of which are open to the tall ceiling of the space.

One of the main concerns was to get people to spread out through the space. The team chose to hang a net filled with pillow like Mylar balloons over the main gathering space for the party and dance floor. When arriving in the entrance the hung ceiling of balloons looks fairly solid, but as you move through the space there are many intentional spaces between the views that give glimpses of the existing decorative ceiling above. The pillowed surface also drew people to the main mezzanine which allowed a view of the piece from above. To create an exchange among the visitors they worked with Natasha Jen of Pentagram to create a field of hanging tickets.  Each ticket contained a graphic time code that allowed admittance at a precise time to a sound installation created by David Rife of Arup. The tickets were hung from the net on the ground floor and were backed with an iridescent material that changed as the tickets rotated in the space. Drinks were also served through the existing teller windows of the bank and tablecloths for dinner were made of Mylar as well. The lighting was a major element of the overall piece reflecting off both the Mylar and the tickets. As people pulled tickets from the surface it would shift around in the space.

Design Team: Michael Szivos, Ben Halpern, Carrie McKnelly, Liz Kelsey, Lindsey May

Graphic Design: Natasha Jen of Pentagram

Sound Installation: David Rife of Arup

Photographs and story courtesy of SOFTlab

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