Bartlett (Chris)

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    Woolworth Tower

    Chris Hildrey
    Apr 17, '11 5:46 PM EST

    Last week I went along to the 176 Gallery - home of the Zabludowicz Collection - for the book launch of a project I recently completed with the artist Matthew Darbyshire. As part of the trans-Atlantic exhibition, The Shape We're In, 5 artists were invited to create installations for the 33rd floor of a skyscraper (1500 Broadway) in Times Square, NY. The project was titled Woolworth Tower and comprised a mixture of photo-realistic interior renders and saccharine, overly-saturated exterior shots pulled together onto a trompe l'oeil banner. Coming at just over 3500 megapixels, I can thoroughly recommend to anyone contemplating the same: don't. Have a bowl of cereal and put your feet up instead. 5GB psb files are the devil's work.

    Woolworth Tower

    Sited in a now-derelict Woolworths in the north west of London, Woolworth Tower was (similarly to ELIS before it) a hypothetical proposal intended to raise, critique and mock the relentless process of surface regeneration and intended gentrification found across many cities today. The work of people like Urban Splash was taken as one example - surface treatments intended to increase the value of property without actually tackling any of the real spatial or social issues at hand. Wide angle lenses used to make cramped ex-council houses seem spacious, a smattering of colourful trendy furniture to communicate how hip the area now is (all of it knock-off Dwell imitations, of course - the UK retailer, not the US magazine), and the obligatory fruit bowl hinting at the healthy lifestyles of the young professionals soon to be moving in. It's a lifestyle you're buying, and who cares if the acoustics are terrible and your new faux-Saarinen table rocks around a bit? Damp can be fixed and that flakey paint is a small price to pay for the location you're in.

    The token awful exterior shot, complete with art-to-your-doorstep cow statues:

    Living room interior:

    Kitchen interior:

    Kitchen interior detail:

    The banner in place at 1500 Broadway:

    View from the temporary gallery space (copyright Happy Famous Artists):

    View to Times Square from the temporary gallery space (copyright Happy Famous Artists):

    The exhibition book:

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