If you’ve walked along Seventh Avenue in the Garment District, then you’ve likely noticed the Big Button. It’s emblematic of the neighborhood and its past and current state. However, you may have also noticed that it’s no longer on display. Not to worry! The Big Button will soon be back this week! The Garment District Alliance has removed the kiosk structure and original sculpture to make way for a new Button & Needle that will stand alone, supported by a stainless-steel thread. The new sculpture will honor the original and celebrate the Garment District’s rich history, while establishing an iconic piece of public art that represents the neighborhood’s dynamic future.
Just a bit of history for your benefit, in 1996, the Garment District Alliance renovated the existing kiosk structure and erected the Button & Needle, designed by James Biber, then of Pentagram Architects. The new Information Kiosk offered business-to-business services to thousands of people each year but, over time, as personal mobile devices became the go-to source for information, kiosk usage dwindled.
In 2017, GDA engaged Local Projects, the experiential design firm, to explore content and design concepts for the future of the kiosk. Through interviews and workshops with community stakeholders, it was concluded that, while a physical kiosk was no longer necessary, the Button & Needle is a beloved neighborhood icon that should remain and be enhanced as a pop art sculpture and placemaking amenity. Local Projects’ concept of the button and needle supported by a dynamic thread element was an immediate hit with stakeholders. As a result, on Thursday, February 16th, the Garment District Alliance (GDA) will unveil its new Big Button sculpture in the heart of the Garment District on Fashion Avenue (Seventh) and 39th Street, replacing the information kiosk and featuring an updated installation that references the neighborhood’s history. Partners, supporters and community members will join GDA to mark the momentous occasion with a ribbon cutting ceremony, featuring music by Diverse Concert Artists.
Designed by Local Projects and UAP Company, the new version of the Big Button is supported by a “thread” element that further articulates its pop art concept. The sculpture stands at 28 feet tall with a 15-foot diameter aluminum button and 32-foot brushed stainless-steel needle, creating a dynamic experience for pedestrians, while improving sight lines and enhancing the pedestrian flow on Seventh Avenue. The new Big Button is the Garment District’s first permanent public art installation.
It’s quite literally an epic display and we can’t wait for our city’s latest addition!
For more information, visit garmentdistrict.nyc/BigButton