This week, our New York design team paid a visit to the brand new “Little Island” on the west side of Manhattan.
Located near the intersection of West Street and 13th Street in the Meatpacking District and Chelsea neighbourhoods, Little Island is a 2.5 acre public park that was created to provide a connection to spontaneity and joy – a similar goal we have when designing our hotels.
The architecture of the park was designed by Thomas Heatherwick of Heatherwick Studio, while Siegne Nielson of MNLA was responsible for the landscape architecture.
This monumental new structure floats on 132 concrete “tulips” above the water, providing spectacular views of the park, city and Hudson River.
The inspiration for the architecture came from the old structural wood piles sticking up out of the water from piers that had been washed away.
Taking shape where the old Pier 54 stood, the concept evolved to create an undulating park raised from these piles – which create an angled landscape perfect for the park’s many offerings.
The vision for the park was to build something that was not only dazzling on first site, but upon use made people happy.
In the northwest corner of the park, Little Island features a large amphitheatre, which will host a series of events including a free artist series. At the same time and place throughout June, July and September a local artist will perform. This could be live music, dance, a poetry recital and more.
“The Glade” is a smaller hub that hosts free arts and education focused crafts and activities for children of all ages. A full calendar of events are listed from the “Art Cart” stocked with art supplies and movement based games to the “Little Library”, which encourages children to borrow a book and take a literary break.
The whimsical architecture is delightful and inspiring. We had so much fun exploring the different pathways and exciting landscaping, which includes about 350 species of flowers, trees, and shrubs. Nielsen “wanted New Yorkers to feel delight and excitement around every turn from the moment they set foot here.” To accomplish this, the plantings were arranged in specific colour patterns. A portion of the park was planted with yellow, gold, lavender, and purple plants contrasting with each other.
Our morning outing reminded us how connecting with nature and exploring new parts of our city could bring so much delight. Little Island has breathed new life into the city as it settles into summer and life begins to return to normal.
We hope this post inspired you to get outside and explore your city’s public parks and offerings as they start to re-open!