Vessel, An Interactive Sculpture Made of Stairways Unveiled As Centerpiece of NYC’s Hudson Yards

On September 14, 2016, the concept for the incredible public centerpiece at the highly anticipated Hudson Yards development in New York City was unveiled. Entitled “Vessel“, the interactive Escher-like sculpture that consists of multiple stairways that meet in the middle on every floor to create a beautiful copper honeycomb exterior.

Influenced by Indian stepwells, made from hundreds of flights of stairs going down into the ground, the dramatic design of Vessel creates a stage set for New Yorkers and visitors from around the world: geometric lattice of intersecting flights of stairs, whose form rises from a base that is 50 feet in diameter that widens at the top to 150 feet. It is constructed of a structural painted steel frame, its underside surfaces covered by a polished copper-colored steel skin.

Designer Thomas Heatherwick of Heatherwick Studio said that he sees the sculpture as an invitation for people to connect with one another.

…so we saw our roles being to make a big catalyst. Something that might get some people who might talk to each other in other ways. And so our idea that has emerged to take the people who are in the square, in a way, sprinkling them into the air for us all to be there and we can be one of those droplets too. My commission sits right in the middle of all these functions that are all around it and yet it has no commercial job to do. It’s not based on electronics, it’s not based on advertising – it’s extremely interactive but it’s properly using your physicality. I think there’s something is timeless about humans and our physicality. The project in a way is a big invitation.

Thanks David Klass!

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails. Lori can be found posting on Threads and sharing photos on Instagram.