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At Pier 57, a Magic Carpet of Cargo Containers Takes Flight

Design lovers got a good look at Pier 57, built in the early 1950s atop floating concrete boxes for New York’s Marine and Aviation department, last month when the historic shipping terminal played host to the inaugural Collective Design Fair, but there will be ample reasons to return now that developer Young Woo & Associates and the Hudson River Park Trust have joined forces to restore and redevelop the pier. The transformation kicks off with “Magic Carpet” (pictured), an installation of 36 shipping containers suspended from the ceiling in the pier’s south head house.

The project was designed by Spanish architect Josemaria de Churtichaga, whose firm, Churtichaga + Quadra-Salcedo (founded in 1995 with Cayetana de la Quadra-Salcedo), focuses on “the intimate relation between physical and unphysical aspects, trying to understand architecture as a sensorial interface, as an atmosphere between the man and the environment.” Among their projects are the Cinema Center Matadero and the Library at Villanueva de la Canada in Madrid.

For Pier 57, de Churtichaga created a flexible installation that alludes to the pier’s industrial history yet doesn’t block the view. The containers, hung ten feet from the ground, can be lowered to form different patterns and a variety of environments for exhibitions, events, and art installations. He explains “Magic Carpet” by way of a poem-cum-”short manifesto”:

The magic carpet is a floating ceiling of desires
a waiting answer to your questions
a never ending scenes scenery
a million stories container contained
a gravity less exciting room
a place and a frame
a kind foreground
a ceiling or a Wall
a corridor or a landscape
a start or the end
the magic carpet is always ready
raw and kindly ready for you
it needs you
is waiting for you to activate the magic…
the magic from you.

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