Architects Marcelo Ertorteguy and Sara Valente march to the beat of a different drummer. Their Brooklyn-based firm, Stereotank, specializes in designing and constructing “inhabitable sound instruments and installations” as part of a broader exploration of the relationships between space and sound. This cross-discplinary approach was music to the ears of the judges for the Architectural League of New York’s invited competition to design the 2015 Times Square Valentine Heart, besting six other design proposals.
Come February, Stereotank’s HeartBeat (rendered above) will be realized as a public art installation celebrating Valentine’s Day in Times Square. The massive heart glows to the rhythm of a strong, deep, and low frequency heartbeat sound that changes its rate as visitors approach, move around, and engage with it by playing various percussion instruments and joining the base rhythm of the heartbeat. “Love is about sharing and being ‘in tune’ with somebody, so it is the creation of music, a concert is a combined action where the performers are also ‘in tune’ creating harmony, say Ertorteguy and Valente. “HeartBeat orchestrates Times Square’s unique, active, flickering atmosphere.”