Fernando Mastrangelo's Times Square Tiny House

by Valerie Stepanova

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With climate change becoming an increasing issue, Fernando Mastrangelo’s diligence in addressing it merits public acclaim. In his work, the artist has been exposing this issue for the last five years, and now has decided to expand conversations of environmental sustainability in architecture, and the way it affects private and public spaces. 

With his new interactive and sensory immersive Tiny House sculpture inspired by the current sustainability movement, Mastrangelo is “reimagining the way we build and propelling viewers into the future of architecture.” The collaborative Brook Landscape installation is part of Times Square Design Lab — a design initiative set to bring in ideas for public space in celebration of NYCxDESIGN. When offered an installation space where 45th Street and Broadway intersect, Mastrangelo didn’t hesitate to bring his art, quite literally, to the public.


“I’ve been doing art fairs and design fairs for about 15 years, and there, I don’t feel like you really could spend time with the work, or even understand the work,” the artist said. “I decided that I’m going to move away from that model and start to create an experiential design that is accessible to everybody.”

The structure is made of sustainable materials — cement adorned with a marble-like striation pattern, recycled glass material in Yves Klein blue. It boasts an indoor garden space, with the intention of a space to relax, and feel at one with nature. What’s more, inside the Tiny House is a DARWIN Home Wellness Intelligence Network, which changes the lighting inside according to one’s circadian rhythm. The system also responds to the changing environmental conditions, such as light and air quality, to promote energy, sleep, and overall well-being while reducing the harmful effects of indoor contaminants. 

With this project, Mastrangelo is hoping to push accessible art for the masses —  hence the Times Square location. Each passerby is welcome to come in and experience this immersive public art installation — for no fee. Visitors are encouraged to complement their visual experience with sensory one — touching and feeling the materials. One of the walls inside the Tiny House is made of mirrored glass, making for a great selfie mirror and Instagram-worthy content.

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The artist is excited by the effect that this public installation can have on the future of art as a whole.

“I want future artists and designers to feel like they have to power to create their vision and bring it to an audience, without needing the gallery system, the museum system, or the fair system,” he said. And for his own future, Mastrangelo is not going to just rest on his laurels of having his work displayed at NYC’s Times Square. The artist and his team are starting to develop his next project, which is going to use various artistic media and span cities and even countries. 

“It’s going to be about planet Mars,” Mastrangelo said. “We’re going to stage it, little by little, throughout all of next year. You will see a little bit at Salone [Salone del Mobile. Milan] in Milan, you’ll see some of it here, you’ll see some of it, perhaps, in Miami —  there are going to be different locations where we activate that.”

For now, visitors can enjoy the utopian dream that is a peaceful minimalistic environment juxtaposed against Times Square— the epitome of consumerism, overloaded with screens, sounds, and people.

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