Ribbon, an art series designed by Hive Public Space to help people learn to connect.

The Ribbon is part of a series of artworks designed by The Urban Conga in collaboration with Hive Public Space and the Long Island City Partnership as a way to evoke communal connections in various areas of Long Island City, New York.

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The work wraps through several spaces, subtly engaging with the existing infrastructure. Photo credit: Savannah Lauren

Ribbon was designed by The Urban Conga in collaboration with Hive Public Space and the Long Island City Partnership. Ribbon is a part of the LIC (Re)Connects art series produced by Hive PS as a way to evoke communal connection within a multitude of areas throughout Long Island City, NY. Ribbon is just one component of an ecosystem of playful urban activations happening throughout the city, from murals to augmented reality experiences, all focused on reconnecting the community to one another. As we all begin to be reintroduced into social environments, we are becoming increasingly aware of the need for inclusive ways to reconnect with one another.

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Photo credit: Savannah Lauren

Ribbon was developed as a temporary installation that looks at new ways of adapting existing spaces and infrastructure to become platforms for social interaction and communal activity through open-ended play design.

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Photo credit: Savannah Lauren

Ribbon acts as a playful gesture, wrapping around and framing out different moments throughout several pedestrian pathways and communal spaces within Long Island City. The piece begins to playfully disrupt one’s daily routine and encourages them to begin to look at their surrounding context in new ways. The flowing motion of the work acts like a piece of ribbon guiding you off your path and into areas you may not have explored previously. The work becomes a series of timeless landmarks, always changing and responding to the people, the landscape, and the interactions between them, and sparking memorable experiences that keep encouraging people to come back and engage with the work, the surrounding spaces, and each other in new ways. 

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Photo credit: Savannah Lauren

The work steps off the pedestal and allows users to physically engage and manipulate the pieces by rotating each of the units attached to the main structure. As one begins to move the kinetic pieces, they begin to not only transform the work itself, but also manipulate the surrounding area through the work’s ability to reflect and refract light onto the built environment.

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The light reflecting and refracting off the work changes with the time of day. Photo credit: Savannah Lauren

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This image shows a local resident playing with the reflections of the units. Photo credit: Savannah Lauren

The units not only provide a filtered perspective of the space, but also contain love notes to Long Island City written by community members. These love notes are submitted by community members through a QR code on the ground at the site, and are added to the work over time. These love notes range from poems to motivational quotes written by the community and visitors, and become drivers for conversations within the space. Ribbon becomes a collaborative, communal platform existing in harmony with the surrounding context brought to life through the engagement of its users.

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This image shows visitors reading and discussing the love notes to Long Island City on the work. Photo credit: Savannah Lauren

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This image displays one of the love letters written to Long Island City by a local resident. Photo credit: Savannah Lauren

This project required coordination between The Urban Conga, Hive Public Space, several private businesses, NYC Parks and Recreation, Boyce Technologies, and the Long Island City Partnership to make it happen. The project was developed in modular forms to allow easy disassembly and the ability to be transported into another space within the city. As it travels around, it will continue to share the communities’ love notes provided in each area, and will display the various perceptions of the city and what it has provided for different community members.

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Photo credit: Savannah Lauren

About The Urban Conga

The Urban Conga is an award-winning multidisciplinary design studio made up of a diverse group of creatives based in Brooklyn, NY. Their work is focused on exploring the idea of a “Playable City” as an ecosystem of multiscale playable opportunities intertwined within the existing urban infrastructure that doesn’t just disrupt our daily lives, but rather adds to it. They investigate how play can begin to exist in everyday spaces, and they encourage people to think about these spaces that could become PLAYces: like sidewalks, bus stops, street lights, park benches, or just the everyday spaces in-between. The Urban Conga's work explores how these often once overlooked and underutilized situations can turn into stimulating creative outlets for communal connection.

About Hive Public Space

Hive Public Space is a women-led urban design and placemaking / placekeeping firm. They believe in the idea that cities are complex urban systems that function laterally at multiple scales, and that public spaces have a huge social and economic impact on the vitality of any urban area. They create new and innovative spaces, and transform under-utilized ones. Our work incorporates design and engagement principles that promote the development of the local economy, identity, and a sense of belonging. Our holistic approach integrates participatory design, as well as operations, financing, and management strategies in order to shape the communities in which we live.

Technical sheet

ClientLong Island City Partnership and New York City Parks and Recreation
LocationLong Island City, NY – USA
Project Size528 ft
DesignersThe Urban Conga & Hive Public Spaces
FabricationBoyce Technologies