The SeaGlass Carousel demonstrates an innovative collaboration of art and design to create a distinctly contemporary, ecologically themed environment for The Battery in Lower Manhattan. Inspired by the ocean's beauty and The Battery’s history as the first home of the New York Aquarium, SeaGlass is an aquatic carousel, featuring huge fish rather than the usual horses and chariots.
The project transforms the traditional ride structure into an instrument of the future with digital projection and electrified glass technology, or “Smart Glass.” An audio component combines environmental noise made by the moving parts of the structure with amplified original musical scores recorded live by New York City musicians.
The project transforms the traditional ride structure into an instrument of the future, employing underground mechanisms to eliminate the need for a center post -- allowing clear views across the pavilion and into the park's lush gardens and landscape. In addition, unlike traditional carousels, SeaGlass riders sit inside the figures. This design makes the rider feel a part of the fish--even “becoming” the fish. The scale of the figures, from 6 feet to 13 feet high, adds to the wonder and grandeur of the experience.
The Carousel’s startling underwater theme echoes its location on the site of the first home of the New York Aquarium, at the edge of the New York Harbor near the old Battery. The spiraling structure is constructed with stainless steel and glass, forming a shell whose interior provides a white screen for the Carousel's underwater projections. Using the paradigm of the magic lantern, the Smart Glass changes from clear to opaque as the ride begins, dimming the space to capture the experience of diving under water. As the carousel spins, the interior digital projections cast moving images on the building’s shell, animating the voyage.
The Battery Conservancy
Completed Summer 2015
Public Space Award, Interior Design Magazine and ICFF NYCxDESIGN