New York Construction Report staff writer
The New York City Public Design Commission (PDC) has approved conceptual designs for a three-part art installation by visual artist Jennifer Wen Ma for the new 70 Mulberry building in Chinatown.
“Congratulations to Jennifer Wen Ma, whose inspiring Wings of Everchange proposal taps into the history of Manhattan’s Chinatown to create a beautiful focal point for this community hub,” said Commissioner Laurie Cumbo. “Public art can do so much to bring us together and express who we are, and Ma’s thoughtful proposal gives residents and community members a way to have their voices and experiences integrated into this important project in a poignant, profound way.”
Ma was selected to design the art following a community engagement process led by DCLA in summer 2023. The Percent for Art program requires that one percent of the budget for eligible City-funded construction projects be spent on public artwork by artists from all backgrounds, reflecting the diversity of New York City.
The building is a historic facility in Manhattan’s Chinatown neighborhood which was home to a number of community, cultural and social service organizations before a fire severely damaged the building in January 2020. DDC is leading a culturally sensitive renovation of the structure.
The first part of the installation includes a suspended sculpture in the shape of an abstract mythological creature for the building’s atrium. Wings unfurling from the creature’s body are shaped after Chinese calligraphic brush strokes, using keywords gathered from community members on the profound significance of 70 Mulberry and people’s aspirations for its future.
The sculpture, measuring approximately 33 feet long, will be made of metal, glass and a collection of salvaged objects from the fire that devasted the building in 2020.