Ah, the San Gennaro festival. A time for New Yorkers to celebrate all things Italian. A chance to eat zeppole at street stalls, kneel to flowery little shrines, play bocce ball with guys who look like Uncle Junior, and behold a giant psychedelic wormhole dangling 60 feet in the air.
Yes, the annual festival, which celebrates San Gennaro (the patron saint of Naples) and which is normally steeped in tradition (it’s fetched up on Manhattan’s Mulberry Street since the 1920s), has a very non-traditional addition this year: a 25-foot-wide-by-25-foot-long floating canopy that looks like a circus tent wandered into another dimension.
“The brief for the project was to create a signature piece to act as a gateway to the north corridor entrance of San Gennaro,” architect Michael Szivos, principal of New York-based SOFTlab, tells Co.Design. So, using custom-built software, they designed a loose mesh characterized by two large, circular openings, one facing the street, the other facing the sky. That generated 4,442 unique panels that were then laser-cut with mylar in the colors of the Italian flag (with some yellow and orange accents thrown in) and grommeted together. Finally, they spent a day installing the canopy above the festival’s entrance on Mulberry at Houston Street.
The San Gennaro North Gate stays up until September 25. If you’re in New York, go see it! Unfortunately, one of the best parts of the festival has already passed–the religious procession in which a statue of San Gennaro is carted through the streets of Little Italy. But hey, maybe if you stand under the North Gate long enough, it’ll transport you back in time.
[Images courtesy of SOFTlab]