Absurd New York #106: The Vessel


When the first phase of Hudson Yards opened last month, its $16 billion dollar, 11 million square foot campus came fully loaded with a heart at its core, otherwise unveiled as the “Vessel.”

Designed by Heatherwick Studios in London, England, the steel organ contains 154 staircases connecting 80 platforms into an M.C. Escher-like hysteria. As they wrap around a gaping center, they rise like the outskirts of a mesh wastepaper basket and top out at a height of 150 feet.

And what was the cost to build this “meaningful public legacy” that Heatherwick says its “visitors can use, touch, and relate to”? Well, not much. Just $150 million dollars. 

So, of course, there’s a catch. In order to climb this new “public” attraction, you’ll have to book a free ticket in advance. And, once inside, a few “terms and conditions” most certainly apply. 

Like the one where you “agree that all photographs, audio recordings, and video footage taken of [you] while at the Vessel” become “the sole property” of Hudson Yards.

Or the one that reads “if [you] post any Vessel Content to [your] social media channel,” you grant Hudson Yards “the right to re-post, share, publish, promote and distribute” your work on its own social media or associated websites “in perpetuity.” 

But don’t worry, if you want to suggest a new name for the Vessel, you won’t have to accede anything.

That’s right. The Powers-That-Be–aka the owners of Hudson Yards, Related Companies and the Oxford Properties Group–never intended the moniker to stick, so they’re soliciting the public for help. But make sure you hurry if you have an idea. Once they remember how much money they spent on it, they’ll surely defer to bids from the boardrooms instead.

Which got archinect.com to thinking the other day: Which would be the most likely corporation to buy the Vessel’s naming rights? Well, IKEA of course! I mean, it already looks as if it could have been assembled from one of their infamous diagrams:



Rendering of the "IKEA Vassel" in Hudson Yards. Courtesy of archinect.com. April 1, 2019.



And calling it the “IKEA Vassel” would not only give pleasure to the ear, but also placate the history buffs who love a good reference to the past. 

And what if IKEA wanted to put its own stamp on the thing–you know, make it less like Hudson Yards?

Well, as archinect.com proposed, they could always recruit the design team at Snarkitecture, a Brooklyn-based firm renown for filling the National Building Museum (Washington, D.C.) with one million small, translucent, plastic balls back in 2015. This time, however, as a “homage to IKEA’s signature colors,” they could fill the Vassel’s interior “with 10 million blue and yellow antimicrobial balls.”

Imagine the sight! It might be the most formidable piece of ball pit furniture ever built for a ball crawl anywhere:



Rendering of the ball pit at the "IKEA Vassel" in Hudson Yards. Courtesy of archinect.com. April 1, 2019.



Now wouldn’t that make the original Vessel worth every penny?




(1) Rendering of the “IKEA Vassel” in Hudson Yards. Courtesy of archinect.com. April 1, 2019.

(2) Rendering of the ball pit in the “IKEA Vassel” in Hudson Yards. Courtesy of archinect.com. April 1, 2019.




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