“Poetic” is a common attribution in architecture, especially when describing the interplay of light and shadow in a space. New York-based developers TF Cornerstone, however, opted to adapt poetry’s metaphorical conversation with buildings into a literal form. The firm’s new Hell’s Kitchen luxury residential complex, The Max at 606 W 57th Street, features installations by artists working in wood, paper and photography, but poetry—in its literal form—blankets a 368-foot hand-painted mural in an outdoor courtyard. “While we are certainly no stranger to commissioning art in former projects, this is the first hand-painted mural that we have been a part of and the first work on as grand a scale as this,” Zoe Elghanayan, principal and SVP at TF Cornerstone, tells Interior Design.
Design studio karlssonwilker and mural makers at ArtFX Murals assisted with production, but 10 local poets, selected by The Poetry Society of New York, brought to life the magic of words. “We’re all about putting poetry in unexpected places and creating opportunities for poets to share their work outside of the typical literary and academic circles,” says Stephanie Berger, co-founder and CEO of the society, “but this was our first and only mural to date.” The art bleeds into the sky, showcasing images of puffy clouds above a teal Manhattan silhouette. It even features a sanitation truck and the Spring Street Salt Shed in homage to the adjacent Department of Sanitation building. Words by poets, such as Jenny Zhang or Alina Gregorian, dot the airy landscape, reflecting on New York City landmarks, such as the Long Island City waterfront and Hudson Yards, where TFC has other developments.
The mural, completed in about a month, offered nearby residents a “front row seat to the process,” says Elghanayan, adding that the project celebrates not only the rich history of Hell’s Kitchen, but that of all New York City neighborhoods.