An installation by Stereotank for the 2015 Times Square Valentine Heart competition

February 9—March 8, 2015

For the first week of March, Stereotank transforms HeartBeat into public seating complementing Duffy Square’s red steps.


Organized by Times Square Arts. The Architectural League collaborated with Times Square Arts on the invited competition.

Brooklyn-based studio Stereotank’s design was selected for the 2015 Times Square Valentine Heart. Times Square Alliance partnered with The Architectural League this year to invite architecture and design firms to submit proposals for a public art installation celebrating Valentine’s Day in Times Square. For the 2015 competition, Stereotank’s HeartBeat  was selected from seven design proposals.

HeartBeat is a heart-beating urban drum. This engagement sculpture consists of a massive heart glowing to the rhythm of a strong, deep and low frequency heartbeat sound and visitors are encouraged to move around and engage with it by playing various percussion instruments and joining the base rhythm of the heartbeat. The audience is invited to come together and creatively play, listen, dance and feel the vibrations of the heart while enjoying the warm pulsating light. In the emblematic, active, flickering atmosphere of Times Square, HeartBeat orchestrates multiple rhythms into a unique urban concert.

HeartBeat is equipped with various percussion instruments. Each drum has unique sounds and resonant characteristics. Membranes of different sizes and materials such as synthetic snare skin, synthetic snare skin with coil, animal hide, and hard plastic are used to create a variety of drum timbres.

“What’s common between Love and Music?  Love is about sharing and being ‘in tune’ with somebody, so it is the creation of music, a concert is a combined action where the performers are also ‘in tune’ creating harmony. Heartbeat orchestrates Times Square’s unique, active, flickering atmosphere.” – Sara Valente and Marcelo Ertorteguy of Stereotank

Marcelo Ertorteguy and Sara Valente, Venezuelan New York-based architects founded Stereotank to experiment with the common grounds between architecture, art, and sound. Their focus lies on the research, design, and construction of immersive installations in urban settings for public engagement, often using found objects (or rather sought objects) as raw materials with the intention of exploring their re-configuration and their sound properties in space as another dimension of the material.

Stereotank has participated in public art programs and festivals working with organizations such as The Architectural League and PEN World Voices for the Nolita Little Free Library in NYC, Kobe Biennale in Japan – receiving a honorable mention for the Cargo Guitar project, the NYC Department of Transportation with the Cyclo-phone installation and Mall-terations project, Zooart in Italy, Bring to Light in Brooklyn, and Make Music New York.

Support provided by Robert Silman Associates, Integrated, and Guitar Center.  Lighting Design by Brian Stacy and Stephanie Hillegas (ARUP), Sound and Interaction Design by Terence Caulkins (ARUP).

To view other 2015 Times Square Valentine Heart Design finalists, please click here.