Mächtig's iconic K67 kiosk unveiled in Times Square
New York, 13 May - The iconic K67 kiosk by renowned Slovenian architect and designer Saša Mächtig has been featured in the Times Square Design Lab exhibition. The kiosk, currently sitting on Broadway Avenue between 45th and 46th Street, is one of the landmarks of Slovenian industrial design.
The Times Square Alliance, responsible for improving and promoting Times Square, has chosen Mächtig's kiosk as the newest feature of the New York City square perhaps most famous worldwide for its annual New Year's Eve celebration.
Its president Tim Tompkins says their goal is to showcase the best design from around the world in the square through which some half a million people pass every day, making it great for advertising.
Tompkins joked that it was about bringing a little bit of Europe into the New World, a bit of beauty to a not-so-beautiful place, even a bit of socialism into this hub of capitalism.
He added that the organisation liked the kiosk so much that they bought it and brought it there, so it could be there forever. It could be used as a tourist information point or to sell food and drink, maybe books and newspapers.
This development of Times Square has been going on for the last 20 years, making it more accessible in day- and night-time. Tompkins noted that the square was now much safer for the alliance's work than in the past.
Tompkins did not reveal the cost of the kiosk, which was officially unveiled on Friday, but noted that it had been a very good deal given its designer's exceptional renown.
The K67 kiosk first visited New York in 1970 and has been featured in the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa). Last year, designer Victoria Milne noticed it in the museum's exhibition on architecture in Yugoslavia, Toward A Concrete Utopia, and decided to propose it as the square's newest addition.
Milne said the kiosk, beautifully inspired by Italy's New Wave of the 1960's, was not only stunning, but proportional, friendly, visible and attractive.
The designer himself, aided by a team of skilled contractors, took care of the logistically tasking transportation and renovation of the kiosk. At the alliance's request, it was restored to its original colour scheme from 1966 - bright red for the main structure and dark brown for the walls.
Mächtig said the letter expressing interest in setting up the kiosk in Times Square came as a New Year's gift.
"I needed to find an old kiosk and renovate it completely. It's made of polyester, like sailing boats, and can be easily repaired when damaged," he said.
He says his kiosk is an example of an industrial product oriented towards its users, who have not changed significantly through the years. The kiosk has thus retained it functionality in its original design from 1966 and provides the space needed to house a small workspace.
Some 7,500 units of the kiosk were manufactured. It was used all over Yugoslavia, Eastern and Central Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and even in Japan. Now, the kiosk lives on in what some consider to be the centre of the world.
It can also be found in Berlin, where it is a famous tourist site, housing the smallest restaurant in the city, and in Australia, where it's being used as an air quality measurement station.
Mächtig is currently working on K21, a new system of modular multi-purpose kiosk units, unveiled in February at the 2019 Architecture Inventory exhibition in Ljubljana's Cankarjev Dom congress centre.