NYC Tourist information centre by WXY architecture 06.04.09

words Johanna Agerman

We recently returned from a trip to New York and were impressed by this new tourist information centre on Seventh Avenue, close to Times Square. Gone are the drab offices equipped with knackered brochure stands and worn carpets normally associated with these institutions. This tourist office is more like a scene from The Matrix.

WXY architecture has developed a new concept of information and way finding together with media design firm Local Projects and integrated the technology into the design of the space for NYC&Co, the official marketing and tourist organisation for New York. The long, white room is dominated by projectors shaped like the letter i, now the universal symbol for information, suspended from the ceiling. The base of the i projects a colour depending on what category of activity the visitor is researching on the interactive map tables underneath it.

The four interactive tables, equipped with giant touch screens, help you create your personal itinerary for your New York visit. Once your timetable and your routes are decided the information that you gathered is stored on to a digitised "puck" which is then placed on a pylon and either sent to a printer or as digital information to your mobile phone, or appears as a 2D rendering on a large screen at the end of the room.

The only problem with this information centre is that you risk being so overwhelmed by the technology that New York seems second-rate in comparison.

top image The i-shaped projectors hovers above the interactive tables.

image The interactive tables help you plan your personalised itinerary.

image Each subject area has its own colour that the overhead projector emits. Music is green.

image The information the visitor has gathered is saved on to a “puck” which is placed on a pylon (to the right in the picture). It can then either be printed, transferred to your mobile phone or rendered into a 2D map.

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