Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Remaking History!

What happens when you fuse an iconic piece of American nostalgia with an innovative team of creatives?  Only the most recent addition to Madison Art's long history of artistic accomplishments!

When we were first approached by Shannon Noon of Ewing Cole to replicate the famous Coney Island Parachute Jump Chair for Kitchen 21, operated by Legends Hospitality, we could not wait to take on such a unique challenge. If there's one thing we're passionate about, other than cutting edge art, it's breathing new life into timeless designs.

The original Parachute Jump ride was built for the 1939 New York World's Fair held in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, and later moved to its permanent home at Steeplechase Amusement Park. There, it was in operation until 1964, forever engraving itself in the memories of generations of thrilled riders.

More than 50 years after that last ride, and a few blocks down the boardwalk sits another beloved Coney Island Landmark- the Childs Building.  Originally built as a restaurant in 1923, this historic building sat vacant and decaying for many years until iStar, a developer working with New York City, envisioned restoring this stunning piece of architecture back to its former glory. Part of the restoration effort for this landmark building included a renovation of its interior space back into a restaurant. EwingCole was brought in to help envision a new life for this restaurant.
One of the goals EwingCole had in the design of this space was to give the clients a “WOW” moment; to create a magical Instagram and Facebook opportunity inside the space for the patrons. They also wanted to find a way to make the most of a series of magnificent existing arched windows that line the street-side façade of the building, and to take advantage of the one of a kind view perfectly framing the Parachute Jump.
When EwingCole pitched the idea of recreating one of the original Parachute Jump seats to iStar, they loved the idea. EwingCole in turn pitched the idea to us and we were excited for the opportunity and challenge!

You may be wondering what our biggest challenge would be in creating the Parachute Jump chair.  As it turned out, the chair no longer existed! The only documentation we had to go off were black and white photos of enthusiastic riders on the Parachute Jump chair. We decided to dive into multitudes of sketches and discussions about design, engineering, sustainability, durability, and safety, all while capturing the raw essence of the Parachute Jump.  The materials and method of creation had to fit within the time-period and several concepts were tested before submitting final drawings and selections. What happened next was visually inspiring. 

As we created and assembled the chair, we realized if only for a moment, we were weaving ourselves into history. For decades, there was no physical form of a Parachute Jump Chair and we were bringing it back to life! The best part is that this beauty was built by Madison Studio artists, each specializing in either wood, metal or textiles. These three artists joined forces to create this delightfully detailed piece. It was a privilege and educational journey for us. We are beyond grateful to Ewing Cole and Kitchen 21 for the opportunity to be a part of Coney Island’s history!

Even NYC's finest are enjoying the chair!

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