This morning in the Meatpacking District in Manhattan, a gaggle of men in sleek suits escorted visitors into a dramatically lit showroom to get a glimpse of the plans for The XI, a pair of residential towers designed by the Danish architect, Bjarke Ingels, that will have more than 200 luxury condos and a hotel.
In keeping with Ingels’s notoriously flashy style, these renderings were not mere miniature models. Instead, the developer behind the project, HFZ, enlisted the help of Es Devlin, a stage designer who has worked with the likes of Lady Gaga and Beyoncé, to develop three conceptual representations of The XI—”The Eleventh,” when said aloud—that are presented as a solo exhibition in their own right. (The venue, established by HFZ, is called The XI Gallery.)
“If she’s good enough for Beyoncé, she’s good enough for me,” Ingels joked, standing in front of the first piece, a large, crater-like concave map of Manhattan by Devlin that is titled Egg. The work shows New York’s cityscape, set in a near-future where The XI stands proudly between the High Line and the Hudson River.
In another room, Devlin offers a closer look the project, with a roughly yard-tall sculpture of the towers spinning at the center of a rectangular pool of water. The motion of the work suggests a waltz between the two towers, the twists and curves of their silhouettes playing off of each other. (The work, naturally, is called Dance.) Ingels said that he wanted the towers to “mutually respect and care for each other. Instead of ignoring each other, these buildings will mutually enhance the other’s experience.” (People spend a lifetime looking for that kind of relationship!)
The project is set to be completed in the last quarter of 2019. The towers are already under construction, and the apartments, which are set to go on sale on May 7, are expected to be priced at $2.8 million to $25 million. Admission to Devlin’s exhibition, at 25 Little West 12th Street, which opens to the public on May 14, is free.
Update, 11:25 p.m.: This article and its headline have been corrected to state that Devlin was hired by HFZ, not Ingels, and that Devlin’s exhibition opens—rather than concludes—on May 14. In addition, a clarification: the apartments are not currently available; the plan is for them to be offered on May 7.