Last month CityPlace received national media in a Wall Street Journal (subscription required) with their plans to transform the abandoned Macy’s into an immersive art exhibit called “Culture Lab”.

With more people moving to online shopping, malls have work harder to provide experiences that attract people. Culture Lab, a large-scale art installation by national artists, is an exciting response from the CityPlace and the Related team.

Culture Lab is open Fridays, Saturdays and, Sundays from 11:00 am until 6:00 pm

Related Group Senior Vice President, Gopal Rajegowda, announcing the Culture Lab project

CityPlace Culture Lab Website explains the project as:

Culture Lab is the first of many innovative partnerships that will support a new kind of engagement between arts & culture and consumers. It responds to the changing retail environment by turning the shell of a former Macy’s department store inside out. Inside, visitors will find retail displays replaced with interactive art installations. Outside, a mural will transform the building into a stand-alone cultural object for the District, no longer defined by the shopping that once occurred inside its four walls. Through this reinvention of the department store experience, Culture Lab will bring excitement and energy to the middle of one of the most exciting cities in the Southeast.

Sir Michael Craig-Martin is an Irish-born contemporary conceptual artist. His first US installation, and largest installation to date, “Palm Beach Parade” is hard to miss on the outside of Macy’s.

Rendering of Sir Micheal Craig-Martin’s Palm Beach Parade

“When I was young my parents took me to Macy’s to ask Santa for presents. I never thought that I would be given a Macy’s to play with.”

Sir Michael’s colorful and unique style features common objects, his goal with this project was to “try to make the architecture more interesting not less interesting.” and after seeing the exhibition he wants the viewer to “wonder how the building ever existed without it”.

On the second floor of Macy’s you’ll find Stephen Vitiello’s immersive, multi-channel sound installation “You Are the Magic”. Stephen worked inside the empty Macy’s for 3 months, recording site-specific sounds and mixing them to transform the abandoned space.

Artist Stephen Vitiello walking Mayor Jeri Muoio and Chuck Muoio through his exhibit

A sound installation is hard to describe, but as you wander through the massive empty second floor of Macy’s you will hear the eerie sounds of its previous life as a department store. Some sounds are easily distinguishable, others, not so much.

“The universal nature of sound provides a democratic accessibility, allowing you to relate to the installation in your own way. Yet, while each experience is highly individual, each one is intertwined with the whole as a crucial part of the collective artwork.”

In the south-east corner of the second floor of Macy’s, Stephen Vitiello’s “You Are the Magic” and Micheal Craig-Martin’s “Palm Beach Parade” meet in a brilliantly blue flow of natural light which streams in through the iconic curved glass windows which Macy’s stores around the country are known for. Bean bags are available for people to relax on and take in the sights and sounds.

Blinded by Blue Light

Please take the time to come out and appreciate this new addition to our downtown. Related Group has consistently hinted at the big plans that they have in store for “CityPlace 2.0”. This is the start of a new round of big ideas in CityPlace, but it won’t last forever so come on and enjoy the Culture Lab while you can.

Eddie Walker and Aaron Wormus with Artist Michael Craig-Martin

Aaron Wormus and Eddie Walker with sound artist Stephen Vitiello

Culture Lab is open Fridays, Saturdays and, Sundays from 11:00 am until 6:00 pm