What do you get when you combine 3 shifts of 12 people working sixteen-hour+ days in the middle of Times Square? Julia Testa’s largest, most theatrical floral installation to date.
Crafted for the MSR Hotels’ Sheraton Times Square, the installation was built with 56 phalaenopsis orchids, 456 philodendron plants, 600 English ivy plants, 2282 large open roses, 1141 spray roses, 65 cymbidium orchids, 20 bales of dried wisteria, and 15 bales of dried curly willow, as well as soft pretzels, hotdogs, hamburgers, and stuffed pigeons (we’ll explain later, we promise). Julia describes the feat,
| "I’ve never seen a team of people work so hard in my life. We shut down a New York City bike lane to put it together." |
But shutting down a bike lane was far from the most dramatic aspect of the project – exceeded by the time (or lack thereof) they had to prepare for the install and the, *ahem* hurdles of a time crunch.
This installation began at the close of another – the historic Highline Hotel in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood. When the Julia Testa team wrapped a stunning floral display for the Highline, the client was so in love that she requested another, bigger install. The entry to the Sheraton in the heart of Times Square, to be finished in less than a week’s time – with a three-day holiday weekend wedged between the request and the team’s ability to start assembling.
So, at 3:30 pm on the Friday before Memorial Day, the team spurred into action, racing to the already-closed distribution center, wherein all the inventory needed to complete the project was located. Convincing them to reopen, and cleaning their shelves of large swaths of ever-lasting flowers, the installation’s dramatic tone was set – a theme that would stay with them until they packed up and drove away.
From the Highline Hotel Installation, an original London Double-decker to complement our floral entryway.
After more mad-dashes and city-wide hardware store trips, the team prepared itself for Tuesday: day one of their three-day build window. At 5 am, twelve Julia Testa team members arrived at the Sheraton Times Square, alongside truckloads of product and equipment, and began assembly with fervor. Julia explains,
| "The first day, we worked for twenty-three hours straight, only stopping for 30-minute food breaks. But still, we showed up to do it all over again." |
The next curve ball came on day two of the installation, with the client requesting an addition to the floral design (we told you we’d explain, didn’t we?).
The installation was set to be completed in time for a local festival, and as a way to commemorate all the things quintessentially Times Square, model hotdogs, hamburgers, pretzels, and pigeons were to be nestled amidst the orchids and philodendrons. These items would also serve as a fun and engaging time-passer for families waiting in the hotel’s taxi queue, playing “how many hotdogs can you find?” with the bellhops.
By the third day, and as everything came together, the team swayed under the weight of what they had accomplished. They were tasked with the near-impossible, and proved an incredible collective force, capable of rising to the challenge of Times Square-sized theatrics. They, once again, exceeded expectations and created something truly magical. Be sure to stop by and see it in person. We promise it’s well worth the trip.