David Byrne's Pedal to the Metal

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Musician David Byrne added bike racks to his diverse portfolio of “Byrnian” creations. With New York City as his canvas, he designed and had fabricated nine unique bike racks installed in various locations throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn. Each bike rack is site specific such as a stilleto-shaped bike rack for The Ladies’ Mile (West side of Fifth Avenue, north of 57th Street in front of Bergdorf’s) and a dollar sign bike rack for Wall Street (North side of 82 Wall Street, west of Water Street).


Metal pieces were welded together and the edges ground to achieve each distinct shape. Not wanting the bike racks to be only viewed, Byrne “wants them to be lashed with heavy chains, banged with Kryptonites and scratched by gears. He wants them to be used.” Form is function in this case, and one whose use, however rough, makes good use (pun intended) of metal.

Installed last August, the bike racks will remain for public viewing and usage for 364 days.

On a related story, Bryne was also a judge for the CityRacks Design Competition. The winning submission was designed by Ian Mahaffy and Maarten De Greeve (Bettlelab) from Copenhagen, Denmark. Their solution for bicycle parking “is round with a horizontal crossbar, evoking an abstracted bicycle tire. Constructed of cast-metal, the design is elegant yet sturdy enough to withstand the harshest street environments.”

Nate Burgos

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