Robots Invade Bergdorf Goodman

This month, the displays in Bergdorf Goodman’s Fifth Avenue windows might look familiar to members of the FIT community. Illustration adjunct faculty member Chris Spollen’s quirky steampunk robots, recently featured in FIT’s Art and Design Gallery, have taken up residence in the department store’s world-famous windows for most of August.

How did they get there? The glass-sheathed Art and Design Gallery was designed to invite passersby to look or step inside. When designing Modeling the Future, the FIT exhibition featuring Spollen’s work, exhibitions manager Austin Thomas strategically placed the robots facing the street as a way of putting the gallery in conversation with people outside. David Hoey, senior director for visual presentation at Bergdorf Goodman, spotted the robots on his commute and thought they would be a perfect complement to the store’s metallic fall collection.

“He wanted that gallery feel,” Thomas says. “He thought they’d really interact with the fashion and the person the sidewalk.”

Hoey said the robots were “a hit with pedestrians, Bergdorf’s senior management, and everyone else.”
By the time Spollen’s creations fly off to their next destination on August 27, tens of thousands of New Yorkers and tourists will have enjoyed their weird, wonderful journey.

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