An MIT Alumni Association Publication

Got big plans for Valentine’s Day? How about getting married next to the world’s largest Fresnel lens—heart-shaped, of course—in Times Square? Thank MIT alumni and friends for making that possible.

The lens, designed by Aranda\Lasch and Marcelo Coelho SM ’08, PhD ’13 and titled Window to the Heart, won the 2018 Times Square Valentine Heart Competition and will be on view in New York through February.

The unspoken hero of our media culture is the lens—behind every image is the lens that captured it.

The love-themed lens was 3D-printed by Media Lab spinoff, Formlabs, led by Maxim Lobovsky SM ’11; Natan Linder SM ’11, PhD ’17; and David Cranor SM ’11. Assembled from 1,090 tiles printed on a Form 2 printer, the 12-foot diameter Fresnel lens distorts and captures the image of Times Square, optically bending light and attention to the heart-shaped window at its center.

“We live in a culture experienced through screens and cameras and Times Square is its main temple,” says the design team. “The unspoken hero of our media culture is the lens—behind every image is the lens that captured it….The power of a lens is that it makes people aware of the mechanics of seeing.”

And what’s happening on Valentine's Day 2018 at the Window to the Heart site? Three couples are scheduled to get married, three are staging live proposals, and others are taking part in a large vow renewal. And Formlabs will also be on site demonstrating their 3D printing technique.

 

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