MNLA is collaborating with Heatherwick Studio to design Little Island (formerly Pier 55), a dramatic 2.4-acre public park in the Hudson River that brings together art and nature in an immersive experience. Conceived as a leaf floating in the water, the pier contains unexpected topography that frames views, defines landscaped spaces, and provides resilience against climate change.
The lifted corners of the pier create distinct microclimates that reveal themselves through color, texture, light, and shadow. Whether meandering along paths, stairs, or boulders scrambles, the eye is at times directed downward to the rich palette of plants or outwards to spectacular views of the city and harbor. Little Island will be a maritime botanic garden with 35 species of trees, 65 species of shrubs, and 270 varieties of grasses, perennials, vines, and bulbs, many of which have been selected for their fragrance and attractiveness to birds and pollinators. The landscape is one of sweeping swaths of textures and seasonally calibrated color themes punctuated by magnificent trees.
Barry Diller, in partnership with Hudson River Park Trust, called on the expertise of industry leaders in the arts to explore the vast possibilities of creating a new public park embedded with diverse cultural offerings. Together with Heatherwick Studio and MNLA, architectural innovation and a captivating landscape will provide visitors with an oasis from urban life where they can play, relax, imagine, and restore.
The landscape design of Pier 55 is inspired by the textures and colors of coastal Acadia National Park in Maine.