At a sneak preview of The Shed, a 200,000-square-foot arts space currently being built at Hudson Yards, hard hats and reflective vests were the accessories of choice. While the $420 million complex has come a long way since its inception in 2005, when Michael Bloomberg rezoned the far West Side for major development, participants in last night’s V.I.P. tour found themselves in a full blown construction zone. But, judging by the attendees, the massive steel skeleton is already a cultural destination.
“Fashion will have a home here,” Fern Mallis, the former CFDA executive who brought New York Fashion Week to Bryant Park over 15 years ago, told us. “People thought Lincoln Center was out of the way when it was built and now it’s very much a part of the fiber of the city. People will come here, for sure.”
With its signature feature—a retractable steel shell that allows the space to transform into a performance arena—The Shed will encompass more than just fashion shows. “We don’t do high and low here; it’s all artists. We’d like to work with like Chance the Rapper,” Artistic Director Alex Poots told the audience. The brainchild of two rock star architects – David Rockwell of the Rockwell Group and Liz Diller of Diller Scofidio + Renfro – the structure is designed to signify New York’s cultural edge. “Michael Bloomberg gave us two instructions,” added Chairman Daniel L. Doctoroff. “Make it unlike anything else anywhere in the world, and make sure it helps New York remain on the edge, because that’s what the far West Side [is about].”
While board member Diane von Furstenberg made a notable appearance, The Shed’s telescopic shell was the night’s true showstopper, moving almost imperceptibly in the background as speakers gave their remarks. But as Mallis noted, there is plenty of work to be done before the official 2019 opening. “No one spends much time this far west because it’s a nightmare right now with all the construction going on,” she said. “[New York] needs to fix all the infrastructure so they can stop all the construction and traffic everywhere.”