Times Square, Neon Back Bar - CODAworx

Times Square, Neon Back Bar

Submitted by Josh Held

Client: Starwood

Location: New York, NY, United States

Completion date: 2016

Artwork budget: $250,000

Project Team

Interior Designer

Josh Held

Josh Held Design

Interior Designer

Wayne Heller

Josh Held Design


Matt Dilling

Lite Brite Neon


This project was a full gut renovation of an 8,200 sqft lobby in the heart of New York City. We
started by clearing the canvas and envisioning the W Hotel guest experience of the future for this well-established brand. The space tells the story and history of theater, light and the people of Times Square.
One of the art installations is the back bar which has 40 feet of charcoal mirror that evolves throughout the day to gradually reveal a story told through 800 linear feet of custom neon made by local NYC artists, Lite Brite Neon.


In essence, every component of the W Times Square is a custom commissioned work of art from an abstracted piano table to a 10 foot tall geodesic ball of dichroic glass. The neon art installation is one of the most profound in the space. It starts the day completely non visible behind charcoal mirror glass. Throughout the day as the energy progresses so does the installation as more and more pieces come to life until the late evening when the wall is fully illuminated and the mirror glass visually disappears.


As designers of the entire project, Josh Held Design, developed a story that we wanted to tell and part of that story is about light. We came up with this 40 foot art installation and creative directed its development along with our client, the W Hotel team at Starwood (Martin Ablaza, Aliya Khan, Ted Jacobs).
We had the remarkable opportunity to work with New York's premier neon art fabricators, Lite Brite Neon (Wayne Heller and Matt Dilling). They took our seed of an idea and researched the story and history to create concept art that eventually translated into the 800 linear feet of hand bent neon art that is the installation. Lite Brite also came up with the complex system that allows full control of which pieces come on and when.

Additional Information

There are also complimentary chandeliers that are made from hanging loops of neon that Lite Brite helped with as well and can be seen in the project shots.