For 16 years, the intersection of Houston Street and Broadway in New York City was crowned with a large billboard featuring a black and white montage of southern Manhattan inside the letters “DKNY” (pictured above). The billboard was pulled down in 2008 after Abercrombie & Fitch purchased the building that supported it ? a change that not a few New Yorkers mourned. Five years later, DKNY is reviving and expanding its outdoor advertising efforts through a variety of art installations around the world. DKNY has commissioned 10 artists from 10 cities ? New York, London, Paris, Milan, Dubai, Kuwait City, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul and Tokyo ? to create outdoor art that interprets New York City in the context of the city in which each installation appears. Works will include billboards, sculpture, projected media and kiosks. DKNY has gathered photos of several of the works alongside artist interviews and other behind-the-scenes materials at dknyartworks.com. The site is also gathering photos and comments about the installations posted to Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Tumblr and Weibo.
In addition to the microsite, DKNY has also released an augmented reality app for iOS and Android that invites users to take photos of each work to pull up a contextual video. To spark further engagement, a 10 x 13-foot piece of 3D art in London will be moved among three undisclosed locations. To find it, users will have to seek out clues on Twitter and Facebook. Though primarily a branding campaign, there is a sales tie-in: DKNY is releasing a#dknyartworks collection, featuring work printed on tote bags, scarves and other items. While DKNY may never reclaim its coveted spot on Houston Street, the brand should be applauded for thinking much bigger than a billboard this time around.