A TWA Hotel Special, aired by CBS, talks about the split-flap display manufactured by SOLARI DI UDINE SPA.
"Morse wanted everything done right – from the signature clock in the center atrium, to the chili pepper red sunken lounge, to the iconic Solari departure boards, all restored to their original 1962 glory. "We wanted to be historically authentic here," Morse said. Which meant going to Udine, Italy, two hours outside of Venice, where the original board was made 57 years ago. The flip signs (and their distinctive sound) have been a staple of train stations and airports worldwide. Then as now, the sign's 34,000 flaps are created by hand."
NEW YORK - At New York’s JFK Airport, the world's most anticipated hotel, the TWA Hotel, now has a touch of Italian design: set to open at the end of 2018, it has already become one of the most interesting attractions among the Big Apple’s must-see tourist destinations and among international design and architecture enthusiasts.
Italian design is already prominently featured in the TWA Lounge, which opened a few days ago on the 86th floor at One World Trade Center, with Solari’s split-flap displays. For over 50 years, these displays have been the finest expression of design when it comes to keeping time thanks to flip technology, allowing travellers to view departures and arrivals, with its distinctive flipping sound.
The display was manufactured in Italy in the oval shape typical of the works by Finnish architect Eero Saarinen, who designed the old 1962 TWA terminal that has remained unused since 2001, as it could no longer accommodate the ever-increasing number of passengers. The original display, designed by Italian architect Gino Valle, was enclosed by an oval shell designed by Saarinen, completely covered with white tiles made by the renowned mosaicists of the school of Spilimbergo, in the province of Pordenone: the structure was preserved and Solari is currently working on creating a new identical split-flap display.
The recently opened lounge allows JFK passengers to delve into the past: it has a deliberately vintage look, from the furnishings to flight attendant uniforms, but also merchandising and cigarettes, including the split-flap display by Solari. In the 1960s version, it was enclosed by an oval shell designed by Saarinen, completely covered with white tiles made by the renowned mosaicists of the school of Spilimbergo, in the province of Pordenone.
“With the opening of the Twa Hotel, Solari is, once again, a global leader, a classic symbol of travel time and an icon of Italian design,” Massimo Paniccia, president of Solari, comments. “In addition to being one of the busiest airports in the world and a business space, JFK will now become a travel destination in itself thanks to this hotel: Solari will also provide it with a touch of Italian design.”
It was essential for each detail of this project to be historically accurate, which is why Taylor Morse, CEO of MCR, the company that owns the future hotel, decided to visit Solari in Udine in person, together with Richard Southwick, Director of Historic Preservation, to verify the feasibility of the project. The company was able to find out about all the original 1960s projects to make sure that the two displays for the hotel’s lobby are exactly the same as the original ones.
Designed and created especially for travellers, Solari's flip clocks are used in homes and offices all around the world. Today, thanks to the Solari lineadesign project, the two cult models - the small table clock Cifra 3 and Dator 60, which also displays the day of the week and date - have been put back into production and can be purchased in Europe, the USA, Russia and Japan. Taking travelling time also to your home. www.solarilineadesign.com
The opening of the TWA Hotel will be a landmark event for the USA, in fact leading U.S. magazines are already raving about it.
Here is a selection of international press reviews:
POSH - TWA HOTEL, INAUGURATA LA LOUNGE IN STILE VINTAGE DELL’EX TERMINAL
TRAVELNOSTOP - C’è un po’ di Italia nel nuovo TWA Hotel al JFK di New York
DONNE CULTURA - ANTICIPAZIONI 2018 - NUOVO TWA HOTEL AEROPORTO JFK DI NEW YORK
RADIO MONTE CARLO – New York: il bellissimo terminal TWA diventa un hotel di lusso
MESSAGGERO VENETO – Nel TWA hotel le storiche palette Solari
ALBERGATORI – Il Terminal TWA All’aeroporto JFK Di New York Sarà Convertito In Hotel Di Lusso
ANSA ViaggiArt – Lo storico terminal Twa al Jfk di New York diventa hotel di lusso
EVENT REPORT - Lo storico terminal TWA dell'aeroporto JFK di New York riaprirà come albergo dove rivivere l'inizio dell'era dei jet
LATITUDES LIFE - A New York il terminal TWA diventa hotel di lusso
TTG Italia - Il terminal Twa del jfk di New York diventa un hotel
VENETO ECONOMIA - Somec rileva Fabbrica LLC e ristruttura l'aeroporto JFK di New York
ELLE DECOR ITALY - Il terminal di Eero Saarinen a New York oggi è un Hotel (Eero Saarinen's Airport Terminal in New York is Becoming a Hotel)
METROPOLIS MAGAZINE – New Exhibition Showcases the Futura TWA Hotel and the TWA’s Past
THE JAPAN NEWS – JFK Airport’s Iconic TWA terminal to get new life as $265 mil. Hotel
ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST – Benjamin Moore Reveals Its 2018 Color of the Year
BUSINESS INSIDER – One of the most famous airport terminals in the world is about to become a swanky hotel
BISNOW – This Airport Hotel Could Have You Hoping For A Flight Delay
PRIVATE WEALTH – A Rooftop Pool Is Coming To Heart Of JFK Airport At TWA Hotel
STUPIDDOPE – Renovations & Restorations! The TWA Hotel
JEWISH VOICE – TWA Hotel with Rooftop Pool to Be Built Near JFK
SCMP Luxury Hotels – JFK Airport’s TWA Hotel is about to get a rooftop pool
UNTAPPED CITIES – In Photos: New TWA Lounge at NYC’s 1WTC
TIMEOUT – Check out the sleek new TWA Hotel coming to JFK airport
THE ATLANTIC – Jet-Age Chic + May Print Edition
USA TODAY – 25 must-see buildings in New York
AIRSPACEMAG – The Airport Terminal So Beautiful It’s Reopening as Hotel
GALERIE MAGAZINE – Eero Saarinen’s TWA Flight Center Is Becoming a Hotel
CONDE NAST TRAVELER – TWA Hotel at New York’s JFK Airport: By the Numbers
ARCHITECTS' GUIDE TO GLASS & METAL - New York State of Mind
TAGES ANZEIGER - Ein neues Leben fur das TWA Flight Center
INCENTICE TRAVEL - NUYC & Company highlights New Yorls City's new, refresched and soon-to-launch hotels
DESTINATION TIPS - JFK's TWA Flight Center Will Become a Hotel
TOP HOTEL - Hotelmarkt in New York wachst am schmellsten
PIX 11 - Retro TWA Lounge at World Trade Center offers flight back to 1960s travel heyday
MEETINGS TODAY - Airport properties emphasize design, amenities and venues
CNN travel - Step back to the 1960s in New York's retro TWA Lounge
FLYGTORGET - Klassisk flyterminal blir hotell
KARRY ON - Travel back to the 60s in JFK's retro hotel
CIRCA - Rebuilding the classic TWA Flight Center at JFK airport in VR 360
HOTEL BUSINESS - Taking Flight: MCR/Morse Development is transforming Saarinen's iconic terminal into TWA Hotel
NYC AVIATION - An Ode to the Observation Decks at JFK
SMART MEETINGS - Fasten Your Seatbelts: The TWA Lounge is Bringing Glamour Bacj to Flying
TRAVEL UPDATE - Did you know the TWA Flight Center at JFK will be a hotel?
METRO - TWA Hotel at JFK right on schedule, developers says
THE CULTURE TRIP - Iconic TWA Terminal at New York's JFK Airport Is Getting a Retro Restoration
ELLE RUSSIA - Отель в стиле 1960-х откроется в бывшем терминале TWA в Нью-Йорке
METRO AIRPORT NEWS - Less Than a Year After Groundbreaking, MCR & Morse Developement Top Out the TWA Hotel
AIRPORT WORLD - Topping Out Ceremony held for New TWA Hotel at New York-JFK
HOTEL NEW RESOURCE - TWA Hotel at JFK International Airport Tops out
NEW YORK YIMBY - TWA Hotel at JFK Airport's Famed Eero Saarinen Terminal Tops Out
6SQFT - JFK's TWA Flight Center Hotel tops out, on track to open in 2019 with the world's largest hotel lobby
NY CURBED - TWA Hotel tops out behind Eero Saarinen's midcentury masterpiece
HOTEL BUSINESS - TWA Hotel at JFK Airport Celebrates Topping Out
DCC JOURNAL - A New Century - and a New Life
NY CURBED - 18 things New Yorkers can look forward to in 2018
THE REAL DEAL - Hotel overload?
BOUTIQUE DESIGN - Band of Borthers
THE POINTS GUY - Trump's "Bad deal" Embassy Is Going to Be a Luxury Hotel
THE JEWISH VOICE - 10 things to look forward to in New York During 2018
NYREJ - MCR and Morse Development top out $265 million TWA Hotel at JFK Airport
BREAKING TRAVEL NEWS - TWA Hotel set to be reborn at JFK International Airport
LIVE AND LET'S FLY - My secret tour of the TWA Flight center at JFK
AIRLINE GEEKS - Nostalgic: A look inside the TWA Lounge at One Trade Center in NYC
LOST WALDO - Modern Day Icons - Architectural Marvels That You Have to See to Believe
DIE PRESSE - Der Architektur-Aufreger: Am Flughafen
INDEPENDENT - Terminal rivalry: can intra-airport comptetition work at heathrow and elsewhere?
6SQFT - Inside the construction at the TWA Flight Center Hotel; Help eat the world's biggest bagel and lox
POLITICO - ALBANY spent $6.4 Million on harassment claims - PERCOCO's "Ziti" - Pray for KRISTAPS
NRE INVESTOR - 10 Must reads for the CRE Industry Today
NY TIMES - New York Today: Fashion Rejects
NY TIMES - Updating the Landmark TWA Terminal at JFK, This Time as a Hotel
TRAVELLER - Waht makes a good airport hotel? Ten of the best
MSN - America's Abandoned Airports Are Being Revamped Into Cool Places You Can Visit
POP SUGAR - America's Abandoned Airports Are Being Revamped Into Cool Places You Can Visit
BOSTON GLOBE - A sky-high look at the glamorous age of aviation
NEWS GET - A look at the Best Airport Hotels of 2018
HERALD TRIBUNE - Famed High profile and neglected JFK Airports TWA Hotel open next year
THE INDEPENDENT - At JFK Airport, a glamorous return to yesteryear - 1962, to be exact
FORBES - The best (And newest) Airport Hotels in the world
BUSINESS TRAVELLER - New and upcoming New York Hotels
MSN - Coolness Alert: The TWA Hotels is touching down at New York's JFK
WSJ - The TWA Hotel is touching down at New York's JFK
HOTEL NEWS NOW - 5 things to know: 2 march 2018
YOUR LV-LIFESTYLE - 100 Best Things to do in New York
THE GLOBE AND MAIL - How airport hotels are resurrecting the golden age of air travel
COMMERCIAL OBSERVER - Drawn together: the dynamic due behind Lubrano Ciavarra Architects
COMMERCIAL PROPERTY EXECUTIVE - CPE's stars to watch 2018 Part 1
PLANET MONEY - A quick history of slow credit cards
HOTEL MANAGEMENT - Select-service hotel now legitimate institutional investor play
QUEENS BEANS - New TWA Hotel continues to make progress. Completion is very near
6SQFT - Ahead of next year's opening, TWA Hotel's second tower tops out
NEW YORK YIMBY - Facade Installation starts for TWA Hotels at JFK Airport Queens
CURBED NEW YORK - TWA Hotel soars toward spring 2019 opening
QNS - Construction on the new hotel at the iconic TWA Terminal at JFK Airport reaches a milestone
QUEENS CHRONICLE - TWA Hotel's second tower tops out at JFK
UNTAPPED CITIES - See photos of the TWA Hotel's Second Tower Topping Out
METRO - Check out the latest photos of the TWA Hotel at JFK
LEISURE OPPORTUNITIES - Everything must go: entire contents of Heathrow's Terminal 1 to go under the hammer
CRAINS NEW YORK - Late check-in
HOSPITALITY DESIGN - TWA lounge
US GLASS MAG - Glazing Complete on TWA Hotel's North Tower
UNTAPPED CITIES - A look at Saarinen's Modernist US Embassy in London, Now Becoming a Hotel
ARCH PAPER - Peek inside the under construction TWA Flight center
CRAIN'S - With its futuristic design, JFK hotel is a model of efficiency
HOTEL BUSINESS - Check in & Check out the new TWA Hotel
COOL HUNTING - Save the TWA Terminal
QUEENS EXAMINER - TWA Hotel pays homage to Jet Age roots
BROOKLYN DOWNTOWN STAR - TWA Hotel pays homage to Jet Age roots
ARCHINECT NEWS - From rotary phones to martini bars, the new TWA Hotel at JFK Airport travels back to 1962
JETSETTERSBLOG - TWA Hotel at JFK
L'USINE NOUVELLE - Un hotel va faire revivre la mythique compagnie aérienne TWA
EDITION CNN - The TWA Hotel brings retro style to JFK airport
PIX11 - Jet back in time: TWA Hotel at JFK offers sneak peek of guest rooms
AIRLINE GEEKS - MCR Development Welcome aviation Enthusiasts to TWA Showcasing Suite in NYC
THE TELEGRAPH - Journey to the Jet Age: Inside the world's coolest airport hotel
THE GOOD LIFE - L’inauguration de cet hôtel dans l’ancien terminal de la compagnie TWA imaginé par Eero Saarinen est prévue pour le printemps 2019. Le maître d’œuvre vient d’en dévoiler les premières images.
ROBERT'S MAGAZINE - Chek-in at the TWA Hotel
VANE AIRPORT - TWA Hotel at JFK Airport: Peek Inside the Magic of the Jet Age
INSIDER TRAVEL REPORT - TWA Hotel at JFK Airport Debuts Throwback Model Room Design
QUEENS CHRONICLE - Sand to be trucked through Howard Beach
HOTEL NEWS NOW - Let's call a comeback for vintage hotel design
HOSPITALITY NET - The TWA Hotel brings retro style to JFK airport
METROPOLITAN AIRPORT NEWS - Back the TWA Ambassador Club
METROPOLITAN AIRPORT NEWS - JFK's TWA Hotel: A Fantastic Merging of the Past With The Future
DOWNTOWN MAGAZINE - Up And Away
GET.COM - First Look Inside The Retro TWA Hotel At New York JFK Airport
ABOUT TRAVEL - Die TWA ist wieder da (TWA is coming back)
TRAVELLER - TWA Hotel at JFK Airport, New York photos: Room designs unveiled
CONNECT NEW YORK - M&T Arranges Construction Loan for Flight Ceneter Redevelopment
RE BUSINESS - Developer Secures $230M Construction Loan for TWA Hotel at JFK Airport
GLOBE ST - TWA Flight Center, Hotel Project Lands $230M Construction Loan
BISNOW - N.Y. Deal Sheet: Oggice Leasing Goes Into Overdrive
BUFFALO NEWS - M&T Bank helping finance TWA Flight Center's rebirth
PASSENGER TERMINAL TODAY - JFK Airport secures US$230m construction loan for new hotel
PASSENGER TERMINAL TODAY - Room design unveiled for JFK Airport's TWA Hotel
CRAIN'S - High-end condos are eating up energy
Built in 1962, the shapely building was designed by Eero Saarinen to usher in the Jet Age. Designated a New York City landmark in 1994 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005, it has been unused for the last 14 years because it couldn’t fit modern aircraft.
However, is going to be given a new life to the terminal —as an hotel. Due to its historic status, the building will be completely restored as it was back in 1962.
One of the main features of the terminal is the split-flap display Solari designed by architect Gino Valle and enclosed into the unmistakable oval shell designed by Eero Saarinen, completely covered with white tiles made by the famous Italian mosaic school of Spilimbergo.
Today, the developers are working with Solari, to produce the flap board exactly as it was 54 years ago, using the authentic split-flap technology developed by Remigio Solari in the 50s.
For further information in regards to the under-construction hotel, below few articles:
USA Today, Galerie Magazine, AirSpace Magazine, The Atlantic, Untapped Cities, Archinect, The New York Times, etc.
Save the Solari boards. The US are defending the made-in-italy history. The citizens of Philadelphia are saying NO to the dismantling of the old split-flap display that stands into the 30th Street Station: the old analogic display have to make way to his newly digital version.
The departure boards, worldwide symbols of stations, were developed and produced by Solari Udine: Company specialized in Public Information systems. Solari patented during the 60s the split-flap system; In a few years this system became the actual icon of traveling and was adopted and used in every airport and train station, thanks to his unique and unmistakable sound.
The technology changes quickly, and with it the Solari’s Innovation that like 50 years ago is projected to the future: but the Company remain faithful to his history and to the authenticity of his core. In the last years Solari has reproduced the sound and the perfect visualization of the letter that “flips” during the updating of the informations. One of the old split-flap display of Penn Station in New York is already been replaced by a digital one.
The Solari boards are becoming a national case in the US, as much that the biggest newspapers and magazines such Wired, Smithsonian, The Washington Time and CBS wrote about it. Meanwhile was been created even an online petition on change.org and the citizens are tweeting and creating Facebook groups to complain against Amtrak, the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, with an hashtag in common: #savethesign.
One of the US journalists wrote about the Solari’s Displays that “Sounds can take us back in time, into kind of memory time travel”.
“That’s exactly the great power of Solari Udine - said Massimo Paniccia, CEO of Solari - to have created a technology and a unmistakable design that, after 50 years, can still evoke emotions to people worldwide. I think that is the best recognition that a Company can receive.
Indeed, Solari re-launched in production his historical clocks, in order to enter the houses of every passenger, bringing them a little bit of that emotion.”
Still today, indeed, Cifra 3 - the flip clock designed by Gino Valle and worldwide recognized as design icon of the 900s - is part of the permanent collection of MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) in New York, and of the Design Museum of London. It is still entirely produced in a fully artisanal way, without assembly line. From December will be available in Europe, USA, Russia and Japan even onto the online store: www.store.solarilineadesign.com.
Many Magazine and Journalists wrote about the news; following, the list of Articles and the links to in-depth:
Italian Press / La Folla, Semi e Idee, Agi.it, Oggiarte, il Friuliveneziagiulia, Messaggero Veneto, Udine Today, Diario di Udine, Friuli Sera, Friuli.it etc.
Worldwide Press / Times Ledger, Inhabitat, ElleDecor, Archinect, TapInto, Atlasobscura, RunwayGirl, New York Times, Wired, Smithsonian, Metro, Philly, Philly Blog, CityLab, CBS Philly, PhillyVoice, WITF, The Washington Times, PRI etc.
The famous Split-flap display that stands in the middle of the Philadelphia 30th Street Station, produced by Solari di Udine, will soon be replaced by a digital board.
Many Journalists and Magazines wrote about this news, like Wired, Smithsonian, Metro, Philly, Philly Blog, CityLab, CBS Philly, PhillyVoice, WITF, The Washington Times, PRI etc.
The name and popularity of Solari comes from way back in 1725, the year in which the first document records the existence of the Fratelli Solari Company as an “Old and Prized Tower Clocking Industry”. From then on the company’s history is filled with many industrial successes. Believing in the power of an idea and transforming it into success: this is what the two brothers Fermo and Remigio Solari were able to achieve. They established their name worldwide in the fifties, bringing to prominence a company with great potential and bearer of innovative inventions, such as the split-flap system, which revolutionized standard methods of displaying time and information to the public, to the fore.
When the Solari brothers dynasty came to an end, the company management was in the hands of large industrial Groups. The the company property passed on to entrepreneur Dr. Massimo Paniccia who consequently made Solari today’s model of successful economics.
The search for perfection, the desire to reach unique solutions, multi-year experience at the service of every requirement: Solari’s prestige has been founded on these values for almost three centuries. Solari installed over 3000 systems worldwide, by which they move over 5.5 billion people every year.
When the CEO, Massimo Paniccia, had read all the articles and comments about the replacing of the flap board, was pleasantly surprised. “The best wish to the future of Our Company is that, in 40 or 50 years from now, someone in the world will be sad if one of the recently installed public information systems will be dismantled. This is our main focus and the reason of our choices; the search of perfection, both for the client and for the user. I recognize also the meaning and fascination of the displays and flip clocks, design icons throughout the world like the Cifra 3 (Ndr. part of the permanent collection of the London Science Museum, of the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) in New York and, after November, of the Design Museum of London). Indeed, Solari re-launched in production his historical clocks, in order to enter the houses of every passenger.”
We collected, from Twitter, some comments expressed by the passengers:
come on @amtrak, don't replace the solari board at 30th Street in Philly. it's part of the city and its sound says "welcome home". @6abc— Kabir Akhtar, ACE (@kabirakhtar) 27 agosto 2016
When function meets form, sometimes nostalgia loses. Are you sad to see Philly's clickety train station delay go? https://t.co/lUsk2aYAHx— Korn Design (@korndesign) 19 settembre 2016
Can't believe they're getting rid of the sign at @Amtrak 30th Street Station #savethesign everything doesn't have to change 🚂🚂🚂🚂🚂🚉🚉🚉🚉🚉🚉🚉🚉🚉🚉🚉— Poog (@lbgrant24) 26 agosto 2016
So sad 😢 "Say Bye to Those Awesomely Clackety #Train Station #Displays" | WIRED https://t.co/9GTZeW4xre— Chaim Haas (@chaimhaas) 28 agosto 2016
Hey followers plz tweet @Amtrak that sight & sound of the Philly 30th St Station flip depart. sign must not be replaced ! #savethesign— (((Hann23))) (@hann23) 25 agosto 2016
Plans to make new digital screens look and sound like the old: Say Bye to Those Clackety Train Station Displays https://t.co/3cIKG1QgRS— Jason Cremins (@JasonCremins) 28 agosto 2016
But the Solari board enhances MY travel experience far more than digital! #Philadelphia #Amtrak— Tony (@tony_pu) 25 agosto 2016
@Amtrak please don't replace the 30th street Philly Solari board. It has history and character— uustat (@uustat) 31 agosto 2016
Amtrak: Do not replace the 30th Street Station Flipboard - Sign the Petition! https://t.co/LCcUFAGAmj via @Change— Lizzie B. (@tiniestmonkey) 26 agosto 2016
People also started to share this amazing video, showing the details of the board and a slow-motion of the “clickety-clack” flaps.
You don't want that the Solari board will be replaced? A user created this petition that you can sign / via change.org!
Share your opinion, leave a Comment or write us!
Credit Joshua Scott / The Cifra 3 clock, designed in the mid-’60s by the Italian architect Gino Valle, with numbers designed by Massimo Vignelli.
"Anyone who travels is familiar with the large flip-board displays indicating the gate of your plane, train or bus. Their distinctive shuffling sound, which sends travelers scurrying like a well-orchestrated flash mob, is so synonymous with departure that when Boston’s North Station upgraded its boards to LED displays, they were programmed to emit the familiar clicketyclack, as much for nostalgia as for necessity: How else to get passengers to look up from their phones?
Less familiar — unknown, more likely — is the man responsible for effectively conducting this movement of millions of people for the past 60 years, Remigio Solari. His family’s business had been making clocks for towers in the Dolomites of Northern Italy since 1725. You could say the movement of time was in his blood, or perhaps he had too much of it on his hands, but in the late 1940s, the self-taught engineer had a breakthrough: Rather than hands that move around fixed numbers on a dial, he inscribed the numbers on metal flaps that rotated around a wheel. It was a revelation in terms of clarity, particularly when standing at a distance. In 1956, the first “Solari board” was installed in a train station in Belgium, becoming the worldwide standard for rail and airway travel soon after.
Remigio died in 1957, but his brother Fermo continued his work. With the architect Gino Valle, the Solari company introduced a small electromechanical flip clock, the Cifra 5. While this model won the Compasso d’Oro award at Milan’s International Furniture Fair, it was the Cifra 3, designed in the mid-’60s, which had families everywhere replacing analog clocks with the new technology. The minimalist packaging — a glossy thermoplastic cylinder to accommodate the flaps’ rotation — and the crisp sans serif digits designed by Massimo Vignelli, were soon copied by everyone from General Electric to Hitachi.
I got my own Sony knockoff in 1972. It was the first piece of technology that I fetishized and had to have. Owning it felt somehow like I was invested in the future, or at least a part of it. Later I discovered the source of my so-called digital clock, the Cifra 3, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, which had added it to its collection in 1966, because it was, and is, “the purest expression of industrial design,” according to senior curator Paola Antonelli.
Then I had to have the real thing and found I wasn’t alone. The clock, discontinued in 1989, had an almost cultlike following, fueling a secondary market among collectors. Solari’s new owners took note and last year put the Cifra 3 back into production at their factory in Udine, where employees continue to assemble it by hand. I was able to get one of the first reissues in Europe (it becomes available in the U.S. this fall), and it now sits, not by my bedside, but on the mantel in my living room, next to other beautiful items, like a midcentury Lucy Rie vase.
Although the Cifra 3 can’t compete with the Solari boards in terms of the number of customers served (the company estimates that it has helped 5.5 billion people navigate trips), it is — like its descendant, the iPod — a potent example of how design can elevate technology."
Special thanks to Tom Delavan / The New York Times Style Magazine
If you have landed at JFK Airport in New York City, you’ve probably seen the Trans World Airlines (TWA) Terminal. Built in 1962, the shapely building was designed by Eero Saarinen to usher in the Jet Age. Designated a New York City landmark in 1994 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005, it has been unused for the last 14 years because it couldn’t fit modern aircraft.
However, the terminal was going to be given a new life—as a boutique hotel. Due to its historic status, the building’s exterior will remain untouched, but the interior will be given a full makeover.
When renovated, the new 40,000 sqf. facility will have 505 guest rooms, a 10,000 sqf. observation deck, six restaurants, multiple bars (which the original terminal also housed), a fitness center, and conference space.
The building, with its distinctive design, has had its share of memorable pop culture moments. It was featured in Leonardo DiCaprio’s Catch Me If You Can. It also was where the Beatles entered the US for the first time, in 1964.
One of the main features of the terminal is the split-flap display Solari designed by architect Gino Valle and enclosed into the unmistakable oval shell designed by Eero Saarinen, completely covered with white tiles made by the famous italian mosaic school of Spilimbergo.
In the same year, in 1962, the remote alpha numeric indicator for airports and railway stations of Solari won the Golden Compass, the second after that of 1956 for the design of electro-mechanical clock digits snap, Cifra5
Split-flap Display Solari designed by architect Gino Valle
Waiting Lounge with Solari Split-Flap Display
Solari is an international brand that holds a strong authority in the business of time and industrial clock making. Created in Pesariis, Italy, in 1725, the company was initially known as the “Old and Awarded Tower Clock Company,” but it has managed to tower above that perception with its innovative range of designs.
For over two hundred years, Solari continuously redefines how people view and see time, using cutting-edge products and technology that still encompass Solari’s traditional aesthetic, ethos and history, which can be seen all across the world in major transportation hubs today.
The Cifra 3 is more than just a clock; it carries the ability to connect people from all over the world and it has done so since 1960. According to its website, the Cifra 3 is “considered one of the highest expressions of technology and creative design combined, between an engineering and communicative power.” Designed by Gino Valle at the end of the sixties, the Cifra 3 is recognized as a twentieth century design icon all over the world. It is a table clock with white digits on a black background and its lettering has a distinctive typeface for hours and minutes, which was chosen by follow industrial designer, Massimo Vignelli. Its functioning has remained unchanged since 1966. With the help of Belgian inventor, John Myer, they gave the Cifra 3 a voice, using the flap system design, as well as its distinctive flipping sound, which also serves as an active representation of the incessant flow of time. Noted as one of the greatest inventions and designs in the 20th century, the Cifra 3 is included as a permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, as well as the Science Museum in London.
Gino Valle is a world-renowned architect, designer and painter, who was born into a family of designers and artists, which probably explains why he University Institute of Architecture of Venice, and graduated in 1948 and in that same year, he followed his father’s footsteps, studying under him and his sister for some years. Interested in establishing relationships between people and simple objects, he later worked with major companies such as Zanussi, where he designed the plate refrigerator, which served as a breakthrough in consumer appliances at the time. In 1945, he began working with Solari lineadesign on their popularized flip clock, the Cifra 5. The electromechanical flip clock won the “Compasso d’Oro,” in 1956. With the help of John Myer, Valle elevated the clock with rollers and forty flaps, containing digits and letters and at the end of the sixties, he created the Cifra 3 – which is displayed in railway stations and airports around the world.