Press Releases

Purchase Alumni & Current Students Design Macy's Christmas Windows

Date Released: 11/17/2010

The Macy's Christmas Windows in Herald Square (Nov. 18-Jan.3) were designed by Puchase alums from Sparks Group and PRG Scenic Technologies. Click for details.


Purchase Alums From Spark Group Design Macy’s Christmas Windows in Herald Square and Nationwide

Display on View Nov. 18 at 5 PM to January 3



When Macy’s unveils its Christmas windows in Herald Square on November 18 and at seven other stores nationwide, a group of Purchase alums will have designed holiday windows for “America’s Largest Department Store” that are more animated and theatrical than ever.


The public is invited to attend the official opening of the window display in Herald Square November 18 at 5 PM.  The windows will be on view to January 3.


The windows were created by award-winning designer Paul Olszewski to combine modern technology with traditional artistic technique.  According to Olszewski, “This year, Macy’s has partnered with PRG Scenic Technologies, a production design company, as well as a separate design team, Spark Group, in Mohegan Lake, NY,  to create a unique and spectacular window display that I don’t believe has even been done before.  Almost every detail within each window is made from paper, cut both by laser and by hand, and has been layered and manipulated to give a beautiful and unique quality.  Even the ornate animations created for the LCD screens, such as flying birds, fireplaces, and people decorating trees, are created from paper using this special technique.  It is a combination of artistry and technology that is going to make this year’s windows so special.” 


Purchase graduate Jessica Malone’06 is the owner and Creative Director of Spark Group and was the Director of Design for the Macy’s windows.  Her company is a newly launched Event and Live Production Company specializing in Design and Production.  In February they were referred by Troy Atkinson a Project Manager at PRG Scenic Technologies to Paul Olszewski, Director of Windows for Macy’s.  After reviewing the theme of this year’s windows, they pitched the concept of exquisite craftsmanship merged with cutting edge technology and were chosen to design the windows.   


Once the designs were approved by Macy’s the job was turned over to Troy Atkinson at PRG for fabrication. 


The windows are inspired by an animated Christmas movie that Macy’s produced last year called, “Yes Virginia.”  It is the story of Virginia O’Hanlon, a child who wrote a letter to the New York Sun in 1897 asking if there was a Santa Claus.  The innovation behind the window design is the unique way Spark Group integrated craftsmanship and technology. The New York windows involve state of the art Animation, Integrated Video Animation and Paper.


“Spark Group” was thrilled to work with Paul Olszewski and PRG,” said Jessica Malone.  “Paper plays an integral role in this design as we were inspired by a paper Pop-Up Book that the protagonist, Virginia, is working on in the opening sequence of the animation.  From that scene the crafty child-like paper windows were born.”


In assembling the team, Jessica began with Purchase colleagues Ben Travis ’05 and Brian Howard ’06 who are members of Spark Group. Ben was the lighting designer and Brian scenic designer for Spark Group was the lead designer for the Branch Cities (Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Washington, DC windows) .  Other Purchase graduates who worked with Spark Group included Josh Zangen’04 lead designer for Herald Square, Melissa Shakun ’08, Chris Thompson’10, Stephanie Fallone’10, Sean Ryan Jennings’10, and Adrienne Kapalko’10.


Other Purchase alums at PRG who worked on the project included:

Troy Atkinson ’04, Sam Pierce’87, Nick Freely ’09, Josh Star ’07, Joseph Egan’94, Kyle Bridwell’10, Sean Ryan Jennings’10, Allison Mantilla’11, Jen Salt ’11, Holly Kirk ’03, and Ray Harold ’03.


Macy’s has been amazing spectators with its famed Christmas window displays since the early 1870’s.  As the first department store to feature Christmas windows, Macy’s continues to celebrate the season and encourages people from all corners of the world to Believe.


Macy’s Herald Square Christmas Windows Fun Facts:


?          6 windows

?          7,000 passersby per hour at peak season

?          35 weeks in the making

?          35 sculpted characters

?          Over 100 different colors of paper were used in the building of the windows

?          Over 1,700 sheets of 24” x 36” colored paper used

?          14 paper artisans (7,084 hours of paper building alone)

?          4 carpenters

?          6 electricians

?          80 hours of CNC waterjeting

?          41,000 automated sequences over the nine week run

?          40 hours of CNC routing

?          100 Hours of CNC Laser Cutting

?          12,000 lbs of steel

?          1,000 xacto blades

?          25 gallons of glue

?          3,500 hours of design time

?          Lighting/Video/Automation all completely time based and running in-sync to within 10 millionths of a second

?          160 low wattage, energy efficient LED lighting fixtures