Rendering of "We Were Strangers Once Too"
Courtesy The Office for Creative Research Rendering of "We Were Strangers Once Too"

The annual heart-themed installation in New York's Times Square is back again this February. Brooklyn-based firm The Office for Creative Research designed this year's winning installation, "We Were Strangers Once Too," a layered arrangement of metal poles colored to form a heart. But the symbol of romance is composed of data: The pink and red hues on the 33 poles correspond to immigrant populations in New York City, according to 2015 American Community Survey data.

"In the face of rising nationalism and xenophobia—both in our own country and across the world—it is vital to reaffirm our commitment to supporting the diverse populations around us," the firm notes on its website. " 'We Were Strangers Once Too' uses local open data to make our city’s immigrant populations visible and centered (figuratively and literally, in Times Square) in the conversation, asserting that these populations are to be protected, championed, and loved."

Launched in 2009, the Times Square Valentine Heart competition is a production of the Times Square Alliance's Times Square Arts program. This year's program was curated by the Urban Design Forum. Last year, Collective-LOK installed "Heart of Hearts," and Stereotank's "HeartBeat" was displayed in 2015.

"We Were Strangers Once Too" runs Feb. 7 through March 5, 2017.