Love. That’s the reason why Troy Huang decided to recreate the city of New York in miniature scale. Huang moved to NYC at the age of 14 and has lived in and loved NYC ever since. One day it just occurred to him “that it would be great and special [to] make a model of NYC.”

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Using GIS information, Huang created all the files needed to laser cut a map of Manhattan and 3D print all the buildings to scale. After seven weeks of troubleshooting file problems, laser cutting acrylic, 3D printing buildings, gluing, gluing, gluing, and constructing the rest of the desk, Huang finally finished. The city that means so much to Huang now rests under a sheet of glass. The big apple makes for a big desk.

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“While working on the project, I feel I know a bit more about NYC and grew a little closer to NYC (this might be a little cheesy, but it is true),” Huang said. Each building passed through his fingertips as he glued down familiar streets and unfamiliar streets alike, so it’s no wonder that his knowledge of the city grew. “With every building I remove, clean, and glue onto the acrylic map, it engraved a little bit of NYC onto my brain.”

This connection was so key to this project that Huang says that he wouldn’t consider trying to recreate a city he had not visited first. “I personally feel I have to visit and see the culture and history of the city before I start building them. Otherwise, there is no connection between me and the city.”

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Currently, Huang’s working on recreating Chicago. For this project he’ll be working in bronze rather than glow-in-the-dark plastic. He sees himself continuing his design work, making more cityscapes as tables or museum-worthy displays, but also other pieces of furniture and decor. Follow his work as it develops by looking at his site.