400 Year Old Street Runs Through Lobby of Renovated NYC Office Building

400 Year Old Street Runs Through Lobby of Renovated NYC Office Building

When 85 Broad, situated on the site of Manhattan's very first City Hall, was built in 1981 it divided the historic, cobblestone-paved Stone Street into two sections. An 1,800-square-foot curved corridor through the lobby of the building replicates the street's route with a cobblestone-like path which cannot be altered or obscured in any way, according to city regulation.

ESI Design used digital media, software-driven lighting, and other design elements to tell the story of 85 Broad in a new way. To give the monolithic building a more dramatic street presence while also highlighting the continuation of Stone Street through its lobby, ESI Design created and installed over 250 animated LED light bars: 101 7-foot-long bars form a custom low-resolution video ceiling that mirrors the curved path of the Stone Street corridor, and in the exterior arcade 158 5-foot-long bars twist to form a spiraling light sculpture encircling the entire building.

In addition to brightening and warming the lobby, the interior light bars display subtle patterns throughout the day, including one animation that shows clouds and sky, as if the corridor were open to the sky like when it was a street. The building's entrances on Stone Street and Broad Street have been illuminated with LED arches to draw pedestrians to the building and down the old path of Stone Street.

In the lobby, ESI Design used a map-themed approach throughout the building, with the goal of both connecting the building to its surrounding neighborhood while capturing its rich history. Seven giant relief maps (1,100-square-feet) on the walls of the lobby and elevator bays capture New York City's transformation across over four different time periods, while 24-ft-tall metal maps hover over the light sconces in the Stone Street corridor.

Transparent LCD screens floated over the historic relief maps play animations that are designed to line up with the physical details behind them, as well as real-time content, such as custom word clouds generated from local Twitter users, local weather, traffic, and more.

Photography: Halkin | Mason