This is the renovated lobby and street-level facade of 110 High Street, part of an office tower complex in Boston’s Financial District.
The new owners of the building commissioned a “multi-faceted capital enhancement plan” that included a new lobby and entrance built around what is called a “first-of-its-kind 84-foot digital Boston Media Band Experience.”
The floor-level LED band has three digital art modes that react to foot traffic traffic in the lobby in a variety of fun and interactive ways. The design and art was created by New York’s ESI Design, and meant to “extend the experience of the building into the street, while simultaneously bringing the energy of the city inside.”
Characters in Silhouette Mode wave and dance to pedestrians and building visitors, and wear weather-appropriate attire. They put on sports gear when the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins or Celtics play. There is also Bay Mode featuring animated schools of fish, and a more functional Tenant/Building Mode that displays tenant information.
Building owner LaSalle, after buying the property in late 2015, commissioned the overall design to Elkus Manfredi Architects. Says company Principal Mark Sardegna: “Elkus Manfredi Architects is honored to contribute to the re-invention and newest chapter of this majestic Art Deco icon. This new environment blurs the lines between indoor and outdoor to showcase the interactive media experience and engage the tenants, visitors and the community. It’s a project that embraces history while stepping with confidence into the future of our city.”
“Our goal at 110 High Street was to transform this iconic building’s new entrance into a unique experience,” says Edwin Schlossberg, President & Principal Designer of ESI Design. “The Boston Media Band centers on the flow of the city and activates the lobby, plaza, and surrounding streetscape with movement and personality. The first and largest installation of its kind in Boston, it responds to the presence of people with moments of surprise and delight. By breaking the barrier between inside and outside, the installation broadcasts the building’s new identity to the street and draws people in.”
ESI does nice work. I like how the media wall is extended from the lobby to a strip along an exterior wall. I also like how it is reactive and programmed according to events – like Sox games – that would have people buzzing.
There’s a Boston Globe story here that goes into why commercial property owners are investing in these sorts of installations to attract and retain tenants. These LED features are the ultra-modern version of the water fountains you’d find in many buildings that went up in the 80s and 90s.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.