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250 W. 57TH STREET LOBBY CEILING

Innovative digital art installation transforms a downtown corporate lobby and attracts high-value tenants.

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INTRODUCTION

The commercial space at New York City’s 250 West 57th Street is the definition of prime real-estate. To attract higher-paying tenants to this space the owner, Empire State Realty Trust, set out to update the building and its lobby with unconventional technology.

Electrosonic has helped develop a space that isn’t just a medium between the inside and outside, but an integral element of the building that exudes continuous motion, much like the people that live and work in the city that never sleeps.

The centerpiece of the space is a massive LED screen transfixed to the ceiling. This living canvas creates generative and customizable images that evolve over a 24- hour cycle and engage guests as they enter the building.

OVERVIEW

The massive screen on the lobby ceiling creates generative, customizable images composed by legendary lighting artist Marc Brickman and award-winning video artist Lindsay Scoggins.

The installation is made up of 308 LED tiles with 6,662,656 individual pixels, which provides endless capabilities. Each new 24-hour cycle follows a limitless visual evolution, comprised of daily material sourced from the internet. The individual compositions include abstract art, live news feeds, galaxy depictions, and extreme weather.

The screen was the first application of an innovative LED display in a public space, providing outstanding color performance and stunning imagery, despite the challenging viewing angle. 

The screen is also equipped with sound capabilities, allowing images and sound to blend and create an immersive experience that’s the digital equivalent of a live art gallery.

The uniqueness of the display comes from behind-the-scenes algorithms that provide information in real time. Online sources, such as weather, hashtags and trending topics allow the video artwork to adjust daily. As this input changes daily, the look of the video artwork will reflect those changes.

CHALLENGE

The owners wanted a lobby experience that was different. However, a long rectangular lobby doesn’t offer the greatest opportunities for revolutionary design, so the solution needed to take this sharp space and reimagine it by transforming it into a living environment.

The decision to use a ceiling-mounted screen posed a number of technical challenges around viewing angles and light levels. The team also had to find a way to generate images that would not repeat and could respond to live events.

SOLUTION

Electrosonic partnered with Gensler, Tactical Manoeuvre and Megapixel VR to transform the lobby into a standout digital art installation. The solution takes advantage of innovative LED display systems to optimize viewing in variable light conditions and integrates the display with the architecture of the lobby.

Clever algorithms and a sophisticated control system ensure that the same image will never reveal itself more than once creating a dynamic feeling to the lobby.



KEY TAKEAWAYS

The goal for Empire State Realty Trust in commissioning this project was to attract highend long-term tenants to the building. Since the completion of the renovation, 250 W. 57th has attracted and retained many Fortune 500 companies and tech-savvy startups.

The technology in the lobby has been fundamental in redefining the space. It pushes the boundaries of technology, fusing architecture, technology and storytelling in a dynamic living canvas.

Project Details

Client
Empire State Realty Trust
Location
New York City
Size
640 sq.ft (Display Area)
Services
Facility Integration
Engineering
Fabrication & Installation
Video & Control Systems
Video Wall Solution
Commissioning
Testing & Programming
I did not want to do another white lobby, I didn’t want to do another black lobby. I didn’t want plants or a water feature. We wanted to do something that had never been done. And we didn’t want to have one big piece of art. We wanted something special, unique — something that is alive.
Anthony Malkin
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Empire State Realty Trust

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