650 Fifth Avenue

Monday, October 21st, 2013

By Jordan Mainzer
Photos by Jeffrey Kilmer

Why turn off the lights during the day when you can get creative with them instead? That was Design360’s point of view while creating digital media displays and lighting concepts meant to draw in visitors from off the street into 650 Fifth Avenue. With bold lobby graphics connected to color-changing LED displays on the exterior, and lighting programmed to mimic the sun throughout the day, we break down the unique lighting designs of 650 Fifth Avenue by the numbers.

4: Times per year year that the image content is refreshed with a new seasonal theme. For example, during summertime, the lobby displays features fun imagery like seashells, popsicles, and flowers. The images also are coordinated with the time of day—warm, red-hued graphics play during the day while cool, blue-toned images are shown at nighttime. 

10: Number of people who worked on the project, including two from Design360 and eight cooperating partners, from signage fabricators to construction workers. “It was a really collaborative environment—we worked with our parent company, Swanke Hayden Connell Architects, on planning, executing, and lighting the ceiling, for instance,” Ayers says. 

24: Total number of graphics that are cycled every few minutes on the ceiling. “The owners of the building wanted to hire an architect and graphic designer to rethink the lobby,” Ayers says. “The animated ceiling is what makes our approach unique for the neighborhood. You’d really only find this in Times Square.” It was also important to Ayers to create an artistic environment for the building given its close proximity to the Museum of Modern Art.

 $11 million: The impressive project budget, including lobby reconstruction and media updates.  “650 Fifth Avenue competes with other retailers for pedestrian attention, but its entrance is on a side street. The owners of the building wanted to give people a reason to walk in.” Design360 creative director Jill Ayers says. 

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