The Beacon at the Tower at PNC Plaza is an iconic, multi-sensory, audio-visual public experience, that interprets data from the green building system, visible from both inside the lobby and outside at the street level.
The funnel-like form of The Beacon hangs down 24-feet from the ceiling of the lobby. The surface of the Beacon is a media canvas that displays continuously shifting patterns of light, color, sound and text to express—in real time—data from the building systems. The Beacon also displays information about the weather an environmental conditions.
The Beacon is made from of 1,584 liquid-crystal polycarbonate panels, each backed with a grid of 8 LEDS, constructed of 32 horizontal rows—the number of floors in The Tower—and 48 vertical rows around.
The Autism Speaks House to Home Prize competition was looking for innovative approaches to enable autistic adults to live safely outside of the family home, in order to achieve independence and self-actualization. Current approaches have often been insufficient and unsuccessful.
Our proposal was rooted in the idea that “it takes a village” to raise a child. That’s also true of autistic adults — it takes a village to enable someone to be independent.
Our solution allows autistic adults to live as independently as possible, receive the support services they need, support and socialize with each other, integrate as fully as possible with the larger community, and live the lives they want.
Check out the full proposal for weekly and daily support.
Collaborators: Debra Everett-Lane
400/450 North Brand
Beacon Capital Partners had just rebranded 400/450 North Brand Boulevard as “the center of it all,” but the buildings were indistinguishable from each other in their Glendale, California neighborhood. Beacon wanted to differentiate the complex by creating two cohesive, yet distinct buildings.
The team created a color and photography story for the complex that gave it a strong sense of place—honoring its location, assisting visitors with wayfinding, and confirming it as “the center of it all.”
ESI assigned each building an identifying color: orange for 400 North Brand and blue for 450 North Brand. These colors accent the exteriors of the buildings, the courtyard, the garage and lobbies. Photographs of historic Glendale and the surrounding landscape, sourced from local public libraries, appear throughout the complex.
A highlight of ESI’s design is the lenticular panels that flank the breezeway linking the garage and the courtyard. When tenants and visitors travel through the breezeway in one direction they see the building numbers and identifying colors and in the other they see photos of the nearby Verdugo Mountains and historic Glendale.
In the lobbies, we updated the furniture, rugs, and security desk, and on the walls we framed oversize photographs in custom colored shadowboxes. We also refreshed the courtyard with new furniture and umbrellas that are color-coordinated with the building.
Studio: ESI Design
Role: Physical Designer/ Lead Designer
Client: Beacon Capital Partners
Exchange Building is a 22-story Art Deco office building located in the downtown Seattle, Washington. It was designed to house the Seattle Stock Exchange and completed in 1930. Beacon Capital Partners purchased the landmarked property in 2013 and worked closely with ESI to preserve the historic importance of the building while providing new amenities for the office tenants.
The team addressed the two main entries into the building creating a brighter more inviting approach with an updated lighting plan and fixtures as well as new ID signage. Inside the lobbies the existing tenant directory frames were repurposed to hold monitors with a a new, dynamic media program showcases the history of the building and highlights up-to-the minute information of interest to tenants, such as weather, transit delays, upcoming local events, this day in history, and a poem of the day.
The new lobby desk is updated using materials that speak to the art deco era. We knocked down the dark wood coves behind the desk and added glass with a custom vinyl pattern to bring more natural light into the main lobby. The elevator cabs were also completely refurbished and move tenants and visitors down to the new amenities space that houses a gym and bike room.
New signage & wayfinding helps guide tenants and visitors through the building with ease.
Studio: ESI Design
Role: Physical Designer
Client: Beacon Capital Partners
1Cal Plaza was an architectural and branding renovation of a skyscraper in downtown Los Angeles including renovations to the main lobby and retail corridor. Nestled in LA arts district, the 1Cal lobby is an extension of the art corridor with a digital gallery of LCD screens that updates with images from instagram feeds of local artists.
Moving into the elevator bay above there is a dynamic light surface that stretches down the two main elevator corridors. The ceiling surface changes throughout the day with colors of the California sky. The landscape and sky inspiration trickles its way into the other elements in the lobby including a panoramic photograph, taken from the roof, applied to the glass fins on the facade.
The new brand identity carries down into the retail corridor now called the “1Cal Marketplace” and was given a new graphic style with an updated signage and wayfinding system.
Columbia Center is the tallest building in Seattle and with the new renovations it now stands out in the iconic Seattle skyline. Interventions by the team at ESI Design include new crown lighting, signage and a series of three animated light sculptures in its lobby.
The new crown lighting on top of each of the three towers give the property a new identity. The LEDs are programmed to celebrate local and national events as well as respond to in real-time sporting events at Century Field. The lights chime on the hour to serve as a timepiece for the city, and a default color changes each month according to the seasons. Much like the Empire State Building in NYC, Columbia Center tweets out the colors of the day every morning.
The updated building monument features an LED strip that mimics the crown’s animations at street level. Inside the main lobby, three different light sculptures, or “Skylights,” change color and pattern based on local weather, the location of the sun and wind movement. Nearby tablets show people how to interpret the sculptures colors movement.
In the lobby and atrium, new media signage dynamically displays local events, building amenities and fun facts about the Columbia Center.
Located at 330 Hudson Street in New York this display wraps the lobby with 77 linear feet of low-and high-definition LED displays. This media-rich experience that samples from a variety of content, including highlights from the history and vibrant contemporary life of the neighborhood. The displays feature real-time information, such as local and international weather and environmental data from the management system of this LEED Gold building.
DesigNYC partners nonprofits with designers and architects on need-based projects every year till it closed in 2015. ESI was partnered with one of the selected organizations — City Health Works — on a healthcare design project. City Health Works (CHW), a Harlem-based community organization, helps type 2 diabetic patients develop a healthier lifestyle. A small team of ESI designers collaborated with CHW to help enhance the tools CHW already has, integrating them, and branding them, all to make the tools more accessible and effective for their clients.
Studio: ESI Design (Matt Weisgerber, Debra Everett-Lane, Lauren Gibbons and Elizabeth Ward)
Role: Strategy and Design
The Design Difference
The Design Difference was a three day charrette organized by The Japan Society’s Innovator’s Network in conjunction with the NGO Common Ground and their subsidiary The Brownsville Partnership. Internationally renowned artists, designers and changemakers from Japan, Southeast Asia and the United States met to try to address the neighborhood of Brownsville’s problems through design.
Led by Valerie Casey, founder of the Designers Accord, Pratt Industrial Design graduate students Ashley Thorfinnson and Sahar Ghaheri and myself helped facilitate the visit to Brownsville and the problem solving brainstorming session that followed. Afterward we worked to consolidate the hundreds of community-improving solutions into 5 main design concepts which are documented GOOD by Alissa Walker in two articles – Part 1 and Part 2.
Collaborators: The Designers Accord, Common Ground and the Japan Society as well as Ashley Thorfinnson and Sahar Ghaheri
Role: Group Leader
Photos by Ayumi Sakamoto
WindowFarms are vertical, hydroponic, modular, low-energy, high-yield edible window gardens built using low-impact or recycled local materials. Founded by Britta Riley in February of 2009 during their residency at Eyebeam, I came on in the early stages and helped with R&D - refining the design and creating new designs for different types of applications, from DIY packets to custom larger architectural installations. During this time, we designed and built installations for Eyebeam and The Whitney Museum. I was also apart of various workshops, educating people about our project and the importance of urban agriculture in city peoples lives.
Studio: WindowFarms (Britta Riley) and Eyebeam
Role: Design and Fabrication
Photos Captions: The Whitney Installation, Kids Day at the Whitney Museum, fabrication and a sample of early diagrams for building your own WindowFarm