The second phase of a spectacular reimagining of the Empire State Building's Observatory experience is now open to the public. In addition to its singular views of New York, the building now boasts state of the art exhibits about the building, created in collaboration with Beneville Studios, IDEO, Squint/Opera, and a host of other consultants and production partners who have offered expertise to the project from digital media to lighting and fabrication.
Thinc designed a series of immersive exhibits that transport visitors through the building's storied history as a wonder of the modern world: its innovative and rapid construction process, its grand opening in 1931, its continued leadership in energy efficiency, and its role as an urban campus that provides singular amenities for its occupants. From there, visitors experience the building as an icon of popular culture: whether in movies, TV shows comics or commercials, the Empire State Building has come to stand for New York City in the popular imagination. The exhibits plunge visitors directly into an epic scene with King Kong himself, while also giving them a taste of the building's many other starring moments. The experience captures the building’s essential character, its place in the cityscape of New York, and its place in cultural history.
The first phase of the project (which opened earlier this year) was a new and expanded 34th street entrance that graciously accommodates increasing visitation to the ESB, already in excess of four million people annually. The centerpiece of the new entry is an extraordinarily crafted, architecturally accurate two-story model of the building, framed by a grand staircase replete with details adapted from features of the Empire State Building. The new lobby features automated, Deco-inspired ticket kiosks, digital directional signs in nine languages, a green room for VIP guests, a state of the art security system, and interactive host screens. Together, these elements create a seamless entry experience for visitors from all over the world.
The balance of the Observatory upgrade project will open in phases through 2019