Empire State Building reimagined Observatory completed with opening of 80th Floor

Empire State Building Observatory

Empire State Realty Trust, Inc. announces the completion of the redevelopment of the 80th floor of the Empire State Building Observatory (ESBO). The final component of the four-year, $165 million project to reimagine the ESBO adds engaging and informative exhibits to orient visitors on their visit to New York City and showcases the building’s unique place at the center of it all.

A team of artists, architects, designers, and engineers – including New York City-based design consultants Beneville Studios – was also on hand for the opening. As one of the first teams invited to the project team by ESRT ownership, Beneville Studios has contributed to the vision of the new experience from its inception.

80th floor exhibits include:

  • Stephen Wiltshire’s Drawing: In 2017, famed British artist Stephen Wiltshire took a 45-minute helicopter ride above Manhattan. He then drew an incredibly detailed landscape drawing of New York City, while in residence on the 80th floor of the Empire State Building, completely from memory. A three-minute film documents his process, from the 45-minute helicopter ride to the four days in which he created the original piece of art;
  • Scenes of NYC: Through Empire State Building’s classic viewfinders, visitors can check out panoramic views of nine different famed New York locations from the 80th floor. From Times Square to Coney Island, visitors get an up-close look (and even a glance inside) at places they can spot from the building’s 86th and 102nd floor observation decks;
  • Showtime Pictures: Excited to see the photos taken in front of the green screen on the 2nd floor? The pictures are captured from 25 different angles utilizing 25 different HD cameras to create an immersive experience to tell a visual narrative. The new location for pick up has been redesigned with facial recognition technology, to speed the retrieval and purchase process through self-serviced kiosks;
  • Artistry in Light: Ever wonder how the Empire State Building’s music-to-light shows are created? The Artistry in Light exhibit features a short film narrated by world-renowned lighting designer Marc Brickman, a master of light creation. The film features highlights from his designs, such as the first- ever music-to-light show with Alicia Keys in 2012, and a holiday light show synced to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You.”

Led by Michael Beneville, Founder and CEO, Beneville Studios held a wide creative mandate: initially to distill and define ESRT’s vision and to conceive of high-level concepts that first animated this ambitious project, and then to help assemble and work alongside the world-class team that brought those visions to reality.

“It is fitting that the 80th floor is the final phase to open and the culmination of the Empire State Building Observatory renovation, because this is the point where the overall guest experience connects,” says Camille Purdy, President and Co-founder of Beneville Studios. “On the 80th floor, guests move from the grand entryway and on to the show-stopping views, and have a sense of truly standing at ‘The Heart of New York.’

The role of the 80th floor is to orient guests to what can be seen from this unparalleled vantage point, offer guests a glimpse of the spectacular views that the Empire State Building tenants enjoy daily, as well as provide information on the up-close experience they will soon have with the iconic Tower Lights and the Artistry in Light of Marc Brickman.”

Through the process and in partnership with the larger project team, Beneville Studios helped to craft the narrative of the visitor’s journey, ensuring that the physical, visual, and experiential perceptions of the project always inspire and engage visitors. Source by Empire State Realty Trust, Inc. and photos Courtesy of Kubany Judlowe.

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