Thinc Design reveal new observatory for the Empire State Building

From start to finish, we made the whole thing experiential
– Tom Hennes

The observation deck on the top floor of the Empire State Building has reopened this week after the third of a US$165m (€148, £128) four-phase redevelopment of the experience at the iconic New York City landmark.

The observatory redevelopment was carried out by design consultants Beneville Studios, project managers JLL, elevator company Otis, contractors Skanska and Thinc Design, who designed the wider observatory experience exhibition. Squint/Opera were responsible for the attraction's digital media elements.

Tom Hennes, principal at Thinc Design, was handed the task of modernising the building's visitor experience exhibits.

"From start to finish, we made the whole thing experiential", said Hennes. "The aim was to create memorable moments that visitors could hang onto, really treasure and really associate with the Empire State Building. It clearly had to involve its construction and its place in popular culture, but we wanted to look at life inside as well."

The first-phase relocation of the visitor entrance was completed in August 2018. The second-phase addition of a second floor element of the observatory experience opened at in July 2018. The final phase will involve the addition of another observation deck on the 80th floor.

The renovation has seen the space on the 102nd floor enclosed with 24 floor-to-ceiling windows each 8ft (2.4m)-tall. The climate-controlled, all-weather space provides views across New York from 1,250ft (381m).

Visitors to the attraction now access it via a glass elevator from 86th floor. The journey up the final 16 stories in a newly-renovated glass shaft provides a look at the inside of the tower's mast and its lights.

Empire State Building  Tom Hennes  Thinc Design  New York 
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The observation deck on the top floor of the Empire State Building has reopened this week after the third of a US$165m (€148, £128) four-phase redevelopment of the experience at the iconic New York City landmark. The observatory redevelopment was carried out by design consultants Beneville Studios, project managers JLL, elevator company Otis, contractors Skanska and Thinc Design, who designed the wider observatory experience exhibition. Squint/Opera were responsible for the
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