Situated in the heart of Manhattan, historically, commercially, and culturally, Macy’s Herald Square building is an icon. A public space for locals and visitors alike, Macy’s and the Empire State Building are the most visited buildings in New York City. As architects for the first full renovation in 109 years, our goal was to pull back the accretions of a century, reveal each layer of the building’s history, and create the building’s first true contemporary layer of design for the 21st century.
Our design transformed every aspect of the building. We re-opened windows, doors, and a triumphal entrance closed for a half century, tore out crushingly low ceilings hiding decades of mechanical interventions, removed the arteriosclerosis of decades of renovations to restore the geometry of the great retail hall, and created a luxurious restaurant in a former stock room overlooking the skyline.
Contrasting authentic history with contemporary design, we developed a palette of textured white marble, white plaster columns and ceilings accented with stainless steel, and contrasted tiger grained oak with brass pins inspired by the renowned original escalators. The design reveals layers of the building’s authentic expressions: 1900’s Beaux Arts classicism, 1930’s NYC Moderne, and now, a twenty-first century contemporary design open to the surrounding urban landscape.
State of the art fabrication reinforces contemporary design. In the Stella 34 Restaurant we created a completely sculptural computer milled bar woven from Carrera marble and stainless steel, fabricated directly from digital files and finished by Italian craftsmen. The Broadway entrance features a digital threshold connecting the historic architecture of the exterior with social media.
Our goal in transforming Macy’s Herald Square was to treat the building as an archetype of New York City itself: iconic architecture, world-class food, and rich amalgamations of authentic history.