1221 Avenue of the Americas, part of Rockefeller Center's landmark complex, underwent a major transformation to enhance the building’s plazas, entrances, and expansive lobbies. The renovation is one component of a greater initiative to revive Sixth Avenue, reestablishing the area as an attractive and contemporary urban center. To achieve this, MdeAS lifted 1221 Avenue of the Americas up to its former glory by creating a space that is both perfectly suited to today’s corporate tenants and a valuable asset to the public.
The south lobby was reoriented to incorporate an entrance and security desk that face Sixth Avenue. The north lobby, meanwhile, was opened up to 49th Street by replacing the existing 150-foot stretch of exterior granite columns with floor-to-ceiling windows, flooding the space with natural light. A combination of Blue de Savoie marble, white laminated glass, and afromosia veneer walls provide spatial continuity and material coherence to the 18,300-square-foot ground-level.
An art vestibule connects the north lobby to the south lobby and showcases the work of artist Mark Bradford. The commissioned work, titled “Elgin Gardens”, consists of two, twenty-five-foot high, mixed-media installations that depict Manhattan’s grid, creating a vibrant focal point that encourages visitors to engage with the space, while providing a humanizing element to the expansive lobby. Two twenty-foot marble standing tables encourage tenants and guests to linger in and enjoy the space.
The design achieves its primary goal – to clarify the building’s entrances, enhance street connectivity and visibility, optimize the lobby circulation, and upgrade the material palette. The newly proportioned canopy and signage compliment the enlarged windows, establishing a strong street presence and highlighting the new material features. The reconfigured, sequential lobby improves the circulation flow and enhances security views. Finally, augmented, contemporary lighting highlights the new material clarity and meticulous attention to detail within this elegant, contemporary space.