Our Work

An Art Deco building

for the 21st century

ESI Design led a renovation of this iconic Art Deco skyscraper, celebrating its legacy while bringing it into the future.

Renovations include improved lighting, increased street presence, and a media program.

Despite 160 Federal’s historical and artistic significance, the building had become dwarfed in the Boston skyline, and a lack of clear identification muted its street presence. Inappropriate lighting obscured beautiful Art Deco details and marred the aesthetics inside and outside the building.

ESI Design tackled these problems by reconnecting with the building’s heritage. 160 Federal, which opened in 1930 as the headquarters of the United Shoe Machinery Corporation, is Boston’s first skyscraper and one of the city’s best examples of Art Deco architecture.

The design team placed highly visible identification signs on the exterior of the building to complement and draw attention to the Art Deco styling of the entries, and installed brighter illumination on the exterior to improve the streetscape during evening hours. Bronze footprints embedded in the sidewalk near the entryways herald the building’s unique history.

Inside, a new circular reception desk complements the lobby layout and Art Deco style; custom-designed rugs accentuate the symmetry and beauty of the reception area; new lighting illuminates architectural details, and regilding amplifies the grandeur of the Art Deco details.

A new, dynamic media program showcases the history of the building and highlights up-to-the minute information of interest to tenants, such as weather, transit delays, upcoming local events, this day in history, and a poem of the day. A tablet-based tenant directory can easily be updated by building management.

The result is a restored Art Deco building befitting the 21st century.

Experience Design



Data Visualization








Staff Training






"Beacon’s renovations revitalized this historic Art Deco building from 1930, which features extensive original details such as a marble lobby, cast bronze elevator doors, and period chandeliers."

Beacon Capital Partners

Iconic 1930 building

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