This past weekend, we were invited to attend The Architectural League’s Beaux Arts Ball 2012: Tender at One Hanson Place. Despite the unforgiving weather forecast, hundreds came to share in an evening of great company set within the beautiful 1929 Halsey, McCormack & Helmer’s landmark Williamsburgh Savings Bank. In typical architectural fashion, the former main banking hall was a complete sea of chic black outfits (okay, okay, there were a few dashes of color), underneath a silver pillow-like floating installation designed by SOFTlab.
More after the break.
Prior to being converted into an event space, the bank was a staple in Brooklyn’s financial world and stood as the tallest building in the borough (it has recently been surpassed by GKV Architect’s Brooklyner). The building plays host to amazing metal work by American sculptor, Rene Chambellan, embellished with basreliefs telling the tales of a late night burglar, and scattered mythological figurines, such as the head of Mercury, god of commerce. Detailed mosaic work makes the 60+ ft vaulted ceilings sparkle with a variety of turquoise and vibrant ultramarine tiles sharing the Zodiac constellations set against a star-filled sky.
The atmosphere created by SOFTlab, plus the graphic work of Natasha Jen from Pentagram, the acoustical work of David Rife from Arup, and music by Justin Carter, crafted an environment where the beauty of the historic and the finishing touches of the contemporary could both be enjoyed.
We loved the small details of the planing, such as the operable teller windows which served as extensions of the bar and the bank lamps which proved a warm yellow glow. A sure crowd pleaser was the opportunity to check out the bank’s massive vault after selecting a time marked ticket which dangled from the netting overhead.
The evening served as testament to just how connected the architecture world is within New York; for, no matter how crowded the hall became, a familiar face was quick to spot and new acquaintances were easily made, all while enjoying the modern ambiance created by the designers.
Special thanks to The Architectural League for letting us share in this event! We had a great time, and are looking forward to next year’s.
Let us know, in the comments below, if you were able to attend the event and what you thought of the installation.