Terrell Place, Washington, DC
How do you make walls move, talk and acknowledge people’s presence?
Terrell Place in downtown Washington, D.C., is an office and retail complex comprised of three connected components, including the former Hecht’s department store, resulting in a disjointed ground floor lobby. When Beacon Capital acquired the property, they tasked ESI Design with creating a more harmonious interior and a contemporary, exciting work destination.
ESI transformed the space by treating it as a single media canvas. We seamlessly integrated 1,700-square-feet of motion-activated LED displays into the architectural surfaces, creating an ever-evolving artwork that creates a sense of place and reacts to the presence of people.
The diffused LED displays in the lobbies and corridor are activated by passersby via an infrared camera system, creating beautiful scenes that ebb and flow with the morning rush and the afternoon lull. Three custom content modes—‘Seasons,’ ‘Color Play,’ and ‘Cityscape’—are programmed with varying durations and sequences, ensuring that visitors never see the same scene. ‘Seasons’ shows the lifecycle of the iconic Washington, D.C. cherry trees, from spring blossoms to snow-covered branches.
The building was named after civil rights activist Mary Church Terrell, who led a protest against segregation at Hecht’s lunch counter in the 1950s. As part of the lobby renovation, ESI redesigned the memorial plaque to Terrell in the building, with information and photos about the famous protest, and also created a digital, interactive tablet that allows visitors to learn more about Terrell’s impact on the Civil Rights Movement.
In the main corridor, the immersive environment is enhanced by ambient sounds emerging from invisible speakers in the walls and ceiling, including music that Terrell cited as having been impactful in her life.
In its first month after launch, Terrell Place became an Internet sensation – garnering an estimated 75+ million impressions and becoming a must-see destination for locals and tourists alike.