Making a Good Facility Even Better

Sept. 25, 2006
Citation of Excellence in Buildings Interiors Design Awards 2006: The State Room, Boston, MA, submitted by Margulies & Associates

Featuring a metropolitan style with an understated, classy air and architecture, The State Room in Boston houses the Harborside Salons, which recently underwent a lobby and ballroom upgrade to ensure its status as the leading special-events venue in the Boston area. Formerly the Bay Tower Room, the site is famed for the amazing views it offers from inside, with vantage points stretching almost 30 miles along the coastline.

The view from 33 stories high lends an air of authority, a sense of exhilaration, and a breath of cosmopolitan romance to the events taking place within The State Room. Since the venue is known for its incredible window scenes, it was important for visitors to catch a glimpse of daylight from the elevator lobby (a factor that was taken into consideration during the renovation).

Hosting everything from charity auctions to sponsorship dinners to corporate conferences, The State Room’s Harborside Salons was designed with an atmosphere that would cater to any event was vital. At floor level, the design of the room serves as a blank slate for planning, styling, and tailoring each unique event to clients’ desires. Being meticulous in selecting materials and finishes that went beyond the ordinary, the coatroom highlights a glass counter with a textured metallic fabric center, and glass tiles follow the shape of the oval ceiling above. Retractable metal partitions encircle the lobby and provide the option of subdividing the room as necessary to accommodate a variety of party sizes. The coat check and bar counters are back-lit onyx; when the coat-check service is closed, a panel provides a backdrop niche for fresh flowers.

At ceiling level, however, drama reigns supreme. In the lobby area, concentric elliptical ceiling sections are surrounded by tiny star-like glass lights which flank an Italian chandelier of hand-blown crystal and gold ribbon. Gold and bronze silk drapes escape their conventional purpose by covering the perimeter columns instead of the windows. The columns are capped with crown molding and topped with hidden lights.

No matter what’s happening within the space, lighting plays a key role in setting the mood for an event. Incandescent lamps are usually preferred in hospitality environments, but to meet local energy codes, fluorescent lamps were used. The resourceful solution to achieving the ambience of an incandescent lamp while realizing energy-efficiency requirements: Each fluorescent fixture above the translucent ceiling has two fluorescent tubes with electronic ballasts that are switched separately. Wrapped in colored sleeves, one side casts a warm, incandescent light and the other casts a “sunset” glow. All lighting is tied to a sophisticated lighting-control system with eight pre-set scenes to support everything from business meetings to intimate weddings. Lighting radiates through a semi-translucent ceiling that gives the appearance of rolling waves, allowing for a soft glow throughout the entire space (only the second application of its kind in Boston).

The creative interior-design solutions featured in The State Room’s Harborside Salons have solidified its position as the leading special-events venue in Boston; from top to bottom, the facility was able to maintain its remarkable views and offer clients an updated, chic, and powerful décor.

JUDGES’ COMMENTS: “Excellent work! We are most impressed with the ceiling design, and the treatment of columns and draperies unveils the fantastic views of the city. Though parts of the spaces have a trendy feel, The State Room still maintains a sophistication that will not fade easily.”

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