- Project Name
- 30 Rockefeller Plaza: 65th Floor, Rainbow Room, Bar SixtyFive
- Project Types
- Project Scope
- 14,060 sq. feet
- Year Completed
- Shared by
- Certifications & Designations
- LEED Silver
- Project Status
2017 AIA Institute Honor Award Winner in Interior Architecture
Iconic New York City landmarks don’t get much more iconic, or more New York, than the Rainbow Room, the beloved bar and event space on the 65th floor of 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Following its opening in 1934, it remained the highest-elevated restaurant in the United States for decades. Countless bar mitzvahs later, and after taking a wallop during the 2008 downturn, the Rainbow Room had fallen on hard times—but now it’s back, following a spectacular new renovation by local firm Gabellini Sheppard Associates, working with Montroy Andersen DeMarco.
The de facto caretakers of Rockefeller Center, Gabellini Sheppard has been responsible for restoring the complex’s Fifth Avenue retail façades, as well as designing the Top of the Rock viewing platform. Under their sensitive stewardship, the landmarked portions of the Rainbow Room’s 13,500-square-foot interior have regained their erstwhile luster: The famed rotating floor has entirely new mechanicals, the dome above has been refinished in silver leaf, and the giant chandelier dangling from its center has been fully spruced and had its broken crystals replaced.
SixtyFive, the bar that occupies a third of the space at the west end of the building and does not have landmark status, has been given a fresh look consistent with the Deco atmosphere. New window treatments, wall hangings, and custom furniture throughout sensitively blend with the older ambience. Even the project’s new LEED rating seems appropriate: Silver.
Project: 65th Floor, Rainbow Room, Bar SixtyFive, New York
Client: Tishman Speyer Properties
Design Architect: Gabellini Sheppard Associates
Architect of Record: Montroy Andersen DeMarco
M/E/P Engineer: Edwards & Zuck Engineers
Construction Manager/General Contractor: Turner Construction
Lighting Designer: Tillotson Design Associates
Landmarks Consultant: Higgins Quasebarth & Partners
Acoustics: Longman Lindsey
AV Consultant: CMS AV Solutions
Purchasing Co.: Evenson Best
Size: 14,060 square feet
To see the rest of ARCHITECT's coverage of the 2017 AIA Institute Honor Awards, click here.
FROM THE ARCHITECTS:
The renovation of the 10,360-square-foot landmark interior blends contemporary needs while celebrating the embedded memory of the legendary Rainbow Room on the 65th floor of the Rockefeller Plaza. The vision was to rejuvenate the once preeminent event space into a convertible venue suitable for hosting high caliber banquet and restaurant functions. Extensive archival research distinguished the design restoration and reimagination from the outset. This project is particularly unique in that it is a project of both landmark preservation and ecological stewardship, achieving silver LEED status.
A fundamental element to those who had experienced the original Rainbow Room was the iconic rotating dance floor in the epicenter of the room. For this memory to endure with future generations, the floor was restructured to include new framing, acoustics and rotation motor underneath the new wood floor. Directly above the reengineered dance floor is the iconic dome ceiling, which was restored and finished in a silver leaf. Additional lights were added within the cavity of the dome to further accentuate the sparkle of the chandelier and illumination of the dance floor. The chandelier in the center dome, sconces and glass globe posts were restored to their original glory by replacing damaged crystals.
Custom furnishings were introduced along with a refined material palette of hand-rubbed antique bronze, hardwoods, and pewter satin mirrors which together produce a stream-lined elegance. Crystal window veils were installed at each window opening, providing a rainbow prism effect throughout the day and a shimmering sparkle in the evening. As the crystals create a rainbow prism effect from the sun’s illumination through the window, a solar shade and layer of Mylar film serve to eliminate the prism effect if need be, giving the room alternate mood options and flexibility. Mirrors in a smoky grey finish were selected to complement and augment the space and its views of the New York City skyline. Hidden from sight but equally important, updated systems and contemporary technologies were sensitively integrated throughout the room. New lighting, air-conditioning, and audio-visual equipment were discreetly constructed into the piers and across the ceiling.