Project Details

The Empire State Building Observatory is our biggest project to date. The ambitious, three-phase redesign transformed the building’s queueing experience into a carefully choreographed journey, seamlessly linking our digital elements with the building’s expansive history and current relevance in pop culture.


Empire State Realty Trust, Thinc Design


New York City, USA


Museums & Attractions


Thinc Design, Antfood

The Brief

‘Create an experience throughout the building as engaging and exciting as the views from on top.’

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Our Response

As a core contributor within the best-in-class team including exhibition designers Thinc Design and creative audio studio Antfood, we created digital elements for over 40 unique exhibits within the permanent exhibition. To cater to the diverse backgrounds of the roughly four million visitors welcomed each year, we ensured that all the content and messaging was carefully translated into nine languages.

Empire State Building

The Construction Gallery, inspired by the photography of Lewis Hine, displays a historically accurate life-size video piece that surrounds the visitor on four walls and into the ceiling. The looped film features 30 different actors, where hot rivets and steel beams fly overhead as the construction of the building is in full swing. Set to an original score recorded with a 50 piece orchestra commissioned by the Empire State Building, the World’s Most Famous Building exhibit celebrates the building’s starring role in pop culture from every decade since the 1930s.

“Our visitors from around the world are thrilled by the quality of Squint/Opera’s work, it’s natural flow, and its accessibility. Personally, I was impressed with the combination of their enthusiasm and excitement for the project, as well as their ability to deliver excellent work within timeframe and budget.”

Anthony E. Malkin

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Empire State Realty Trust

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The Kong exhibit welcomes guests into a 1930s-era office inside of the Empire State Building, where a life-size King Kong clings to the side of the structure, peering in at viewers and dodging bi-planes as he climbs. Guests can climb into his hand and feel the rumble as he roars, while lights flicker overhead. Designed for selfie moments, the exhibit meets a key client goal of social media shareability.

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Spanning over 35,000 square feet, the exhibits we worked on range from large-scale projection-mapped experience to single-user virtual viewers.

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