This three level repositioning tells a rich story of the former owner of the land, Benjamin Bussey and the past mercantile history of the Downtown Crossing neighborhood, Kennedy’s Department store. The design team did exhaustive research to unearth incredible details about the life and business dealings of a hardworking patriot who once lived on this parcel. Early on the designers noticed a sign in the atrium that said Bussey Place. The atrium was an enclosed alley that was named after the man who donated the land to Harvard University. The building that the university built still stands and was incorporated into the office tower in the early 80s. The brick facade of the former department store was also preserved in what was one of Boston’s first examples of facadectomy. It is very common now to leave the shell of a former building at the pedestrian level and grow a high-rise tower out of it. The public benefit of this is the character, scale and architectural detail that can still be enjoyed at the street level. Local groups protesting the 101 Arch tower tried, but failed to landmark the buildings slated for demolition. The developer was not required to salvage the facades, but did so out of respect for the community’s efforts. This technique has been replicated and required at many other sites across the city.
It this interior renovation we wanted to continue to celebrate the lives and journeys of people who had come before us in what was once a Palace of Merchants. There is a custom graphic wall covering depicting an artful collage of historic photos of Macy’s day parades and the energy of the shopping district throughout time. The team curated a collection of buttons, pulls and knobs of various sizes and materials to represent the residential use of the site even before it was a shopping district. Summer street was deemed the handsomest street in Boston in the 1830s when it was a tree lined boulevard with large stately homes. The leather wrapped columns in the lobby and stitch pattern lighting in the conference room pay homage to the menswear legacy of Kennedy’s. The installation of solid brass rods at the reception desk and suspended in compliment to the existing chandeliers in the lobby are representative of the metalworking craft of Benjamin Bussey.
Client: Clarion Partners
Lighting Design: HDLC
Area Rugs: Bolon, Shaw, Landri & Acari
Graphics: Studio Fresh
Leather Details: Architectural Leatherworks