The 12-story 240,000 SF Bethesda Place Office Building located in central Bethesda, Maryland, was designed as a Class A office building and completed in 1991. After nearly 30 successful years as a cornerstone for the urban fabric of the Bethesda downtown district, with many newer buildings having been constructed in the interim, Bethesda Place needed a complete redo of its main lobby and street façade to attract new tenants and keep existing ones as tenant leases rolled over.
The 3-story tall, large main lobby is buried within the building interior with only small one-story glass openings to the exterior at two of its corners. With dark granite floors and cherry wood panels and column covers, the space was not only cavernous but cold and dark and empty, with poor lighting from hanging chandeliers that did not have enough throw to adequately light the expensive granite flooring.
The bones of the space were kept, but completely reimagined as a warm but bright and welcoming and more casual and intimate space for gathering and impromptu conversations, with white and off-white mix of fabric wrapped panels and soft looking grey large-format porcelain flooring, accented with a lighter-color maple finish wood panels to replace the old dark cherry. The lobby was divided into three subtly defined zones, with comfortable lounge furniture added in the flanks to invite people to use as short-term working spaces while keeping a lobby-like public presence. Hanging light boxes were installed low and at various heights over seating areas to reduce the sense of being in an uncomfortably large, tall space. Modern LED strip lights and carefully aimed flood and spotlights effectively lights the entire space without any dark spots or corners. A large mosaic art wall was preserved and enhanced with new wood panels to frame the mosaic as a mural, and edge-lit with grazing strip lights to animate the primal landscape scene.