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Dot Dot Dot - The Architectural League Beaux Arts Ball 
New York NY


Many New Yorkers know the Beaux Arts Ball from the 1931 photograph of the event in which dozens of architects came dressed as their buildings. Notables were William Van Alen as the Chrysler Building, Ely Jacques Kahn as the Squibb Building, and William Lamb as the Empire State Building.  Currently, the Beaux Arts Ball is the annual costume ball fundraiser for the Architectural League of New York.  In 2006 the League asked Freecell to design the environment for the ball with the theme of Dot Dot Dot.  

Since the transformation would span only one evening, our desire was to find a system which provided stunning visual impact with minimal resources.  The space, a 10,000 square foot warehouse on 126th Street, was vast and daunting, so the intervention had to have a potent effect.

The raw space needed to satisfy the spatial requirements of the formal ball, including a dance floor, multiple bars, casual lounges, table sitting area, coat check, and pathways to connect them all.

For the 3000 square feet of programed space, the floor was resurfaced to be smooth and gray with a neon orange stripe defining the edge.  Inspired by the city’s gridiron and building’s columnar structure which gave measure and scale to space, we chose to use a grid.  

For the remaining 7000 square feet, a 12 inch by 12 inch grid was established out of heavy cord, which ran just under the plane of the ceiling.  A 14 foot string ran from the ceiling to the floor, and  a single neon orange bead was tied at eye level.  Tethered to the 40 columns of the space were vertical fluorescent lights with UV emitting black-light bulbs, causing all the beads to glow.