14-08-2018

View Masters Part 1 — Growth and Trends in Observation Deck Design

SL Green Realty Corp.

A rendering of One Vanderbilt, where we’re designing an observation deck experience.

“There are so many towers that have observation decks now, moving forward there is much more initial homework in defining what audience you really want to come to this space.”

James Pappadopoulos

Senior Director, Strategy & Development

GSM Project

A video experience at the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

“It follows the logic of urban design where decades ago developers were forced to integrate public space, such as plazas, into their buildings within the fabric of the city and make them freely accessible to citizens. It’s the same logic, but on the tops of buildings now.”

Yves Mayrand

President, Chief Creative Officer, Partner

GSM Project

The Observatoire Place Ville Marie

“We always emphasize to our clients that opening an observation deck is starting a business. It’s not just a design, or an experience, or an interior design job. You need to understand everything from the market, to the demand, the price point, the duration of the visit, the quality of view, and the height of the building, to name a few.”

Yves Mayrand

President, Chief Creative Officer, Partner

GSM Project

Views from the Observatoire Place Ville Marie, formerly a nightclub.

“An observation deck is really about how much money you make per elevator ride — there is a fixed number of people you can move. If people spend too much time on the deck, it will hurt revenues. The mathematics and logistics of elevator and floor capacity vs. visit duration are key.”

Yves Mayrand

President, Chief Creative Officer, Partner

GSM Project

A multimedia experience in the Burj Khalifa elevator.

“There is more competition amongst observation towers, but the leverage for attraction isn’t changing. You have your height, your view, and location. Aside from that the only other lever for differentiation is experience.”

James Pappadopoulos

Senior Director, Strategy & Development

GSM Project

Engaging media make lasting impressions in the entrance of the Burj Khalifa.

"The show is the view. If you lose sight of this, (pun intended) you’re going to waste money.”

Yves Mayrand

President, Chief Creative Officer, Partner

“One has to be mindful of the integration of operational realities, otherwise they will take over the design.”

Yves Mayrand

President, Chief Creative Officer, Partner

“Technology is more about facilitating the flexibility of the business as opposed to just enhancing the visitor experience alone. It supports the experience.”

James Pappadopoulos

Senior Director, Strategy & Development

GSM Project

The Tell:Scope™ in action in the Burj Khalifa tower.

GSM Project

“AR offers the potential to completely change a visitor’s experience depending on the season, date, and time of day.”

James Pappadopoulos

Senior Director, Strategy & Development

GSM Project

The new lobby at Burj Khalifa featuring 4K interactive projection mapping.

“The fact that it’s becoming more competitive means that developers, owners, and operators are going to have to face the reality of innovating — creating attractions in their own right that don’t solely rely on a view, but that can stand on their own as attractions that people want to visit.”

James Pappadopoulos

Senior Director, Strategy & Development