II BY IV X 2 (March 16, 2010)
International award–winning Toronto firm II BY IV Design Associates was honoured with two awards from the A.R.E, Association of Retail Environments. The ARE Awards is the premier industry competition honouring innovation and excellence in design, originality in the use of space and materials, quality in executing the total concept, and in some cases, the highest value for the dollars.
On March 10 – at Global Shop 2010, held at Sands Expo & Convention Center, Las Vegas – A.R.E awarded II BY IV Design with two awards for their work at Yankee Stadium: 2010 Grand Prize Restaurant/Fine Dining – Yankee Stadium, NYY Steak; and 2010 Grand Prize Restaurant / Casual Dining – Yankee Stadium, Legends Suite Club.
When the New York Yankees selected II BY IV Design Associates to create the interiors of some 37,000 square feet of hospitality amenities for the much-anticipated New Yankee Stadium, the internationally acclaimed Toronto firm felt they had “made it to the bigs.”
Babe Ruth famously declared Yankee Stadium “some ball park” and for many, it has always been the ball park. The Yankees symbolize New York’s vast potential and unparalleled energy and their home, “America’s national temple of sport,” has an almost mystical place in the hearts and minds of fans worldwide. The New Yankee stadium features more modern amenities, better sight lines and greater fan and player comfort, but above all, it is a monument to the team’s glorious past and exciting future.
The II BY IV designers developed their principal themes in close collaboration with Yankees management, supporting the team’s branding objectives and building on the character of the new structure itself. Their design decisions focused on providing a unique sense of place, reflecting the dynamism of the game and creating an emotional bond with the patrons. Working with one of the most successful organizations in all of professional sports, their design goal was to reflect that proud heritage in a contemporary, sophisticated and luxurious context of distinctive design elements. Opened in April 2009, the Legends Suite Club, Legends Suite Dugout Lounges, NYY Steak dining room and Yankee Stadium Banquet and Conference Center demonstrate the Yankees’ unwavering commitment to quality in the accomplishment of those objectives.
Offering premium amenities to Legends Suite ticket holders, the Legends Suite Club is a 700-seat, exclusive bi-level casual dining club located behind home plate, which is also available for special event usage in the off season. The “blue cube’” vestibules, providing a dramatic entry experience, are constructed of custom-laminated glass panels tinted Yankee blue and bearing a pattern of repeated team logos. The designers used the interlocking “NY,” the most recognizable insignia in sports, in diverse graphic treatments here printed on glass, jet-cut in lacquer screens housing internally lit memorabilia vitrines, and both embossed and debossed in collage panels of burled walnut veneer and high gloss lacquer.
The signature Yankee blue is employed in diverse materials also: the acid-etched mirror on the bar’s back wall, the backlit textured resin panel on its front and the top’s exquisite marble, hand-selected in Italy. Up lit and down lit, split face Carrera marble mosaic clads the huge round columns.
II BY IV designed t
he custom carpet tile, which is combined with wood-look porcelain tile to introduce welcoming warmth. In addition, like the stainless steel hardware and details, the flooring and the leather upholstery on genuine Brno chairs provide the extreme durability and ease of maintenance the designers ensured throughout all the spaces, to stand up to high traffic volumes and the enthusiasm of some of the most passionate fans in sport.
The Legends Suite Dugout Lounges are private clubs located behind the Legends Suite seats along the first- and third-base lines. The polished concrete flooring and exposed galvanized steel decking of the seating above contribute to a “stadium insider” feeling. That decking, by precluding the use of recessing lighting, also impelled the design of a complex illumination scheme that adds to the remarkable feeling of intimacy. Wall sconces provide subtle up lighting while invisibly mounted bottle display shelves in white and blue are internally lit, as are the cylindrical high top cocktail tables. Below its silver grey resin top, the backlit bar front’s striped acrylic panel alludes to the most famous uniform design in sports history. Similarly, the swooping shape carved into the polished plaster feature wall behind the back bar makes a tongue-in-cheek subtle reference to a curve ball.
However, the most powerful contribution to the sense of connection with the Yankees arises from eye-to-eye views of several baseball legends. The luminous blue-painted entry corridor features a huge backlit installation of the famous 1937 image of power hitter Lou Gehrig checking out five baseball bats. Inside, photos of five more Yankee heroes back the drink rails: pitcher Red Ruffing; second baseman Joe Gordon; World Series record holding catcher Bill Dickey; power slugger Charlie Keller; and that heroic batsman, Joe DiMaggio, best known for his yet-unbroken 56-game hitting streak. The famous five are seen perched together in the American League dugout at the All-Star Game in Detroit, on July 8, 1941.
NYY Steak offers a refined dining experience just inside Gate 6, overlooking the Stadium’s Great Hall, and the warm, inviting ambiance supports the upscale blend of fine food, beverages and superior service. Patrons dine in the presence of the greats, surrounded by walls paneled with backlit acid-etched bronze mirrors with illuminated autographs of extraordinary contributors to the team’s history from the Hall of Famers to inspirational leaders, including George Steinbrenner.
Set off by flooring in limestone and two-toned oak, custom-designed, generously-scaled club style dining chairs in Yankee blue leather surround diamond book-matched Mozambique veneer table tops. That veneer also appears on nearby walls, horizontally slatted in feature locations, such as flanking the open kitchen.
Visible from the elevator lobby, a huge wall of finely detailed custom cabinetry backing the granite topped bar houses the temperature-controlled storage for the restaurant’s extensive wine selection. A lobby knife display is a reminder that NYY Steak regulars get their own custom-made, engraved Laguiole cutlery to use whenever they visit.
On the same level as the suites and reachable from NYY Steak, the Banquet & Conference Center enables corporate guests to conduct business while enjoying the baseball experience. In addition to a private conference room and business centre, the flexible space can be divided into two individual areas, each with their own access from a main corridor. The principal design elements are the walnut veneer walls panels, Yankee blue veneered doors, a retractable canvas-patterned glass wall, terrazzo flooring complete with a logo medallion, and a custom-tufted logoed carpet. The designers worked closely with the audio-visual consultants to accommodate sophisticated technology supports, including video conferencing, liquid crystal display projectors and wireless microphones, to meet the most demanding business requirements.
In addition to the great privilege and responsibility of working with the extraordinary Yankee leadership, the II BY IV Design team was excited and moved by the commitment of the many vendors and trades people on the project, all of whom were proud to contribute to a new piece of American history.