Check Out the Newest Public Gathering Space in the Seaport
111 Harbor Way is also home to Amazon's latest Boston office and will debut a number of retail establishments later this year.
Offices for a tech giant, a promenade where you can see a drag queen story hour, and colorful art installations by international artists: These things don’t seem like they’d all be found in one place, but they’ve all come together in 111 Harbor Way, the newest addition to the rapidly growing Seaport.
WS Development, the giant behind much of the new construction in the waterfront neighborhood, announced the official opening of 111 Harbor Way on June 3, marked by the launch of Amazon’s new offices there. But the offices are just one component of the building, which will also have retail storefronts, a public gathering space, and permanent art installations, adding a splash of color to the glass and chrome facades you often see in new developments.
In a press release, Ariel Foxman, general manager of the Boston Seaport division at WS, says the group has a long history of bringing “fresh and distinct public art to the neighborhood” and is looking forward to welcoming these new artists and their work.
So what’ll you see if you head over? To start, The Passage, a multi-colored geometric installation, greets visitors entering the building. This work, by Germany-based artist 1010, taps into his work painting walls, making papercuts, and creating abstract “holes on the wall.” The feature adds an air of the fantastic to the space, with multi-colored layers of a paper like material forming what looks like a portal leading down inside the building. A second “hole” can be found at the building’s other entrance at 55 Pier Four. Once inside, PARADE, by Berlin-based artist Tomislav Topic, adds a further splash of color and surreality, with colored mesh fabric overlapping over grid structures by the area’s gallery steps. Look up, or else you might miss this splash of 120 colors, meant to represent diversity.
Developers also included art by a local creators, which can be found near the building’s 111 Autumn Lane entrance, where passersby can enjoy the abstract work of Portland, Maine based artist, Ryan Adams. Adams created his piece, an abstract design of letters and shapes, which spans two garage doors, specifically for the Seaport. Look closely and you can spy the title of the piece (I Love You, All of You) in the large-scale lettering done in Adams’ signature style.
The building itself was designed by architectural firm Gensler, with a goal of “creating a building that has a timeless aesthetic,” while also respecting the Seaport’s industrial past, per a press release from WS Development. The new 525,000 square-foot mixed use structure has a glass paneled façade with certain floors jutting out to create a layered visual effect.
Visitors keen to see this work (or maybe just the changes to the neighborhood) can already visit the public space component on the building’s first two levels. This includes The Paseo, a street-level interior public promenade with an amphitheater. That portion is open already and hosting events like Drag Queen Story Hour, happening every other Sunday from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. through Aug. 21. Amazon also already welcomed 2,000 employees into a new 430,000 square-foot office space that makes up the upper levels of the building.
But that’s not all this building will offer: WS Development said a retail component on the first two floors will come later this summer. So far, representatives for the developer confirmed the opening of Blue Bottle coffee roasters and Bond Vet this summer, with LimeRed Teahouse and a Tonal fitness showroom coming later this year. (So you can come here for your coffee, bubble tea, and cat checkup needs.)
The structure is the latest link in Seaport’s Harbor Way, a third of a mile long pedestrian promenade project, helmed by WS Development, landscape architect James Corner Field Operations, and Pentagram Design Consultancy. 111 Harbor Way is one of the many buildings that’ll line this pathway, which connects Summer Street to the waterfront and promises to offer gathering space, public art, and gorgeous landscaping for Seaport visitors. The whole project was crafted with the traditional harborside boardwalk and New England’s natural elements in mind. This goal is evident in the natural stone stacks placed here—a nod to the area’s geology—and in the plantings there, which include The Singing Trees, an audio installation exhibit which taps into the sounds made by the greenery on the pathway. The project is scheduled to be completed by 2024.