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High Street Place, Boston | 52nd International Design Competition Winner

High Street Place

Category: Fast Food & Quick Service Restaurants

Submitted by: Gensler

Photography: Richard Cadan, Fairfield, CT

High Street Place is a vibrant culinary destination that brings together the best of local New England chefs and food vendors – including concepts from James Beard-nominated chefs and some of the areas foremost cocktail experts, brewmasters, coffee experts and more – in a fun and stylish environment. The project was made possible through the transformation of a previously underutilized atrium connecting two Class A office towers in Boston’s Financial District. By amalgamating together 18,000 square feet, this allowed the creation of multiple zones for eating, drinking and entertainment. Since opening in March 2022, it has become a popular spot for building tenants and visitors alike, infusing much-needed energy and vitality into the heart of Boston.

 (Photography by Richard Cadan, Fairfield, CT)

From the outset, the goal for High Street Place was to create an authentic experience rooted in the region’s vibrant culinary scene – high-quality foods from local chefs and purveyors that would showcase the best of Boston. As both the interior and architectural designers behind the project, our team was able to fluidly enhance the food hall’s visual concept through the physical transformation of the space. Taking cues from its original function as an urban thoroughfare, with the added inspiration of a Parisian street, the layout simulates an outdoor mercado but with all the comforts of being inside.

By design, High Street Place encourages exploration. With six entrances and numerous twists and turns, the experience is evocative of a lively Parisian Street inviting guests to meander from one offering to the next. Each seating zone was designed with a different feel such as ‘date night’, ‘morning coffee/breakfast’, ‘stand up and chat’, ‘quiet and intimate’, and finally the lively central zone anchored by the large gathering tables and video screen. Vendor stalls are throughout the space and the food locations curated to match up to the seating zones. Communal tables, cozy banquettes, bar-style perches and high tops, along with seasonal outdoor dining collectively provide seating for up to 400 people.

Art Deco details abound, such as brushed brass wall sconces, brass inlaid floor detailing, vendor stall signage and fixturing, wayfinding signs and exterior ‘hero’ signage, along with custom stone and marble work paying tribute to the building’s original design era.

A soaring green wall serves as a signature design element in the space. Over 90 feet long and 3 stories tall, it features a verdant mix of evergreen boxwood and preserved reindeer moss. The green wall is illuminated by nearly 4,000 twinkling lights for an effect reminiscent of a summertime firefly display. In warmer months, a retractable wall system enables an open-air dining and outdoor patio experience, featuring up to 84 seats.

Each of the 20 vendor stalls is outfitted with pristine white subway tiles that act as a blank canvas for vendors to personalize and showcase their concepts. Vendor stall signage locations were designated so each vendor was best visible as people peruse the food offerings. Throughout the space, custom art adorns the walls, including floor-to-ceiling murals inspired by Boston’s rich culinary scene. An oversized, state-of-the-art LED video entertainment wall measuring 28 by 11-feet enables multi-content viewing, making High Street Place the perfect destination for fans to catch sporting events on the big screen while enjoying their favorite food and drink.

Lighting provided support in creating the various zones of the hall. Catenary lighting spans the atrium enhancing the outdoor mercado feel. Ceiling linear lighting shows the direction of the circulation paths throughout. Once outside, combination lighting with both heat and sound allows the patio to be used in early spring and late fall. Additionally, multiple lighting scenes were created to change the feel throughout the day. From morning to daytime, to early evening, to late night, each scene supports the ambiance of the time of day.

Already, the food hall has quickly established itself as a popular destination for lunch-goers and tourists, and for meeting up with friends and colleagues. Evenings often feature a DJ or live music, drawing residents and those from outside the city into town and bringing vibrancy and activity to the neighborhood. On opening day, Boston’s newly elected Mayor Michelle Wu heralded the project as a catalyst to bring people back not only to the office, but to downtown Boston. Through a combination of great food, and robust programming and management, the once forgotten atrium has transformed into a unique destination that keeps people coming back.

Architect: Gensler

General Contractor: Gilbane

Outside Design Consultants:

LAM Partners – Lighting

LeMessurier Consultants – Structural Engineer

Cosentini Associates – Fire/Life Safety, MEP, Security, Telecommunications

Acentech Incorporated – Acoustical, Audio Visual

Younts Design, Inc. – Graphic Design

Groundswell Design Group, Inc. – Other


Lumenwerx – Lighting

Creative Materials – Tile

Fabrizio Architectural Millwork

Vermont Farm Table – Communal Tables

Hauser Furniture – Furniture Vendor


In addition to High Street Place, the Retail Design Institute would like to congratulate the Class of 2022, representing the best of the best in retail stores and experiences completed between January 1st and December 31st, 2022:

American Outpost


LOVE and Bergmeyer

2022 Store of the Year

Innovation Awards: Branding & Technology and Digital Integration

Sage & Sound

New York


El Palacio de Hierro Coyoacán


TPG Architecture

High Street Place



Miller & Lux

New York

MBH Architects

Innovation Award: Finishes & Materiality


San Marcos

Arcadis Inc.

Innovation Award: Wayfinding & Environmental Graphics

Bentonville Nature Near Pavilion

Virtual, Bentonville

NELSON Worldwide

Innovation Awards: Unbuilt Conceptual Design

Victoria's Secret Bombshell Gardens

New York

MG2/Lionesque Group

Central Park

North York

II BY IV Design



Dalziel & Pow Design Consultants

Innovation Award: Fixturing

Clyde & Grain



Innovation Award: Wayfinding & Environmental Graphics

Greenwich St. Jewelers

New York

MAOarch Architecture D.P.C.

Innovation Award: Customer Journey

Johnny Cupcakes



Innovation Awards: Visual Merchandising and Conceptual Design


New York

Heitler Houstoun Architects, PC

Innovation Award: Lighting


New York




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