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NBBJ Acquires ESI Design

San Francisco

SEATTLE, Feb. 6, 2020 — NBBJ, the global architecture and design firm, today announced that it has acquired experience design studio ESI Design. The acquisition signals a new era where buildings will be transformed into immersive and interactive digital experiences that engage and delight. 

By joining forces, NBBJ and ESI Design’s multidisciplinary team will be able to integrate digital experiences early in the design process, providing clients with more impactful and streamlined services. Sweeping advancements in technology, from miniaturization to contemporary light projection technology, will make it possible for NBBJ and ESI Design to bring the type of immersive experiences that are increasingly desired as digital centerpieces in museums, stadiums, and transportation hubs to a wider range of industries, including healthcare, education, civic, commercial real estate, and science.

The two firms – which have previously collaborated on commercial real estate and corporate workplace projects in Boston and New York City – will now provide unified solutions as one of the largest and most robust experience design platforms in the country.

“By integrating the design of architecture and dynamic digital experiences, we will create boundless opportunities to energize the places we live, work, and play to stimulate our senses and inspire discovery, learning, and impact,” said Steve McConnell, FAIA, Managing Partner of NBBJ. “The acquisition of ESI Design brings this vision to life and increases NBBJ’s ability to serve our clients as they activate their brands, create community, inspire wellbeing, and thrive.

“Named among the most innovative architecture firms in the world by Fast Company three times in the past five years, NBBJ is one of the largest architecture and design firms in the world, with clients that include Amazon, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Massachusetts General Hospital, Microsoft, and the University of Oxford. ESI Design has most recently received critical acclaim for its design of the immersive visitor experience at the Statue of Liberty Museum, which opened in May 2019. Other clients include Barclays, eBay, The Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration, PNC Bank, and WarnerMedia.

“We are at an exciting moment in time where the diverse skillsets of digital designers, media architecture technologists, gaming engineers and storytellers will partner with architects to create buildings as places that are lively, engaging and evolving,” said Edwin Schlossberg, the founder and principal designer of ESI Design. “NBBJ and ESI Design share a vision that well-designed spaces can bring ideas and brands to life in ways that inform, inspire, and delight. Through our partnership we will push the boundaries of what a building can be and help our clients bring people closer together through shared experiences – by seeking to design in ways that enable the environment to learn from its users so that it, and them get better with use.”

Under the agreement, ESI Design becomes NBBJ’s 18th studio. As part of the acquisition, Schlossberg becomes a partner at NBBJ and will lead the ESI Design studio at NBBJ. Six ESI Design leaders will become principals at NBBJ: Alexandra Alfaro, Angela Greene, Cara Buckley, Emily Webster, Layne Braunstein, and Susan Okon. NBBJ will retain two office locations in New York City: The NBBJ New York office at 140 Broadway and ESI Design, an NBBJ studio at 111 Fifth Avenue. This will create a presence of 160 NBBJ employees in New York City, bringing the firm’s total employees to more than 800 worldwide.  

About NBBJ
NBBJ creates innovative places and experiences for organizations worldwide and designs environments, communities and buildings that enhance people’s lives. Founded in 1943, NBBJ is an industry leader in designing corporate office, healthcare, commercial real estate, civic, science, education and sports projects. The firm has won numerous awards and has been named among the most innovative architecture firms by Fast Company three times in the past five years. Clients include Alibaba, Amazon, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, BlackRock, Cleveland Clinic, GlaxoSmithKline, Massachusetts General Hospital, Microsoft, Samsung, Stanford University, Starbucks, Tencent, the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford.

About ESI Design, an NBBJ Studio
Acquired by architecture and design firm NBBJ in 2020, ESI Design transforms places into dynamic experiences that engage audiences, solve complex challenges, and deliver lasting results. From its roots reinventing the Brooklyn Children’s Museum into one of the country’s first interactive museums, ESI Design has defined the field of experience design for over forty years, fundamentally changing how people connect with brands, organizations, cultural institutions, and each other. ESI Design’s in-house team of designers, strategists, storytellers, technologists, artists, and problem-solvers collaborate to seamlessly weave the physical and digital world together to create immersive experiences with enduring impact. Recent clients include eBay, the Statue of Liberty Museum, WarnerMedia, The Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration, Barclays, Comcast, PNC Bank, Beacon Capital Partners, and the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate.