The Boston Public Library recently completed a major renovation of its Central Library in Copley Square. The goals of the renovation were to revitalize program spaces, improve user services, create an inviting first impression, and strengthen the library’s connection to the City of Boston and the adjacent McKim Building. In addition to our work on the comprehensive wayfinding program, we were asked to enhance the interior architecture and provide the finishing touches to the warm and vibrant environment designed by William Rawn Architects.

A primary goal was to bring more of the library’s vast collection of art and prints into the space for the public’s enjoyment. After reviewing BPL materials and assets, we developed placement concepts which included the use of historical photographs for sign panels in New & Novel, and the display of a series of vintage travel posters in the Community Learning Center. The Lumio book light was the perfect addition to the window seats along Boylston Street.

In Fiction, custom endcaps and bases were developed to display a collection of busts and sculptures, “globe” signs were designed to complement pendant lighting, and a large scale graphic was created for the Boston Literary Cultural District. Additionally, we recommended a griffin, which is traditionally used to guard treasure and priceless possessions, be placed to overlook the BPL’s world class Fiction section. The griffin was originally located on the exterior of the McKim Building before it was replaced with a replica.

Additional decor elements included graphics for World Languages, a threshold marking the connection between the Johnson and McKim buildings, and a book mosaic in the renovated Johnson Lobby.

Project Details


Boston, MA


Boston Public Library



Photos by Robert Benson

Architectural Plans / Process