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Plaza Hotel Scaffolding Wrap

The Plaza Hotel at First Glance

by Rachel Tompkins  

It was an early Friday afternoon as I descended the four flights of stairs from my New York apartment. My dog’s nails clicked on the steps behind me, creating a familiar soundtrack in the hollow hallway. On the last flight, while scrolling through emails on my phone, a particular subject line stood out, “Manhattan Building Wrap”.

The email was from my new employer, Britten, and spoke about an exciting new project at the Plaza Hotel—specifically, a building wrap larger than a football field and unlike anything I’d heard of. “Go see the Plaza,” the email urged. “Go take a look!”

It just so happened that the Plaza Hotel was a few blocks from my apartment. I took a scenic route through Central Park with my dogs trailing behind me and imagined what the building wrap might look like. Having a background in advertising, I’ve seen my fair share of outdoor boards and building wraps. Could this really be that different?

When I emerged from Central Park South, past a single file line of horses and buggies, there it stood: The Plaza Hotel.

It truly was unlike anything I’d ever seen. I stared up at the grandeur, studying the lines that made up windows, ledges, and ornate carvings— looking for the seams that didn’t seem to exist no matter how hard I squinted. From the email, I knew the building was covered in scaffolding, but to the naked eye, it appeared as new as the day it was built.

Now I understood. The ‘building wrap’ was so much more than a wrap, decal, or large-format outdoor board. It was Architectural Mesh, (I later learned), and it deserved a category all of its own. It printed in a way that exactly matched the perspective and architectural detail of the building.

So I did what anyone else would do—I Instagrammed it—and as I held up my phone, people curiously stopped and watched. They looked at me, looking at the Plaza. Pretty soon, they were all looking at the Plaza too.