Transforming 179 Lincoln Street: The Reimagination of a Historic Space

Designed by Emily Bennett, the Leather Factory at 179 Lincoln Street exemplifies the art of reimagining a historic space. Learn how this project elegantly balances the past and future, breathing new life into an iconic building while catering to the evolving needs of the workplace.

Preserving History: Revealing the Original Beauty

Unearthing the layers of renovations

In the restoration of the Leather Factory at 179 Lincoln Street, preserving and reintroducing the original history was paramount. Years of renovations and cover-ups had concealed the building's true beauty. Through meticulous efforts and expert craftsmanship, the interior was transformed to reveal the original flooring: a rich tapestry of grey, saffron, and cream.

The removal of layers of vinyl tile and commercial carpet was laborious but obtainable for design firm Atelier Cho Thompson, in collaboration with EQ Office and Lam Partners. Creating a seamless flooring palette that honed back in on the building's distinct character invoked a deep sense of nostalgia and authenticity, bridging the past and present.

Bridging the Exterior and Interior: An Architectural Language

Channeling the ornate details of the facade

The Leather Factory's exterior facade is a remarkable testament to Beaux-Arts architecture. It features intricate depictions of the shoemaking process in its stunning light stone surface. Atelier Cho Thompson skillfully developed an architectural language that seamlessly brought the exterior's functional and ornamental elements into the heart of the interior.

The building's distinct arches inspire elements like the white oak counter front in the reception area and brass handrails that mimic the original mail chute. These thoughtful design choices establish a harmonious connection with the facade, bonding the grand past with the contemporary function.

Inviting Atmosphere: Immersive Experiences Meet Timeless Materials

An enchanting five-story atrium lobby

As visitors step into the five-story atrium lobby, they are instantly immersed in a world of elegance and warmth. The designers skillfully combine a rich material palette, including plaster, marble, stone, wood, and polished brass, to create an inviting atmosphere that complement the building's iconic structure.

Lighting fixtures by Katy Skelton illuminate the meticulously designed spaces, acting as both functional and artistic features. Original red brick and terrazzo floors, exposed beneath skylights, harken back to the building's past and have been repurposed as collaborative areas, offering a range of workstyles from high-standing counters to cozy banquettes to drop-in benches. The dusty pink leather upholstery adds a touch of nostalgia while maintaining a contemporary aesthetic.

Seamless Integration: Iconic Design Elements

Incorporating curated furniture and products

The success of the Leather Factory's transformation lies in the seamless integration of iconic furniture and design elements. Each piece was carefully curated to enhance the overall experience and evoke a sense of timeless beauty.

From slender backrests wrapped in luxe leather to streamlined globe pendant fixtures, every element seamlessly blends with the design aesthetic of the space. These curated pieces create a cohesive and captivating environment, inviting individuals to connect and collaborate as they embrace the possibilities of the post-pandemic workplace.

Designing for the Future: Inspiring Collaboration and Connection

From generic to vibrant and dynamic offices

The Leather Factory at 179 Lincoln Street is redefining the purpose of the office in a post-pandemic world. Acknowledging the desire for human connection and collaboration, the spaces within the building have been thoughtfully reimagined to foster creativity and productivity.

By offering a range of workstyles, including communal areas with high-standing counters, cozy banquettes, and comfortable drop-in benches, the Leather Factory creates spaces that inspire and facilitate meaningful interaction. Incorporating both functionality and aesthetics, the design of this historic building welcomes individuals into a vibrant and dynamic environment that goes beyond the generic offices of the past.


The transformation of the Leather Factory at 179 Lincoln Street is a shining example of how historical spaces can be revitalized to meet the needs of the present and future. Atelier Cho Thompson, in collaboration with EQ Office and Lam Partners, successfully balanced the preservation of the building's rich history with the creation of a welcoming and dynamic environment.

By revealing and restoring the original beauty of the interior, bridging the exterior's ornate details with the interior's architectural language, and creating immersive and inviting spaces, the Leather Factory offers a unique and vibrant workplace. Seamlessly integrating iconic furniture and design elements, the project demonstrates how thoughtful curation can enhance the overall experience.

As we navigate the post-pandemic world, the Leather Factory serves as a beacon, encouraging collaboration and connection among colleagues. By foraying beyond the generic and anonymous office spaces of the past, 179 Lincoln Street celebrates the power of design to transform physical spaces and shape the way we work and interact.

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