In its heyday, the Ballston Common Mall was a Washington, D.C. landmark as one of the first major suburban shopping centers in the area. The building underwent its first major renovation in the 1980s to adapt to changing retail culture, and it welcomed shoppers for three more decades. Today, the center has been reimagined into Ballston Quarter, a hip and entertaining venue that Bisnow says “offers a glimpse into how developers hope to bring the shopping mall model into a new era.”
Led by Cooper Carry, The Lighting Practice designed the lighting system for Ballston Quarter’s Quarter Market, Dining Gallery, and management offices. The lighting design for the new Quarter Market sets itself apart from other large dining spaces by incorporating layers of light and elements of whimsey. With the goal of creating a lively and unique atmosphere, the client and design team worked together to develop a dynamic guest experience despite a very tight budget. Together the team developed the solution to identify zones and create “special moments,” focusing the budget on these areas and saving in others. Ultimately these designed moments facilitate memorable guest experiences and evoke a feeling of intimacy in an otherwise open space.
The Lighting Practice’s Helen Diemer and Pomme Lee specified standard, off-the-shelf lighting products, but arranged them to create unique focal points, resulting in a customized look and feel. Clustered seating arrangements paired with low hanging decorative fixtures give seated guests the sense of being in a smaller room. Track lights provide general illumination and match the industrial style. Draping ropes with bare LED lamps resemble a canopy that provides glittering, playful illumination.
The Ballston Quarter hosts a variety of retailers along with many cutting-edge things to do. In addition to Quarter Market, current and future tenants include an interactive adventure venue, a bowling alley/restaurant hybrid, a boxing gym, four sit-down restaurants, an open-air courtyard with live music events, and many others.
Inside Ballston Quarter, The $330M Mall Redevelopment That Shows Where Retail Is Heading
Bisnow | March 2019
The long-planned redevelopment of Ballston’s shopping mall, first opened in 1951, has been gradually delivering in recent weeks with new retailers opening their doors on a rolling basis.
Spearheaded by Forest City, which Brookfield acquired last year, the $330M redevelopment brought the aging Ballston Common Mall to life with a mix of today’s trendiest retail concepts. From a food hall to an interactive adventure venue to a bowling alley-restaurant-and-bar hybrid, the Ballston Quarter redevelopment offers a glimpse into how developers hope to bring the shopping mall model into a new era.
Entering the building from Wilson Boulevard, visitors come upon a large, open-air courtyard with the Ballston Quarter sign above a series of windows.