This project was an architectural intervention, or “silliness at a larger scale”, adding brightly-colored industrial grit tape in a big rainbow of colors to improve the safety, visibility and fabulousness of the central staircase in the main lobby of Boston City Hall.

In place for 14 months from September 2014 to November 2015, the temporary installation was a winner of Mayor Walsh’s Boston Public Space Invitational run by the Mayor’s office of New Urban Mechanics. The fluorescent colors showed up brightly even in the low-light atrium, to help make the stairs safely navigable, and were scientifically determined to make City Hall 400% More Fabulous.

With strips of the same tape on the stair risers as the treads, the color effect was visible from the ground floor building entrance, drawing people up to enjoy the space and the cafe the New Urban Mechanics added to the upper landing.

(Original Request for SubmissionsOriginal ProposalAll Proposals Gallery)

Installation video taken by Kristopher Carter of New Urban Mechanics


Full installation with riser tape


Liz LaManche's Stairs of Fabulousness at Boston City Hallstairs-done

 Photos by Liz Lamanche



Liz LaManche accepting PSI award from Mayor Walsh

“A Simple Way to Add Art in Boston” –Boston Globe, Yvonne Abraham, June 8, 2014.

“If you yearn for more, and edgier, public art in Boston, Wednesday was a very good day…. rainbow-trimmed stairways for City Hall’s dark cave of a lobby — have been approved, just a few months after the contest was announced. They’re relatively cheap and simple, and will be around for anywhere from a couple of years to more than a decade.”

“9 Bright Ideas Win Funding to Refresh Boston’s Public Spaces” –WBUR ARTery, Abby Elizabeth Conway, June 5, 2014

“Contest Aims to Enliven Public Spaces in Boston” – Boston Globe, Michael B. Farrell, June 5, 2014.
“to spruce up City Hall, long maligned as one of the ugliest buildings in Boston…Two winning entrees propose simple additions to change the building’s cavernous lobby.”

“Contest nets new faces for public spaces”, –Boston Herald, Jordan Graham, June 5, 2014.
“We were blown away by the talent and the creativity and the sheer number of ideas,” said Kris Carter of the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics.”

“Spiffing Up Public Spaces” –Boston Globe,
“Stairs of Fabulousness: This winner uses nonskid tape on City Hall’s stairs to make them “400 percent more fabulous.”–City of Boston”

“Boston’s Public Space Invitational Winners Announced, –Boston Magazine, Yiqing Shao, June 5, 2014.
“finally!—City Hall will get ‘Stairs of Fabulousness.’…Liz LaManche’s ‘Stairs of Fabulousnes’ will make city hall “400% more fabulous.””

PSI-acceptance-letter for #stairsoffabulousness“Public Space Invitational: Boston’s Public Spaces To Get Facelift” – Metro, by Michael Naughton, June 5, 2104.
“Some of Boston’s most desolate, drab and dull public spaces are about to get a lot more interesting… City Hall, which more than a few people consider to be cold, ugly and uninviting, will soon become a little more colorful. One of the winning projects, named “Stairs of Fabulousness,” will use non-skid colored tape to transform the brick staircases inside City Hall.”

“Here are the Public Space Invitational Winning Projects Poised to Innovate Boston”, –BostInno, Nick DeLuca, June 5, 2014.
“’Rainbow stairs will make City Hall 400% more fabulous.’ This is a small intervention to the space, experimenting with color with the bricks and concrete as the canvas. Using non-skid tape, the stairs in the lobby area will be transformed by color.”

“Mayor Walsh Announces Winners of Boston’s First Public Space Invitational- Nine Public Space Interventions Will Be Deployed”, – Press Release, June 5, 2014,
“Simple. Colorful. ‘Rainbow stairs will make city hall 400% more fabulous,’ according to the project proponent. This is a small intervention to the space, experimenting with color with the bricks and concrete as the canvas. Using non-skid tape, the stairs in the lobby area will be transformed by color.”