Philly’s coronavirus response

Philly skyline lights up with giant heart shape

Four Seasons engineers orchestrated most of the design remotely.

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

If you haven’t yet seen it, look toward Center City on a clear night this week — or check Instagram. The tallest building in Philadelphia bears a message of hope in the form of a giant heart beaming from both sides of its crown.

The encouraging design is the work of the Four Seasons hotel, which takes up the top floors of the Comcast Technology Center at 19th and Arch streets.

First orchestrated on Mar. 26 on the north side of the building, and added to the south side the next evening, the project came from an impromptu idea brought forward by a staffer, according to hotel spokesperson Halla Rafati.

“They wanted this symbol of love to resonate with everyone,” Rafati said via email, “and promote hope and happiness to Philly and beyond.”

Because of social distancing measures — and because the rooms at the brand new hotel are wired with fancy technology — the whole thing was apparently orchestrated from offsite, save for one person who was there to take care of any extraneous details.

The lead Four Seasons Philadelphia engineer and a group of others worked remotely to figure out which rooms should be lit up and which should stay dark, Rafati said.

Hotel occupancy has plummeted worldwide because of measures to address the global pandemic. Across the U.S. market, hotels saw business drop 35% in one week — and the decline is expected to continue.

In Philadelphia, the Loews has shuttered its facility completely. Other entities are reportedly negotiating with the city for potential use as overflow sites, while the Holiday Inn Express in Midtown Village has been transformed into a quarantine site for those who don’t have anywhere else to go.

At Philly’s Four Seasons, “[e]veryone is dealing as best as they can and the team is in great spirits, all things considered,” per Rafati.

Unlike several other hospitality operations in the city, there have been no reports of layoffs there, as of yet.

Asked about the situation with staff, Rafati said only: “We are working to do everything we can to assist them through this unprecedented time and can’t wait to get back to work all together again.”

Want some more? Explore other Philly’s coronavirus response stories.

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