By Ruben Romero
Technology and facility have become intimately intertwined. It’s an accepted fact that A/V is no longer expected to be a series of boxes housed in special rooms. Now, technology and the environment need to combine as tools for productivity and communication and act as tools that cement relationships, promote recruiting, and market brands.
Historically, A/V design and architectural design have been two separately developed threads. At TAD Associates, our approach to the user experience marries technology with the environment [TAD stands for Technology, Architecture, and Design], two pieces that have been historically separated in project design discussions. Collaboration and technical strategies are not in a vacuum apart from the office environment. In fact, even more so now than ever, technology and environment can seamlessly work together to create interactive and impressionable experiences for users, customers, and partners.
In Warby Parker’s New York headquarters, there is a thorough connection between the product, the space, and the collaborative and presentation technologies. Custom digital content in signage and RMS, collaboratively designed by Warby Parker and consulting firm TAD Associates, truly puts the Warby Parker brand and product at center stage. As the space also operates as a showroom, Warby Parker has the flexibility to convert their lobby into a presentation/keynote space, or repurpose their system for more promotional and informational needs.
For Warby Parker, the technology is a means to multiple ends — collaboration, presentation, branding, and marketing. How many potential partner or customers are nudged into doing business with Warby Parker because of the impression that this space creates?
Commercial real estate prices are on the rise. According to loopnet.com, in San Jose, CA average commercial real estate is at $400/sq foot; New York and Chicago are at $200 and $165 respectively.
Furthermore, the cost of integrated technology is also increasing. A decade ago, the cost to integrate a medium sized conference room was around $25-$30k. Now it can easily hit $100k for the same room.
HAVAS Worldwide’s new headquarters in New York needed to create a workplace that leaves an impression. Across six floors, two buildings and forty-nine rooms, the environment maintains consistency in both form and function, which makes the systems easy to use, easy to support, and an organic piece of the overall design of the facility.
Current trends and philosophies have contributed to a more distributed workforce, and have changed the role of the office environment so that it is both a showpiece and a point of socialization. However, even if employees spend less hours per week in the office than they did ten years ago, the office’s value as a beacon and social hub is more valuable than it ever was.
TAD’s work at State Street’s HQ in Boston is 525,000 square feet designed to be flexible, easy to use and impressive. Open floor plans, more huddle rooms and less doors. Conferencing based on a BYOD philosophy. Just like Warby Parker, the space is and technology are cohesive and imply sophistication and productivity. This environment attracts clients and talent.
We can think of the office less as the place where employees report into work, and more closely as a place to socialize works. The space and technology have to be conceptually bound. Technology and environmental design have to now carry the torch of brand; have to stretch outside of the conference room and into the hallways and lobbies. Stable, cutting-edge technology, smart and efficient design.
Ruben Romero is the Managing Director of TAD Associates, Silicon Valley – a Technology, Architecture, and Design consultancy. He has more than 15 years experience in collaboration technology in support, sales, consulting, and project management.