Our clients at The Establishment in Shelton, CT. is a Financial services company that wanted to develop a retail space like nothing they’ve done before. They wanted ability to host financial education classes and events but with a twist - swap the hard sell for some down-to-earth advice in a restaurant and bar atmosphere. Once the location was chosen, a brand new retail development just down the road from their corporate offices, the request was made to design a space that would be easy for presenters to use for education and the look and feel of an upscale restaurant.
To add to this challenge, the waiting room had seating “in the round” and only one projector could be used to project a 16:9 ratio image with an infrared camera to detect the location and movement of the people “in the scene”. The image would appear to float in the waiting room, like a hologram.
From the Samsung Frame TV at the entrance – a digital signage screen presenting the Brand’s ID or welcoming guests, to the pendant speakers and 75” TVs at the bar, this is not financial education the way most would envision it. Gone is the stuffy old guy droning on about investments perched behind his mahogany desk. Welcome to investing 101 for the Millennial age.
Three large screen TVs don the walls, one in each direction except for the glass exterior wall. Every seat in the house can have a view of the presentation making this space very flexible to use. Since this was a brand new concept targeting a new class of investors, the client wasn’t sure how the room might be arraigned or if one layout would work better than another. But this place has the feel of a bar you might gather with your friends after work, so the screens had to show live TV and sports as well. Any source to any screen. With that kind of wide open choice, what about audio? Does the client want to hear the cheers of the crowd from the football game or maybe set a relaxed mood by playing music? Oh yeah, and it has to be easy.
All of the equipment is hidden in a closet behind the bar, a unique challenge in itself as the space is small. Instead of a standard equipment rack which would not fit, all equipment was wall mounted and wire management lace between the pieces. It looks more like inside of a computer than an electrical closet. Hiding all the equipment was a requirement not only for aesthetics but also to keep visitors from fiddling with the electronics.
TVs are mounted on wood paneled walls so they appear to float in space. Pendant speakers are suspended from the tall ceiling above a lattice work of random wood slats meant to break up the space, aesthetically and acoustically. One touchscreen and a phone app available to employees provide easy setup and control of the space. The touchscreen is also hidden, wall mounted behind the bar, facing a server station. Want to set up the space – click on a source and drag it onto a TV, all represented on the touchscreen. The cable box to bar TV, and wireless presentation to west wall TV.
And just in case the presenter forgot his or her laptop, a computer mounted in the equipment area provides a last minute source that can run PowerPoint and access the company’s box account for files.
With all this technology and multiple presenters using the space, time was allocated just to teach the teachers – to show how to use the room and answer any questions presenters may have. These classes were never scheduled. When we inquired if they would like to schedule a lesson before they started using the space, we learned they had already held 3 classes in the space. The system was so easy to use, our phone never rang.
Engineer, Jared O'Mara