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AV Creates Paperless Boardroom

Although Boston is known for many great things, prime office space isn't always one of them. The downtown financial district has recently enjoyed some rejuvenation due, in part, to the construction of the 36-story State Street Financial Center at One Lincoln Street, the new corporate headquarters of Boston-based financial services provider State Street Corp.

CHALLENGE: Build a custom meeting table that accommodates 28 board members, and fits all AV functionality into a small space for a high-profile executive boardroom.

SOLUTION: Coordinate the boardroom's planning, engineering, and integration, so the table and AV components come together to meet the client's needs at the installation site.

The State Street executive boardroom's 28 seats feature retractable monitors and microphones in a custom table  with built in loudspeakers.

The State Street executive boardroom's 28 seats feature retractable monitors and microphones in a custom table  with built in loudspeakers.

ALTHOUGH BOSTON is known for many great things, prime office space isn't always one of them. The downtown financial district has recently enjoyed some rejuvenation due, in part, to the construction of the 36-story State Street Financial Center at One Lincoln Street, the new corporate headquarters of Boston-based financial services provider State Street Corp.

With offices in 25 countries, State Street Corp.'s initiative to build a global communication network began with high-quality video communications to all offices. Housed on the 11th floor, the executive boardroom project was part of a build-out of extra floors in the building. “The executive boardroom is a small step in a larger global project for the bank,” says John MacNeil, manager of corporate AV services for State Street, whose five-person group oversees all AV projects and support for the company.

Designed by Boston architect Elkus Manfredi, the boardroom is designed to be a completely paperless environment for board meetings. “Board meetings happen once per month,” MacNeil says. “We used to have 500-page binders with all the meeting information in them for each person. If there was one change to the presentation, then the staff would have to replace those pages in each binder.”

The centerpiece of the 40- by 30-foot meeting room is a 28- by 16-foot oval conference table. Each seat of the 28-person table includes individual motorized touchscreens that lift to provide access to the Internet, presentations, and other AV capabilities. “Each of the board members has access to vast amounts of digital information from that workstation,” MacNeil says. “If they want to print out any portion of the meeting notes or presentation, then they can do so.”

To achieve the conceptual design for the project, MacNeil enlisted the services of Anthony Calverley Thompson (ACT) Associates, an AV design firm based in Storrs, CT. Verrex Corp., an AV integrator headquartered in New Jersey with local offices in Boston and Tampa, was contracted for the engineering and installation services. Additionally, Verrex provides Tier 2 and Tier 3 support for the bank's internal AV help desk, including a full-time onsite supervisor and numerous dedicated AV technicians.

Careful coordination

Incorporating all the AV technology into the conference table was a monumental goal, especially with required functionality of loudspeakers, flat-panel displays, laptop connections, control displays, and microphones with push-to-talk mute switches. “The solution proved to be a close coordination with the table manufacturer in building the table around the products specified,” explains Bill Chamberlin, director of technical sales for Verrex. “The background electronics were incorporated into the base of the table during fabrication.”

Custom furniture manufacturer Wall/Goldfinger Inc. of Northfield, VT, was brought in to create the one-of-a-kind conference table. For this project, the key to success meant understanding the exact uses of the boardroom to distill the table's AV functionality requirements. “The bank uses audio- and videoconferencing on a daily basis,” MacNeil says. “We needed the 28 seats to have access to that as well as to the network. The boardroom needed to accommodate high-profile customers as well as board members.”

A unique table

Impressively, the table was engineered and built — from napkin sketch to installation — in just six months (three months each for design and production). Not bad considering there isn't another one like it in existence. Final statistics on the table include 214 drafting hours, 175 computer numerically controlled (CNC) routing hours, 1,740 square feet of veneer, 240 feet of maple, more than 1,000 woodworking hours, and more than 1 mile of cable. The table also features removable panels to accommodate the installation of the cables and provide easy access for support.



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