30 Hudson Yards is a newly-developed skyscraper and the second-tallest office building in New York City. Among the new tenants is Wells Fargo Securities, who purchased more than 500,000 square feet of office space on nine floors of the building for the new location of its New York headquarters. This includes the firm’s new trading floors, located on the 14th and 15th levels. To address the day-to-day strain associated with financial trading and the toll it can exact on traders, Wells Fargo engaged interior architecture firm the Switzer Group and Robert Derector Telecommunications to collaborate on a workspace design that would support the well-being of its traders. After evaluating options, the team chose the Planar® DirectLight® X LED Video Wall System from Planar. The 6-foot-wide, 29-foot-high Planar DirectLight X LED video wall with a 1.5mm pixel pitch (DLX1.5) brings in natural scenes like waterfalls, forests and seascapes, providing a real escape from the deskbound numeric functions of trading.
Attention restoration theory asserts that exposure to nature can reduce stress, improve concentration and restore work productivity. This theory is being thoroughly embraced in a setting where it is perhaps needed the most—the New York City trading floor. Located at the intersection of 33rd Street and 10th Avenue on the West Side area of Manhattan, 30 Hudson Yards is a newly-developed skyscraper and the second-tallest office building in New York City. Among the new tenants is Wells Fargo Securities, who purchased more than 500,000 square feet of office space on nine floors of the building for the new location of its New York headquarters. This includes the firm’s new trading floors, located on the 14th and 15th levels. To address the day-to-day strain associated with financial trading and the toll it can exact on traders, Wells Fargo engaged interior architecture firm the Switzer Group to collaborate on a workspace design that would support the well-being of its traders.
“Trading operations can be really high-pressure, and so our goal in designing the new trading space was to bring in amenities that would help traders feel calmer,” said Linda Foggie, Wells Fargo vice president of project management.
To create a healthier and more productive trading environment, the Switzer Group incorporated a circadian lighting system to simulate daylight throughout the interior and designed the ceiling to reduce glare on work surfaces. They also executed on a vision to enhance the openness of the space by removing a large portion of the floor slab between the two decks and adding an interconnecting staircase.
“The 14th and 15th floors were originally designed as podium floors with greater ceiling heights to accommodate the technology requirements of a trading floor,” said Kent Hikida, principal of the Switzer Group. “By redesigning the area with a slab opening and staircase, a physical intercommunication is established between the two floors and the sense of vertical height within the connected space is amplified.”
The design team targeted a tall wall surface directly in front of the staircase extending top-to-bottom between the two levels to mount a fixed piece of visual art as an element to promote mental restoration. “And then we thought, instead of a static image we could have a digital display and show actual video footage of nature which would have much more of an impact,” Foggie said.
With the idea for a video wall solidified, Foggie began investigating display technologies and visited different installations and manufacturer showrooms across New York City. Robert Derector Telecommunications (RDT) was brought on to join the design team and help select and integrate a solution. After evaluating options, the team chose the Planar® DirectLight® X LED Video Wall System from Planar.
“When the client approached us, we saw a great opportunity to not only work on a highly unique project, but to also help source the right equipment and technology in support of their vision,” said RDT Consultant Dan Georgescu. “We focused heavily on understanding the content that helped determine the appropriate hardware solutions required to deliver the overall vision. A lot of considerations were given to the content resolution, overall video wall size, and optimal viewing distances when selecting the necessary hardware.”
That process led to the installation of a 6-foot-wide, 29-foot-high Planar DirectLight X LED video wall with a 1.5mm pixel pitch (DLX1.5). Planar DirectLight X supports a range of fine pixel pitches and includes a mission-critical design for 24x7 reliability. Featuring the off-board Planar® Video Controller, Planar DirectLight X is the industry’s first LED video wall solution to embed advanced video processing directly into the product. Planar DirectLight X also includes the Planar® Remote Power Supply, which removes heat, depth, noise, weight, service points and electrical outlets away from the video wall and into a convenient, well-ventilated rack room.
One of Georgescu’s priorities for the Planar DirectLight X video wall was to design a canvas with pixel for pixel mapping. “As with a lot of different video walls, the installation for the trading floor doesn’t have an exact 16:9 aspect ratio setup—it’s much taller than wide,” he said. “We worked closely with the content providers and gave them a canvas that would allow them to display content without the need for video scaling. Content is natively represented pixel for pixel, which is the purest way of presenting content on any digital canvas.”
Wells Fargo commissioned a film crew to capture nature-focused imagery, which is shot in 8K portrait and displayed on the Planar DirectLight X video wall. “Seeing the imagery stretch so high is simply magnificent and breathtaking. It is truly a unique experience,” Georgescu said.
“The video wall really brings in natural scenes like waterfalls, forests and seascapes,” according to Hikida. “It’s a tremendous, relaxing gesture that makes images appear dramatic and provides a real escape from the deskbound numeric functions of trading.”
“We are quite impressed,” Foggie said. “The video wall offers a calm reprieve from the high-stakes environment of the trading floor. It makes you feel not like you’re watching nature, but in it.”