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COLUMBIA PROPERTY TRUST

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES
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PROJECT OVERVIEW:

New York Real Estate Investment Trust Uses Transparent Display Technology to Convey Story

Based in New York City, Columbia Property Trust is a real estate investment trust (REIT) with expertise in transactions, asset management and repositioning, leasing, development and property management. The company focuses on opportunities to create value through owning, operating and developing Class-A office buildings in gateway U.S. markets—primarily New York, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and Boston. With a commitment to sustainability, the majority of Columbia’s portfolio is both LEED®- and ENERGY STAR®-certified.

Columbia recently relocated its headquarters to a full floor in a Manhattan office building that the company had purchased and renovated. Ahead of that move, Amy Tabb, executive vice president of business development and innovation for Columbia, was tasked with leading the effort to ensure that the design of the new space reflected Columbia’s culture and strategic initiatives.

FEATURED PRODUCTS:
“THE PLANAR LOOKTHRU DISPLAYS PROVIDE THE OPPORTUNITY TO TELL THE STORY OF HOW WE ARE ADDING VALUE, HOW WE ARE GROWING THE BUSINESS AND WHERE OUR PRIORITIES ARE FOCUSED.”
RACHEL WILLIAMS
EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND INNOVATION, COLUMBIA PROPERTY TRUST
INSTALLATION PROFILE:
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New York Real Estate Investment Trust Uses Transparent Display Technology to Convey Story

Based in New York City, Columbia Property Trust is a real estate investment trust (REIT) with expertise in transactions, asset management and repositioning, leasing, development and property management. The company focuses on opportunities to create value through owning, operating and developing Class-A office buildings in gateway U.S. markets—primarily New York, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and Boston. With a commitment to sustainability, the majority of Columbia’s portfolio is both LEED®- and ENERGY STAR®-certified.

Columbia recently relocated its headquarters to a full floor in a Manhattan office building that the company had purchased and renovated. Ahead of that move, Amy Tabb, executive vice president of business development and innovation for Columbia, was tasked with leading the effort to ensure that the design of the new space reflected Columbia’s culture and strategic initiatives.

"We wanted to reflect Columbia’s presence in New York City," said Tabb. "New York is where our strategic business decisions are made and where many of our relationships are forged. We interact with many different people and groups here, from tenants and investment professionals to construction contractors and architects. It was important that we also demonstrated this reach."

Tabb engaged Rachel Casanova of Cushman & Wakefield to help her ensure this strategic intent was translated into conversations with the architect. Casanova, in turn, introduced her to Tessellate Studio—an integrated architectural, exhibit and experience designer—to help Columbia create a unique visual showcase for its innovation and brand values in the new office environment.

Working with Amy Tabb and Columbia Property Trust CEO Nelson Mills, the Tessellate Studio team, led by Co-Founder and President Emily Conrad, developed a range of design concepts for engaging visitors at the headquarters’ moment of entry. The option that was unanimously favored involved combining transparent display technology with physical designs to create a unique brand narrative experience.

A three-dimensional canvas

The finalized project features three Planar® LookThru™ Transparent OLED displays integrated with a custom millwork exhibit, creating a digital surface that overlays objects behind it. The three-dimensional canvas provides a compelling medium for authentic storytelling, according to Conrad.

"Applying technology to convey the mission of a company through artifacts has always been very interesting from a design perspective," Conrad said. "And fortunately, a company like Columbia Property Trust has a lot of potential material to work with in terms of objects."

Among the first presentations is an exhibit that highlights two types of architectural materials—cross-laminated timber (CLT) and glue laminated timber (glulam)—that Columbia is using to develop the first mass timber building in Washington, D.C. Two more exhibits feature Columbia’s people and the priority the company places on relationships.

"The Planar LookThru displays provide the opportunity to tell the story of how we are adding value, how we are growing the business and where our priorities are focused," Tabb said. "We are doing creative things at our properties, and this display gives a unique and interesting way to showcase that, beyond just a video or just a display case."

Designed for adaptability

Installed by Sage AV with custom-built software from Tessellate Studio, the exhibit features seven media modes, including the ability to merge all three displays into a single, large canvas. "We can get large panoramic views and achieve the type of storytelling the client desired," Conrad said.

The project also meets Columbia’s requirement for a technology and design that would allow them to keep content fresh. "The company is constantly evolving as real estate changes," Conrad said. "They can easily update their narratives to stay current."

During the installation, Sage AV CEO Justin Schwartz worked with Planar technicians to ensure the transparent OLED displays were integrated and aligned correctly. "I’ve had a lot of great experiences working with Planar—they’re involved with every aspect of the design up through implementation," Schwartz said. "With this use case, the company helped ensure that the new displays checked all of the boxes from a technical and aesthetical perspective."

Coordination by Sage AV was also performed with Tessellate Studio’s developers to understand the technical implications in terms of driving the displays and supplying content. "The displays and the color saturation they provide are phenomenal," Conrad said. "But they still need to be integrated with the objects and the client narrative. So, it was important to optimize all aspects of what the hardware and software could do to make it come to life."

Rachel Williams, vice president of marketing and communications for Columbia Property Trust, said the interplay between physical objects and technology allows them to tell their story in both a literal and effective way. "It also provides a unique channel to showcase our photography," she said. "When viewing pictures with light and the depth of objects coming through, the imagery feels more vivid and alive."

About the Planar LookThru Transparent OLED Display

The Planar LookThru Transparent OLED display creates truly see-through installations with a virtually frameless glass design by utilizing cutting-edge Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) technology, eliminating the need for a backlight or enclosure. The displays offer wide viewing angles with no off-axis contrast or brightness limitations. And, with 38 percent light transmissivity, the glass delivers the benefits of interactive digital signage while allowing consumers to see products or scenes behind the display.

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