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.