Home automation is more than just the sum of the technology installed. Our product is the unique experience that all of these technologies bring when they work together. When we set out to create our new Experience Lab, we wanted to bring this concept to life for all who walked through our doors. Our aim is to move away from the traditional product-focused showroom experience and create an immersive real-world experience.
After more than seven years at our home in Harvard Square, we had outgrown our office. We needed to find a space that not only would function as a great working environment for our growing staff but would also comfortably welcome those in the design/build community we frequently collaborate with as well. For this, the SoWa neighborhood was perfect! SoWa is an up-and-coming area in the South End of Boston. It is home to many of Boston’s most prominent names in art and design. The Power Station and surrounding brick and beam buildings are steeped in history. The neighborhood’s distinct character and diverse community were an instant fit.
We landed at 500 Harrison Avenue, just down the street from the historic Power Station. We renovated our new 3,700 square foot space over the course of six months. The result is a space that meets the needs of our staff. This includes private workspaces, conference rooms, storage, and informal meeting areas. We also created a welcoming environment for our clients, the design community, and project partners.
Our aim was to create a luxurious yet welcoming multi-purpose space that appeals to homeowners, architects, designers, developers, and builders. We collaborated with local trades. This was to ensure that the end product reflected the same level of quality as our projects and ensured that the space could evolve to showcase emerging and new technologies over its lifespan. We landed on the term “Experience Lab” to best describe both the collaborative, experimental, and experiential nature of the space.
Visitors can experience a wide variety of the very best smart home technologies on the market from lighting control, automatic window treatments, climate and voice control, networking, security and surveillance, residential and commercial audio/visual solutions, and energy management. Beyond a space to showcase the experience of home automation, the Experience Lab is a place for education. We run seminars, workshops, and events here, and the space accommodates these activities naturally.
It wouldn’t be possible to showcase home automation without the latest and greatest solutions from many of our trusted partners. One of the attractions on full display is our keypad wall. Designed by our own Director of Marketing, Kjerstin Oh, the keypad wall showcases the best design-led lighting controls from Lutron, Basalte, Savant, and Josh.ai. The space allows us to demonstrate the customizable button options for our clients to control their homes as they wish. It highlights the endless possibilities of color, material, and design so that their smart home controls blend seamlessly with their home’s design narrative.
Home audio can make or break your smart home experience. Not only does your audio need to sound great in each room, but it needs to be installed discreetly or invisibly to not detract from the specific design of your home. Our Experience Lab has speaker solutions from Sonance, Artcoustic, JBL, Biamp, K-Array, and even invisible speakers from Amina installed in acoustically optimized spaces. This gives clients an idea of the quality of each solution. It also allows them to hear what they sound like when professionally installed and optimized in both residential and commercial settings.
Perhaps the biggest “wow” factor of our new space, our home theater has quickly become a favorite of all who visit. Behind a hidden door, this unique space – the only home theater demo space in Boston – provides an entirely immersive cinematic experience and demonstrates the full capabilities a home theater can bring to your home.
We wanted the home theater to make you feel like you were transported to another world when you walked in. While the rest of the office is very muted in its colors, the home theater features a stunning mural we commissioned from local artist Silvia López Chavez. Silvia is well-known throughout Boston for her colorful work. Her art graces popular locations throughout the city such as the Boston Children’s Hospital, the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum, the Esplanade and in the private collections of Google and Twitter.
Ketra D3 downlights and S30 track heads highlight the mural, possible via Ketra’s vibrancy mode, which showcases art the way it was meant to be seen. Ketra lighting is used in museums and art installations across the globe, and it was a perfect fit to showcase our new mural. In the coming months, we plan to extend Ketra to the entire office.
Once the lights go down, nothing prepares you for the cinematic experience that you’ll experience in this technology-infused space. The first thing that you’ll notice is the solitude – we architected the room to be completely sealed from outside light and sound, to ensure that you get the full theater experience.
Utilizing Dolby Atmos, the sound goes beyond traditional surround sound technology to bring to life a revolutionary spatial audio technology for the most immersive sound experience. Powered by JBL Synthesis speakers and their signature immersive sound processing unit, all perfected by Dirac, the home theater’s audio pulls you right into the film you’re watching. Visually, the LG OLED TV provides the richest colors and deepest blacks, providing a feast for your eyes as well as your ears. Artnovion acoustic panels ensure that every seat in this compact home theater (12′ x 14′) gives you the perfect experience. Triple subwoofer drivers ensure that not only can you hear the bass, but you feel it at the same time.
“I derived inspiration from the South End’s London-style intimate garden squares. The imagery fuses local flora with tech-infused cozy mood to provide a sense of luxurious comfort. Local flowers and foliage (Magnolias, ginkgo, flowering dogwood) anchor the walls, juxtaposed with overall geometrical patterns that unify the space, creating a welcoming vibe.”
Silvia López Chavez
One of the quickest growing areas of our business is conference room AV. People are returning to their corporate offices and realizing their boardrooms and meeting spaces don’t have the quality needed for a true hybrid working experience. CBRE’s occupancy management practice estimates that the ratio of conference seats to desk seats has quadrupled from the beginning of the pandemic to now. We’ve seen Boston’s most innovative companies adding collaboration and AV to every available space they can find.
Our conference room is set up with the very best of today’s collaboration technology. A Logitech 4K Rally Camera, Shure MXA in-ceiling microphone, Biamp speakers, and a crystal-clear LG 4K display. All running on the Zoom Rooms platform. On the walls, we have an acoustic felt-backed wood slat wall. This helps to minimize echo and audio noise for both remote and in-person participants. We enjoy the same seamless meeting room experience in our smaller conference rooms, each optimized with solutions ideal for their size. (Check out the conference room technology that makes your space successful.)
On May 5th, 2022, as part of a collaboration with Boston Design Week, we opened our Experience Lab to the general public for the first time. Throughout the day, we hosted 2 AIA CEUs (one being our newly accredited CEU, “Designing a Smarter Home”), a smart home expo, and an engaging panel discussion on “The Impact of Art and Technology on Health and Happiness in the Built Environment”. This panel featured some of the brightest in Boston’s design community. It included Silvia López Chavez, Ricardo Rodriguez, John Hynes IV, Emily Isenberg, and TSP Smart Spaces owner Michael Oh.
The events were a great success. We received some very positive feedback. It also gave us a chance to get our feet settled in our new space and experience the finished product ourselves for the first time.
Since Boston Design Week, we have been hosting private tours for the design and architecture firms in the area. We can’t wait to continue showcasing home automation for all who walk through our doors. Contact us to schedule your own private tour of our new Experience Lab in SoWa and see for yourself how the latest in commercial AV and home automation can change your life. We can’t wait to connect with you and start helping you on your smart home journey!
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