Commercial Opportunities : Making Amenity Space Design Pay Off
How Electronics Design Group tweaked the gear-loaded two-story amenity space in a NYC luxury high-rise to be tech-friendly for all its residentsFebruary 2012 By Nancy Klosek
Word of mouth in custom is, naturally, the best advertisement for an integrator's work. So what could speak of the excellence of a well-executed project better than when an installation in a common space is regularly accessed by dozens of residential homeowners?
That is one of the best arguments for getting into the design of amenity areas—common spaces in condominiums and co-ops that both draw buyers to the building and can lead to multiple project contracts from existing owners within.
Electronics Design Group, the award-winning New Jersey-based custom house, recently used its considerable expertise in both commercial and residential installation to create what senior project manager John Montgomery describes as a state-of-the-art amenity space—the activity anchor of The Laurel, a ritzy condominium complex on Manhattan's Upper East Side.
"The best descriptive word for the project is 'crossover,'" explains Montgomery. "It uses the best elements of both commercial and residential installations.
"To have a space like this in an apartment complex is almost a necessity," adds Montgomery. And with consumers' technology-access needs multiplying exponentially by the minute these days, EDG's mandate at The Laurel was to make the space easy to use, but also as fully loaded as it needed to be.
The challenge, he says, was to craft an efficient layout within the allotted square footage and still fully meet the divergent recreational, entertainment and conferencing needs of the building's residents.
The lower level includes an atrium lounge, a screening room complete with theater seating and a high-resolution front projection system, a dining/teleconferencing room and a catering kitchen. Upstairs, there is a children's play area/game room, access to arcade-style video games, a craft area for young children, and a multimedia computer room.
Blending all of this into a harmonious whole that works well for everyone sounds like a daunting, nearly impossible task.
"Having prior experience at several amenity spaces was a big plus in helping develop the scope and scale of the project," explains Montgomery. "It was a lot more labor-intensive than a standard residential job," he observes, pointing out that a deep degree of coordination with other disciplines involved in the construction and design was an imperative.
"With multiple trades impacting the space, it was important to have very regular communications and follow-up on the site," he says—and his team's attention to detail was key in what was ultimately achieved.