The Verizon LTE Innovation Center is aptly named, as innovation and technology form the core basis of design for this creative base of operations in Waltham, MA. Futuristic ideas power areas like the RF-shielded theater and breakaway flex zone, but visitors will never spy a stray cable or wire. The magic at this 20,000-square-foot facility happens behind the scenes.
The Verizon LTE Innovation Center is a state-of-the-art demonstration, development, and meeting environment dedicated to exploring, defining, and delivering the power and possibility of Verizon’s 4G LTE network through hands-on technology applications, experiences, and collaborative meeting spaces.
The highlight of the facility, the theater, was created by first constructing an enclosure completely encased in sheet copper, including copper-shielded doors and flooring. The theater itself was then built inside the enclosure.
“The theater created a unique challenge for the team, as any penetration to the copper enclosure could ruin the entire project,” says Brad Black, principal of NELSON, the design firm.
The fixed-seating, tiered theater is equipped with a viewing screen comprised of 96 Christie Micro-tiles in a curved array. The 40-person theater allows live proof-of-concept demonstrations of 4G LTE solutions without outside network interference.
The color palette was purposefully limited to black, white, gray, and red, so the designer utilized texture, pattern, and light as accents to give depth and interest to the space. The selected color palette allows technological displays and products to become focal points. Wood and primitive stone were used as neutrals to create warmth against the displays of sleek technology. An innovative reception desk creates the illusion of light without the use of electricity.
All interior materials – carpets, flooring, paint, and adhesives – were selected for their low VOC content, and all interior finishes comply with green building IAQ criteria. Lighting solutions feature architecturally integrated and minimal fixtures with energy-efficient technology. Innovative control technologies, including daylight harvesting and occupancy sensor switching, also helped achieve aggressive design targets and LEED Gold goal.
More than 60 screens and projectors are seamlessly integrated into the Innovation Center, and show control systems allow for fast changes in media, lighting, and audio.
Wiring infrastructure is designed to support ad-hoc changes to systems tailored for each customer. For presentations, large-format video touch screens are recessed and incorporated into the wall design. Flexible loudspeaker zones can coordinate with changing vignettes, and motorized lights and tables intelligently move on their own to redesign the space for each interaction.
The Flex Zone provides the space to create and customize special purpose environments. Large-scale graphic backdrops set the stage for vignettes focused on industry specific needs.
Using what are essentially repurposed garage door openers, the environment can dramatically shift at a moment’s notice. One day the lab can be a retail environment, the following day finance, and the next manufacturing. Retractable displays from the light fixtures reinforce the message and turn the Flex Lab into a full exhibit space.