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Summit One Vanderbilt is New York’s newest and most exciting attraction. It’s a 65,000 square foot observation deck experience sitting 91 stories above Madison Avenue in one of New York’s most impressive ‘supertalls’. Summit One Vanderbilt pays homage to the city with a multi-sensory experience, situated in the clouds and up against the stunning backdrop of the New York skyline.
Summit One Vanderbilt covers 26 unique spaces spanning 4 levels and brings together dramatic audio and lighting effects, mixed with video and highly personalized interactivity created by one of the world’s leading Experiential Designers, Kenzo Digital.
Electrosonic in partnership with the owners SL Green, Audiovisual Designers JB&B and Technology Advisors Tad was responsible for the engineering, procuring, installing, commissioning, programming and aftercare support of the audiovisual and control systems that make up the technical backbone of this unique attraction.
Guests enter the Welcome Center through the historic Grand Central Terminal and start their journey by viewing a 180-degree theater pre-show experience. Guests then enter the queue, (framed by well-placed digital signage) and use the custom-made facial scanners and QR-enabled wrist bands to capture their faces to be used in a highly interactive moment later on.
From there, guests walk the ‘Hall of Light’, a well-choreographed, synchronized and dramatic audio and light installation that leads to the elevators. Once inside, the ride to the top begins as special lighting effects and mirrors energize guests during the climb. After exiting the elevators on the 91st floor, guests enter the ‘Transcendence’ space - an epic story-driven, multi-sensory room filled with infinity mirrors from floor to ceiling.
Well-placed directional audio helps set the tone and at night architectural columns come to life with an amazing light show achieved through the use of integrated lighting and two-way mirrors. On the 92nd floor, guests experience ‘Unity’, where they scan their wrist bands to see the image of their face that they scanned earlier visualized in clouds on a 50-foot-long 1.2mm Samsung MicroLED.
The entire project consists of 233 speakers, 14 subwoofers, 11 LG displays, 5 planar displays, a single 50 x 12 ft Samsung LED video wall, 4 audio controllers and 14 video wall controllers managed centrally by Crestron devices. Additionally, Electrosonic provided its AFFINITY Service with a full-time on-site technician responsible for preventative maintenance and break-fix.
To deliver on SL Green’s vision required very specific coordination with many partners, including Architects Snohetta, Experience Designers Kenzo Digital, Audiovisual Designers JB&B, Technology Advisors Tad, Lighting Integrators Barbizon and General Contractors AECOM Tishman.
The project had to be completed within a small window leading up to opening day on October 21st, 2021. For Electrosonic’s scope, that meant one year. We had to work diligently with our partners, collaborate with over 30+ trades, manage an often changing schedule and continue to support the on-the-fly designing that was happening and other logistical challenges impacted by Covid-19.
Electrosonic was successful on this project because of superior project management, strong show programming skills and exceptional engineering. We brought real-world experience of working on large-scale observation deck projects and the ability to work collaboratively with the creatives and other partners. Having provided the key stakeholders with inspiration for the space prior to concept, Electrosonic was able to influence the design by providing audiovisual advice and expertise to help achieve the desired final result.
Summit One Vanderbilt is already recognized as a world class attraction and joins other immersive experiences around the world supported by Electrosonic. The Observation Deck will play an important role in the resurgence of New York and midtown Manhattan, as it welcomes back residents and visitors from around the world to experience something truly magical.
The fusion of experiential design, architecture and technology demonstrates Electrosonic’s ability to provide a fully integrated final product that delivers the ultimate guest experience.