Innovation At Its Best: A Case Study on 1845 Walnut Street

Innovation is not a product. It is a way of thinking. It’s forging new paths – but it is also encountering detours and developing alternative routes that lead to exceptional destinations. This is a concept that architects understand intuitively; and it is one that led to the installation of modern, beautiful, cost-effective elevator interiors for a corporate building in Philadelphia.

1845 Walnut: A Business Hub

1845 Walnut Street is a 350,000 square-foot office building in the heart of Pennsylvania’s largest city. Nestled in historic Rittenhouse Square, the parkside structure is a sought-after site for thriving businesses. With such a high profile location, the building needs to offer contemporary, state-of-the-art accommodations to its tenants.

The problem: the elevator cabs at 1845 Walnut were outdated. Dark and worn from decades of continuous use and abuse, the mirrored wall surfaces only emphasized drab interiors. The building needed to bring the elevators into the 21st century. After all, elevators are one of the most frequently utilized features in corporate settings.

An Old Friend with New Ideas – and Technology

Glenn Bostock, founder and CEO of SnapCab, installed 1845 Walnut’s original elevators more than 20 years ago. This was before he developed his revolutionary interlocking panel system – and before materials and technology existed to ensure maximum longevity and durability. Today, they do. Today, building owners and managers can opt for interiors that will stand the test of time.

Architect Fred Stern, whose firm Architectural Woodwork Industries is located at 1845 Walnut Street, took on the job. Knowing the elevators needed a complete renovation, Stern created a design scheme utilizing his beloved medium: wood. The veneer panels he envisioned would be shaped like inverted pyramids, requiring meticulous woodwork.

Beautiful. Intricate. Elaborate. And expensive. The cost for the materials and for the craftsmanship necessary was, ultimately, prohibitive. That avenue was blocked. So innovation looked for the detour.

Beauty and the Budget

Instead of wood veneers, what if the same effect could be created using cost-effective materials? With Gorilla® Glass, for example, you can print a high-quality image of wood and then apply a pristine, optically clear glass panel. Architect Stern was doubtful. He – understandably – loved the look and the feel of natural wood.

First, we created a sample. Stern wasn’t a fan. It was too glossy. Too shiny. In short: it just wasn’t wood. Another detour? No. Just a brief delay.

Taking Stern’s concerns back to the drawing board, we delivered a sample utilizing anti-glare Gorilla® Glass. It eliminated the gloss and shine, ensuring the printed image captured the depth, dimension, intricacy, and warmth of wood. And it convinced the skeptic.

Change Is Good

Innovation is flexibility. The client then decided to change the scope of the areas outside the elevators, opting to use bamboo veneer on the walls. It’s a great choice that conveys a strong sense of light and sustainability however, the proposed elevator design featured dark wood.

To achieve a consistent aesthetic throughout, we scanned one of the bamboo wall panels and printed the high-resolution image onto the back of Gorilla® Glass. A perfect match. Now, the elevator interior design aligns with the overall look of the building. The fresh, contemporary feel befits a thriving corporate building in the midst of a business hub.

A Better Solution

Initial cost was only one consideration. The original design called for wood veneer. Wood is natural; as such, it is also vulnerable. The surface is subject to scratches, dings, and dents. To spend significant resources, and time, creating a gorgeous wood design only to have it ruined in a short time is a shame, and a waste.

Further, replacement is a challenge. In addition to day-to-day wear and damage, wood oxidizes naturally as it ages. The color changes. Matching is impossible, and you cannot simply replace one panel if it’s damaged. The whole cab would need to be redone. A vulnerable material, like wood, plus the difficulty of replacement equals a big, expensive, problem.

It is a problem that Gorilla® Glass solves. With high-quality printing, you can recreate any image in living color and in exceptional detail. The glass offers unparalleled protection and durability. If there is a problem with a panel, you can simply reprint and replace quickly and efficiently.

Where There’s Innovation, There’s a Way

You do not have to sacrifice your design intent for cost considerations. With the right partner, you can find solutions that satisfy all of your needs – beautifully. Innovative thinking and solutions ensure that you can take an even better, more efficient, route to your destination.

Code Blue: How RWJ Revived Its Facilities To Deliver On Its Mission

The Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital – or RWJ – is committed to building and fostering a “culture of health” that empowers people to live better lives. Their work is based on a solid foundation of community, quality, ease of access, and dignity and respect. Through an extensive, ongoing renovation project, RWJ is bringing its facilities up-to-date. This will allow them to continue delivering on their promises – and ensure their appearance reflects the quality of their care.

Great Care – Dated Facilities

When it comes to healthcare, RWJ is a leader. The problem was that you wouldn’t have necessarily known it from the state of some of their facilities. Worn and dated, they needed some updating. What better place to start than with the elevators? In a large hospital, elevators are critical to patient care and visitor experience.

RWJ needed elevator interiors that were:

  • Durable. With carts banging into the walls, personnel bustling around, and patients being transported, hospital elevators endure a great deal of use. The cabs had to be able to withstand abuse and look newer much longer.
  • Non-microbial. Hospitals are a hotbed for germs and bacteria; sanitary conditions are non-negotiable.
  • Easy to clean and maintain. With the risk of fluids, bacteria, and germs, the cabs had to be easy to clean. As well, dingy elevators don’t inspire confidence in patients and visitors.
  • Color-matched. RWJ wanted to be able to color coordinate the elevators and hallways so they could be used for wayfinding. For example, “Take the blue elevator to the blue hall, then follow the green corridor.” Such a technique makes navigating the facilities much easier.
  • Attractive. There’s no denying it; few people want to be in a hospital. Patients and visitors often experience stress and anxiety. Welcoming spaces can alleviate those feelings a bit.

We helped RWJ find the right solution for all of these needs. Wilsonart Compact, a specialty laminate is:

  • Extremely durable. It is often used in high-impact applications, such as lockers, cabinets, and elevator interiors. It will last for years, and it will look fresh and clean all the while.
  • Sanitary. The nonporous, non-microbial surface deters bacteria and germ growth. With routine cleaning, the hospital could vastly improve the health and safety of its elevators.
  • Color Compatible. Compact is available in over 200 colors and patterns. This made it easy for RWJ to accomplish its wayfinding mission.
  • Cost-Effective. Cost is always a consideration; with Wilsonart Compact, RWJ saved on initial costs. They will also continue to accrue savings for the life of the interiors, thanks to our interlocking panel system. For example, if a panel needs to be replaced for some reason, they can simply pull out the old one and install a new one quickly.

Beyond the Elevator

Since Wilsonart Compact was such a great solution for the cab interiors, why not extend it outside the elevators? This is just what RWJ did. Seeing the quality, durability, versatility, and practicality that the specialty laminate offered, they opted to have us install wall panels that provided the same benefits.

Not only did the use of coordinated elevator interiors and wall panels allow for a cohesive appearance throughout the building, it created a clean, healthy, attractive way to help people find their way around the hospital.

RWJ’s culture of health guides every decision they make; providing exceptional service and maintaining the highest standards is paramount. This commitment is now clearly reflected in their facilities. Each feature is designed to improve patient care and ensure a comfortable, soothing environment for anyone who walks through the doors.

From Outdated Hospital To Urban Hotspot: The Transformation Of Metro Club

In Philadelphia’s Old City District, residents live side-by-side with the past and tread the same streets as the Founding Fathers. The neighborhood was ground zero for the American Revolution. Today, it’s undergoing another kind of revolution, transforming into an urban hotspot with thriving business, art, and fashion communities – and the best cheesesteaks in Philly. In the Old City, home is where the heart, and the history, is.

Bringing Metro Club into the 21st Century

Philadelphia is proud of its heritage – but the Metro Club building was clinging a bit too hard to the past. Owners wanted to transform the former hospital into high-end condos; the terminally outdated elevators and drab lobby, however, weren’t rising to the level of “upmarket residence.”

These spaces – the heart and soul of any building – needed a complete overhaul, a renovation that would welcome tenants and visitors as soon as they walk in the doors.

The Keys to Success: Streamlined Planning and Simplicity

Metro Club’s owners browsed through SnapCab’s catalog and selected an elegant wood laminate. The light finish they choose would banish the gloom of the existing dark brown elevator interiors, creating a sense of warmth.

Now it was time to focus on the lobby. The area behind the front desk – which would become the logical focal point as people entered the building – was as dated as the elevators. To remedy this, we suggested that the owners use the same wood laminate paneling that was going to be featured in the cabs. Because of the simplicity of the paneling system, doing so would not require extensive planning or preparation.

The owners loved the idea. More importantly, they loved the results. Incorporating the same panels in both the elevators and the lobby allowed for a consistent look and feel. Additionally, it enabled the owners to make significant progress in their goal of re-imagining the old hospital into a new, high-end living space.

Within just three months, Metro Club’s elevators and lobby area were updated for its upscale clientele. The specification and installation processes were remarkably streamlined: the owners looked through the catalog, saw a product they wanted, and, from there, it was simply a matter of installing the paneling system. Sometimes, it is just that easy.

New Life In The Old City

The Old City’s many industrial buildings are an important part of the area’s history. Converting them into chic living spaces allows residents to enjoy the vibrancy of this unique neighborhood. The Metro Club’s transition from dreary hospital to sought-after urban retreat is just one example of how the Old City continually renews itself. You, too, can breathe new life into your buildings – elevators, lobbies, conference rooms, and more – with simple, streamlined solutions.

An Appetite For Innovation: 7 Things You Need to Know About A SnapCab Lunch & Learn

SnapCab Lunch & Learns are aimed at those with an appetite for innovation and creative solutions that will transform an entire building. When you book your lunch & learn, what can you expect – in addition to great food? Here are the 7 things you need to know:

1. The Agenda. During the 60 minutes, you will learn about SnapCab products and our history of innovation. We will educate you about what we do, how we do it, and the revolutionary materials with which we do it. Expect to cover topics such as materials, lead times, specification, technology integration, and more.

2. The Presentation. In addition to a PowerPoint presentation, you’ll have the opportunity to get a hands-on look at some of our product offerings, such as Gorilla® Glass, and our sample box (yours to keep and explore). It’s the perfect way to start imagining the possibilities.

3. It’s About More Than Just Elevators. Elevators have been the core of SnapCab’s business for over 20 years, and our systems streamline and simplify specification, compliance, and installation. At the same time, these same systems can revolutionize areas outside the elevator. You’ll learn how.

4. The Audience. SnapCab lunch & learns are intended for architects and designers, but feel free to invite others. Although this is not an accredited lunch & learn, you will receive in-depth product-specific knowledge that you can apply on your next project.

5. The Value You’ll Receive. You will learn about products that solve complex problems. Rather than pouring significant time and resources into designing a wall system – which may or may not be feasible, and which or may not be within budget – you can learn about the benefits of our patented interlocking panels. The quick, efficient product ensures that you don’t have to spend 1000 hours recreating the wall. We’ve done it; now we can use these systems to bring your vision to reality.

6. Timing is Flexible. Many designers and architects don’t follow a typical 9:00 to 5:00 schedule; creativity and inspiration don’t punch a time clock. In that case, we also offer another option—a wine and cheese event is typically held in the late afternoon or early evening. In addition to wine, beer, or non-alcoholic beverages and cheese, you will interact with samples, discuss materials and products, and talk shop with other professionals. It’s informal, informative, and fun. Just give us a call or fill out the form on our website to book your lunch & learn.

7. The Next Steps. After your lunch & learn, contact our interior specialist with your project needs. We can help you build the specification, provide samples & renderings, and work with you every step of the way towards project completion.

A lunch & learn or wine and cheese evening is a fun and interactive way to help you gain a better understanding of our products and materials – and how you can apply these solutions to your current and future projects. Be sure to bring your curiosity, your ideas, and your appetite.

AIM Academy—Where Learning Comes To Life

The AIM Academy motto is “Innovative Teaching. Fearless Learning.” These are far more than words. Innovation and fearlessness make AIM an institution of choice for those who learn differently, and these qualities guide every decision they make. AIM is committed to utilizing creative instruction, educational best practices, and the best technological resources. They wanted to ensure their building reflected their passion – and the enormous potential of their students.

AIMing for Excellence

When AIM built an addition with a state-of-the-art gymnasium, auditorium, and other integral learning facilities, they knew they needed an entryway that captured the attention of students, family, and visitors as soon as they came in through the doors. Beyond a mere lobby or reception area, this space needed to welcome people to a world of exploration and discovery.

A custom-built media wall provided an innovative solution for this ground-breaking school. As people walk into the Academy’s new addition, they’d know exactly what AIM is, and what they do. They’d connect with the AIM philosophy, with their ingenuity, and, most importantly, with their pride and belief in their students.

Students Lead the Way

The media wall stretches about 16 feet along AIM’s entryway, and its creation was a team effort. AIM’s art department gathered newspaper articles about the school and created a montage. They took pictures of students engaging in music, sports, and other activities, and turned them into silhouettes. Art students filled in these silhouettes with vibrant colors and patterns, bringing them to life. Together, the faculty and students made a work of art that was special and spectacular.

AIM then provided us with a digital file of the artwork, and we had their graphics printed in crisp, true-to-life detail. Next, we mounted the images behind high-quality, durable glass panels and installed them on the wall. And finally, we integrated speakers and monitors for full audio/visual capability.

Once the design is established, installation is a quick and easy process.

In addition to looking great, this space enables AIM to offer a host of engaging experience for students, staff, family, and visitors. From streaming a basketball game from the gym to running promo videos, the media wall is a hard-working – and compelling – member of the school community.

Head of the Class

AIM Academy believes that “Curiosity, collaboration, compassion, confidence and critical thinking are their tools for success.” We do too. The school’s media wall not only embodies this philosophy; it was created by it. Learning comes alive at AIM.

Media walls empower you to customize your spaces, align them with your brand identity, and offer your guests, customers, or clients an exceptional experience. When it comes to interior design and architecture, you can aim higher – and achieve your goals.

5 Reasons A Multi-Media Wall Is Your Client’s New Must-Have

What is a multi-media wall? It is opportunity. This ultra-creative new design trend is made up of wall panels – in your choice of colors, patterns, and images – with advanced technological elements. Speakers, screens, video capability, whiteboard functionality… the possibilities are endless. A multi-media wall enhances any space, from lobbies and vestibules to hallways and conference rooms.

Here are five reasons why these innovative systems should make it on your list of “must-haves.”

1. They’re innovative. This unique feature is for the forward looking. Aesthetically, they speak for themselves. But multi-media walls are more than visually pleasing – because they are innovative, engaging, and cutting edge, they generate interest among prospective employees and clients. Watch customers and staff linger longer just to take in all the eye-catching details.

2. They align with and enhance your brand identity. While innovative and fresh, multi-media walls are another avenue to showcase your brand identity. For instance, they can incorporate company logos, videos, or testimonials – the options are virtually limitless. In this sense, multi-media walls can play an essential role in distinguishing your business and building familiarity with customers, prospects, employees, and other key players.

3. You can connect with customers. When customers enter your business, you can welcome them with tailored messages, important announcements, reminders, and other content designed to create a better experience for them – and better results for you.

4. You can encourage divergent thinking and increase productivity. What better way to promote out-of-the-box thinking than with a product that was born from innovation? With features from whiteboarding to video conferencing, you can turn any wall into an integral communication and productivity tool.

5. You can boost interactive learning and collaboration. Imagine a brainstorming session where your people could write on the wall panels, sketch out solutions, and reach out to colleagues across town or clients across the world—these are the possibilities that multi-media walls represent for businesses.

Multi-media walls are effective, efficient, and innovative. But don’t forget about the importance of fun. These walls are tailor-made for interaction, conversation, and sharing. You can leverage these attributes to help you reach your ambitious objectives. Give your audience something they cannot get anywhere else – a fully-branded, fully-integrated experience that leaves them wanting more.

Incorporating Wall Paneling Throughout Your Design

When redesigning a space, the key to make maximum impact is to choose the right materials. Interlocking wall panels have a host of benefits: they’re durable, affordable, highly customizable, and easy to maintain. Most importantly, using a wall-paneling system opens up the possibilities for dozens of material types, so that you can achieve virtually any aesthetic. Want proof? Check it out:

The Aesthetic: Contemporary

Your Vision: You envision airy, open spaces with clean, modern lines. Carefully selected accents in bold shades add more than color – they evoke a specific feeling.

Achieve Your Look:

  • Gorilla® Glass. Ultra-light and optically clear, this sleek glass is a true blank canvas—it won’t change the color of the materials behind it at all, so you can achieve the exact color tone you want.
  • Laminate. With plenty of high-definition options, highly versatile laminate comes in a variety of colors, patterns, and images, mirroring the look of other materials, without the added weight and cost.

The Aesthetic: Industrial

Your Vision: Exposed bricks. Concrete or weathered wood floors. Structural beams and metal air ducts. Exposed, the materials of your building become critical design elements. Instead of hiding these features, you want to highlight their gritty appeal.

Achieve Your Look:

  • Rigidized® Metals. Up to 75% stronger than ordinary metal sheets, Rigidized® Metals easily balance form and function. With glossy, brushed, and matte finishes and a variety of embossed textures they’re tough to beat in an industrial design.
  • Wood Veneer. The look of natural wood is an ideal contrast to exposed brick, metal, and ductwork. Specify your species – from American Walnut to cool Ash Lati or rich, dark Mocha Oak– that will help you reach your design goals.

The Aesthetic: Branded

Your Vision: You want to create a design that’s perfectly aligned with, and totally representative of, a brand’s identity. You need to match – not just come close – specific colors, logos, graphics, and other elements.

Achieve Your Look:

  • Gorilla® Glass. With high-resolution printing capabilities and true color matches, you can replicate any branding element with ease and unerring accuracy. You can even specify a precise Pantone color – you’ll still get an exact match.
  • Laminate. Maintain the look of wood, stone, and other surfaces throughout the building design, from the lobby and hallways, into the elevator – without the budget headaches. Laminate is affordable, durable, and versatile enough to build the brand from the ground up. If you haven’t yet seen a pattern that matches your aesthetic, don’t worry; you can customize a Laminate pattern that suits your brand perfectly.

The Aesthetic: Bright and Bold

Your Vision: Your design exudes youth and energy, turning the space into an oasis of color, interest, and unique flavor. In short: it pops.

Achieve Your Look:

  • Móz®. These designer metals are no wallflowers; Móz metals offer incredible texture and brilliant color for a design element that’s truly unique.
  • Gage®. Chic GageCarve® has a definite contemporary edge. Pair with colorful laminate for an eye-popping effect.
  • Gorilla® Glass. With this glass, you are only limited by your creativity. Print even the most wild and creative graphics with stunning clarity. Stripes? Polka dots? Leopard print? Gorilla Glass puts anything you can image beneath a crystal clear, ultra-durable surface.

The Aesthetic: High-Tech Minimalist

Your Vision: You make the complex simple. Your space integrates high-tech elements, like interactive walls, with flush lines for a seamless look. No nonsense; all simplicity and style.

Achieve Your Look:

  • Gorilla® Glass. For a material that is as high-tech as your design, there can be no substitute. With the potential to integrate high-end, interactive technology right into your wall panels, Gorilla Glass offers the additional benefits of strength, durability, and pristine imaging. Gorilla Glass is also available with tight seams for an even cleaner look.

The Aesthetic: Luxury

Your Vision: You’re picturing rich textures, exotic materials, and high-end finishes. The end result should exude decadence, so the finishings need to look and feel high-end – and that look needs to stand up against time.

Achieve Your Look:

  • Stone. What’s more luxurious than natural stone? Interlocking wall panels give you the natural, expensive look without the weight, thanks to our lightweight honeycomb panels.
  • Wood Veneer. A timeless classic, wood adds warmth, elegance, and depth to any surface. From rich, deep Walnut Groove, to the mixed colors of Macassar Black and White Goove, you have a variety to choose from.
  • Gage®. Gage metal surfaces brings a sophisticated edge to high-end applications with lustrous, dimensional patterns which add a tactile element to your design.
  • Móz®. These hand-etched metal laminates provide the richly textured look and visual depth that defines modern luxury.

The Aesthetic: Durable and Utilitarian.

Your Vision: Your design values function over finish. You need panels that are resilient, simple to maintain, safe, and relatively attractive. If you’re designing for hospitals, office buildings, hotels, universities, or other high-traffic buildings, you know the elevator walls need to be able to take a beating and still look great.

Achieve Your Look:

  • Laminate. No frills, no fuss. Just excellent results. Laminate comes in a variety of popular colors and patterns that will stand up to heavy use and abuse without showing their age.
  • Compact. Ideal for high-impact, high-traffic areas, such as lobbies and elevators, Compact is durable, non-porous, non-microbial, and affordable. But it’s not all work and no play: Compact offers scores of design options so you can achieve the look you want.

SnapCab interlocking wall panels enable ultimate freedom and convenience. With such a range of options, it’s finally possible to find the materials that can achieve the exact look you envisioned.