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The problem: the elevator cabs at 1845 Walnut were outdated.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.