When an international company decides to renew its entire movable property, including its AV equipment, both common, global decisions as well as local needs and special characteristics must be considered. Audico collaborated with law firm White & Case to find the audio-visual solutions for the firm’s new office, its design, renovation and implementation.
In the beginning of 2018, law firm White & Case Oy moved to Aleksanterinkatu, a central location in the capital city Helsinki. Prior to the move, the firm had first given up its office in Eteläranta after the long-serving space was ruined by water damage and the company was forced to temporary facilities. “It was then we decided to renew our entire fittings. It was much easier to leave custom-made and well-functioning furniture with cables to the old office than even consider taking them with us”, IT Manager Marjaana Laitinen recalls. The partners of White & Case together with Timo Airisto oversaw all decisions made regarding the move. Laitinen teamed up with HR Manager Sevi Pesonen and the two were in charge of all arrangements. The design of the new office was begun from scratch, with the exceptions of an art collection and small items taken from the old office.
As companies, White & Case and Audico have cooperated for several decades, which made it clear to Marjaana Laitinen that Audico, and particularly Mikko Tenhunen, should be in charge of the audio-visual solutions of the new space. “Confidence and habit”, Laitinen says. “We’re used to things being taken care without unnecessary exertions and the end result has always been of high quality. These two factors made it crystal clear to us that cooperation with Audico should be further continued”.
Since White & Case is the global employer of thousands of people, its methods brought along not only clarity, but also challenges to the cooperation as differences in local cultures posed challenges along the way. The company has distinct boxes that need to be ticked in order to make sure that offices around the world have a cohesive look, whether you’re in Australia, Italy, Brazil or Kazakhstan. “Usually we cannot choose partners on local levels. Instead, we have White & Case’s own AV administration overseeing AV purchases, which are made according to global agreements”, Marjaana Laitinen explains. “Luckily for us, Finland has such a remote location that I managed to persuade our upper management that flying in experts from great distances won’t be necessary since we can find expertise closer, too”. In retrospect, Laitinen’s determination has saved a lot of money, time and effort. “Renovations dragged on and this meant that we would have flown in foreign AV experts to the renovation site for nothing. It was much easier to plan things with a company that is located in Espoo, near Helsinki. Many times we really saw the benefits of a half-an-hour drive; particularly in situations that required maintenance or other technical support fast”. Audico’s Project Leader Tero Torenius was often praised for his work.
”During the renovation, Tero almost became a part of our work community”, Laitinen and Pesonen laugh, reminiscing about the incidences during the renovation.
After the corporate executive committee had given its Finnish office a special permit, Olli Mäkinen, who is in charge of Audico’s AV control and programming, flew to White & Case’s headquarters in New York. The purpose of the trip was to meet the architects of White & Case and get Mäkinen acquainted with the technical manuals. Project Sales Manager Mikko Tenhunen, on the other hand, began close communication with White & Case’s office in the Philippines, where the project management of the company was located at the time. “Starting from a list of accepted microphones, we received precise guidelines on what the spaces should have. The services Audico had to offer matched well with the given requirements and instructions”.
On group level, White & Case have set out certain standards for not only brands, but also functionalities that ought to be found in offices around the globe. “For example, the shine on a table’s surface and the acoustics of rooms must be on a certain level. These are due to the fact that we host many video conferences and we want different offices to look the same on screen”. Thus, equality is one of the main principles of White & Case. Work is done with the same equipment and knowledge whether the person working is the CEO of the company or just a rookie lawyer in a skyscraper in Singapore or in a Finnish Heritage Agency protected building on Aleksanterinkatu, Helsinki.
The new offices of White & Case are located on two floors. On the fifth floor, customers are greeted with a waiting room filled with natural light, four conference rooms and one multi-function room. The largest of the spaces, Väinämöinen, can host up to 20 people. Vellamo, Louhi, Aino and Ilmatar are traditional conference rooms of which two are equipped with the necessary setups for video conferences. Väinämöinen can even be transformed from a conference room into a classroom-like space or a relaxed lounge with a bar and sofas. The chosen AV solutions are adjustable according to the setting of the room.
”Works like a charm”, Laitinen and Pesonen summarise the designers’ side of the project management during the renovation. Mikko Tenhunen from Audico emphasises that what made this particular project special was incorporating AV into the design since the very beginning. “The thought of doing the project otherwise feels crazy, since AV solutions have to do with absolutely everything”, Sevi Pesonen says and reflects on all the conversations he had with furniture manufacturers when trying to come up with solutions to neatly hide the technique inside tables and desks. “Our spaces are so pretty and functional that we’re often asked if our office can be rented”.
Besides Audico’s professionals, others were involved in renewing the office spaces of White & Case, too. Interior designers Gullstén & Inkinen Oy were in charge of the look and functionalities of the space and the consultant for the renovation was Marco Savolainen from CBRE Finland.
The results are functional office spaces and an invoice that did not go over budget due to audio-visual solutions. The global management was also pleased with its decision to let Audico execute all audio-visual plans and solutions. “How could anyone be unhappy when everything works?”