Curating the Acoustic Journey at One Vanderbilt

Curating the Acoustic Journey at One Vanderbilt

Acoustics played a key role in the development of One Vanderbilt’s SUMMIT. Kenzo Digital, the immersive storyteller, has taken the 1,401-foot-high canvas of SUMMIT and created one of the largest, most mind-bending art experiences in the world. Acoustically, Cerami’s role was to give him that canvas.

The journey to “Air” (a mirrored 600 square meter space offering unprecedented views of Manhattan) is built around the concept of creating an immersive experience using sight and sound. Mixing sound, lighting, and production design, the complex interplay between the mirrors and skyline creates the impression of limitless space.

Cerami was brought in to make sure that the acoustic fidelity of Kenzo Digital’s vision was brought to life while maintaining the acoustic integrity of the building. Because sound is subjective (in other words, you have to hear it for yourself), Cerami’s team of acoustic and simulation experts were able to take the output of complex calculations and turn them into subjective experiences from the entry level up to the SUMMIT, using our 3D modeling software. This allowed SL Green, the developers, to “experience” each space before it was built.

Perhaps the biggest acoustic challenge was the floor-to-ceiling mirrors that make up “Air.” Not surprisingly, mirrors create huge challenges for acoustic designers (due to these surfaces being acoustically, as well as visually, reflective) and it was up to Cerami to guide the design team on what to expect in the finished space. Cerami simulated the acoustic experience in a full-scale mockup of the space, adding in the effect of various levels of occupancy, to educate and guide the design team.

Of particular concern was how to ensure the dramatic music emanating from the SUMMIT elevators would not permeate the building’s core shafts and impact tenant floors as they travel between the Welcome Zone and SUMMIT areas throughout the day. This was accomplished by acoustically modeling the elevator as it passes by each tenant floor using the source audio track. These results were presented as a Virtual Reality simulation for their clients’ approval and sign off.

Much is being made about the SUMMIT, but the same acoustic care was given to all 73 floors of the base building and first-class amenities throughout. This included the challenge to create an intimate setting inside Le Pavillon, Daniel Boulud’s modern ground floor restaurant featuring 40-foot ceiling heights. Among Cerami’s solutions was a custom cantilevered acoustic ceiling, creating a vibe that changes from expansive to intimate, as guests make their way to their tables, ensuring the ability to carry on conversations once seated.