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Zoe Mutter, deputy editor at AV Magazine explores the event and broadcast spaces playing a starring role in Facebook’s new London head office. The following is an abridged version of a piece that appeared in AV Magazine in April 2018.
To coincide with Facebook celebrating its 10th year in the UK, the social media giant set out to create a new tech hub for its employees at a seven-storey location in the centre of London. As one of Facebook’s largest bases outside the US, the new office features a multitude of spaces that promote efficiency and collaboration amongst its 800 staff.
The two-year project at the 24,000 sq ft building in Rathbone Square comprised a complete building refit, featuring two dedicated event spaces, one café/event space and one managed studio and green room.
To deliver this technically sophisticated AV/broadcast hybrid project, Facebook teamed up with AVMI due to its scale, previous experience and passion for delivering large projects of a similar size and complexity.
Rathbone Square features Facebook’s largest deployment of LED. As the company moves away from traditional video walls and projection it opted for Planar displays, already featuring in other Facebook locations. A total of 219 panels feature across three different spaces, with the largest wall being an ultra-wide coming in at over nine metres long.
The largest event space can accommodate 2,000 people and features multiple supporting pillars, so larger LED walls with Planar repeater screens were necessary to cover dead spots in the room.
In addition to the trio of event spaces, Facebook’s new London home boasts a state of the art broadcast studio and green room which is futureproofed to ensure additional equipment can be added as required.
As well as needing to be large enough to accommodate all employees, the event spaces also needed to offer the highest quality broadcasts using Facebook Live, recordings and webinars to stream events.
One of the standout features of Facebook’s new spaces is the audio set-up which is predominantly based around Meyer Sound, having already been adopted in Facebook’s other offices with great success.
All the spaces are linked via a central control room which controls all audio and video sources. This includes cameras, program and stream video switching, lighting control, engineering control, live stream moderation, comms, studio audio and KVM control – meaning multiple events can be run in all four spaces concurrently.
To connect these broadcast ready spaces, we installed one of the most sophisticated rack rooms that AVMI has delivered to date. The rack rooms alone contain eight full size racks and 12km of SDI cabling, with 32km of cabling fixed across the entire site, all neatly laid on exposed ceiling trays to compliment the open and utilitarian look of the building.
Facebook’s new offices at Rathbone Square represent some of the most technically sophisticated event spaces in the world, made possible by AV technology. “It connects us and allows us to work collaboratively at a global scale,” adds Morgan Cameron, in charge of the event spaces at Facebook.
Image credit: Sue Foll