Meeting Spaces: Westchester County's Office Conference Rooms

A peek into some of our most motivating meeting spaces

Despite our affinity for (okay, obsession with) technology, a tweet, text, voicemail, email, or conversation via Skype can’t match the richness of face-to-face interaction. Being “in the moment” with actual humans in a single location allows us to fully experience the small joys of a shared chuckle, an arched eyebrow, a heartfelt belly-laugh, and even the occasional “aha” moment. The best of these exchanges occur in rooms where artful design, state-of-the-art equipment, and thoughtful use of space allow office mates the freedom to brainstorm, plan, and exchange information in distraction-free comfort.

Photo by Ken Stabile

Pyramid Power
Professional Indemnity Agency, Inc. (PIA)
37 Radio Circle Dr, Mount Kisco

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An underwriting agency that bills itself as a market leader in kidnap and ransom insurance, PIA purchased the former Dansk warehouse in Mount Kisco in the ’90s and hired Franz & Franze Architecture of Mount Kisco for a multi-phase remodeling of the concrete behemoth. “We embraced the idea of installing a state-of-the-art corporate headquarters within a sort of fortress,” says project architect Vincent Franze. “High-tech meets medieval. The stacked conference spaces are consistent with this idea.” With little natural light in the former warehouse, Franze opted to punch two, 25-square-foot, pyramid-shaped skylights into the roof, one of which tops this light-filled second-story “floating” conference space. Used for meetings by day, the 864-square-foot space also provides star-gazing opportunities for night-time gatherings.

Photo by Ken Stabile

A Clear Choice
The Dannon Company, Inc.
100 Hillside Ave, White Plains

Dannon, maker of the world’s top-selling yogurt, allowed each of its departments to design its own meeting space at the company’s White Plains headquarters. This Space-Age green “Huddle Room,” selected by HR, is reminiscent of the transport tubes on the original Star Trek series and proved to be the perfect space for small, private discussions.
With a circular pedestal table for four and sliding translucent doors and panels, the windowless space, with its simple, blue overhead light fixture, is designed to keep outside distractions at bay. One of four such rooms in the building, it is frequently used for employment interviews. Dannon executive Michael Neuwirth recalled his initial interview at the company and the favorable impression he got from the space. “The room’s design was part of what attracted me to the company,” says Neuwirth, who is now the company’s senior director of public relations.

Photo by Ken Stabile

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The Oval Office
RPW Group
1133 Westchester Ave, White Plains

When RPW Group purchased 1133 Westchester Avenue from IBM in 2006, it also acquired this 23-by-15-foot mahogany table created for the IBM board. “We built our conference room around it,” says Chairman and CEO Robert P. Weisz, who also designed the space. While the central table seats 25 easily, the room can accommodate up to 100.
The table features leather writing inserts, and the oval shape is repeated in the overhead lighting panel and the oval design in the carpeting. The room features dual, motorized projector screens; high-speed Internet access; and Polycom phone connection; users also can video-conference with their own equipment. According to Weisz, the roughly 2,000-square-foot room is in high demand from his tenants, including the Westchester County Association and ITT. It is available to all RPW tenants. With adjacent commercial kitchen and catering staging areas, tenants can—and do—hold meetings there that run from breakfast through dinner. They certainly have the table for it.

Photo by Ken Stabile

Arc de Triomphe
The Gleeson-Israel Gateway Center
265 Saw Mill River Rd, Hawthorne

Founded in 1949, Arc of Westchester is the oldest and largest agency in Westchester serving both children and adults with developmental disabilities and their families. Started by a small group of parents, Arc today has a $55 million annual budget and more than 600 employees. In addition to housing its own board meetings, this spacious room is used for presentations, family sessions, training workshops, art shows—and recently hosted a delegation of local elected officials. The soothing, gray-green palette on the chairs and carpeting complements the landscaping visible through a wall of windows, while video and telephone conferencing capabilities, a large HD television, and a pull-down screen with projector ensure state-of-the art communications capability. Generally seating 50, the room can hold 75 when configured in a theatre style, and adjoins a kitchen/lounge. Executive Director Richard P. Swierat describes the space as “a magnet for the community to become engaged with people with developmental disabilities.”

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Photo by Ken Stabile

C.W. Brown Inc.
1 Labriola Ct, Armonk

You expect über-energy efficiency and green design from C.W. Brown, the Armonk-based general contracting and construction management firm that, last March, became the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) platinum-certified building in Westchester. But environmentally sensitive can still be chic and sleek, as is evident in this nature-inspired meeting space designed by Teal Postula of Dennis Noskin Architects of Tarrytown.
To create the translucent panels, Postula used Varia Ecoresin, manufactured by 3form and made partly from recycled resin and organic materials. The furniture is reclaimed, while the carpet and padding are composed partly of recycled materials including plastic bottles. LED track lighting, high-efficiency fluorescent fixtures, low- or no-VOC paints, and room-specific temperature controls further reduce the room’s energy footprint.

Photo by Ken Stabile

Accommodating as many as 80, the space hosted County Executive Robert Astorino and Congresswomen Nan Hayworth and Nita Lowey, among other guests, when the company moved in. “Having a conference room that showcases our efforts and allows our business colleagues to utilize the space is exactly what we hoped for,” says President and CEO Renee Brown. “Our conference room has become a destination of its own, and we couldn’t be more proud.”

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