New York

With a build-it-and-they-will-come zeal, Millennial entrepreneurs Christopher Kelly and Ryan Simonetti developed a new kind of conference center in 2009—one based on a full-service hospitality model (think boutique hotel). The goal, says Kelly: to support the needs and aesthetics of both young start-ups and traditional businesses “from Google to Goldman.”

Three years later, with three Manhattan locations—all retrofits of existing office space—the New York–based venture (at the time called Sentry Centers) reported a growth rate of 3,463 percent, with revenues exceeding $15 million in 2012. Poised to expand after securing $10 million in financing last year, the partners renamed the company Convene, to better convey its mission, which, Kelly explains, “is to bring people together.”

They also tapped Gensler to create their first branded facility at 101 Park Avenue—a prototype, with a “kit of parts” that could be adjusted to suit future leased properties. Taking advantage of the generous glazing and street-level entrance of the largely sub-grade 20,000-square-foot site, the architects devised an inviting open lounge up front, with a concierge, café tables, and bold circular light fixtures that echo Convene's logo. The circular pattern continues on glass partitions that allow borrowed daylight to penetrate the various-sized meeting rooms throughout the deep space.

Designed for their use to be understood intuitively, these rooms feature state-of-the-art technology, modular furniture, and reconfigurable built-ins outfitted with necessities such as coat closets, printers, and office supplies, to help enhance occupant productivity. Nearby, self-service Nourish bars provide on-trend food and beverages prepared by Convene's staff in its small commercial-grade kitchen.

Fully booked during its soft launch, Convene 101 Park adds a level of human-centered design to an already successful formula. Recently named New York's fastest-growing company by Crain's New York Business and one of America's 100 most promising by Forbes, Convene opened its first branded facility outside of Manhattan this March in Virginia—built on Gensler's prototype.

1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020

Size: 20,000 square feet

Total construction cost: withheld

Completion Date: November 2013


Client: Convene, Ryan Simonetti and Christopher Kelly                                                                    

Owner: Kalikow

1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020

Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Strategist: Amanda Carroll
Design Director: Mark Morton
Designer: Ana Gonzalez
Principal: Rocco Giannetti
Project Manager: Patricia Cueva
Job Captain: Jesus Diaz
Design Director (Branding & Graphics): Beth Novitsky
Project Manager (Branding & Graphics): Lisa Tatsuuma
Graphic Designer: Steven Johnson

Architect of record:
Rocco Giannetti

Interior designer: see above

MEP- WB Engineering: Abraham Algabyali, Senior Project Manager

Structural: Dubinksy Engineers


Lighting: HDLC- Michael Castelli & Michale Hew Wing

Kitchen Consultant: Jacobs Doland Beer/ Gary Jacobs

Audio Visual: HB Communications- David Fretz

Information Technology: TekScape/ Minhua Zhu

Furniture Manufacturer: Haworth- Nicole Freilich

Furniture Dealer: Key International/. Justin bubeau

Expeditor: Brookbridge Consulting Services, Inc./ Eileen Murphy

Signage: Precision Signs and L&M Signs

Environmental Graphics: Drive 21 and Designtex

General contractor: JRM Construction Management, LLC / David B. McWilliams ú

Convene 101 Park © Chris Leonard/Gensler
Convene 101 Park © Paúl Rivera – archiphoto



Operable Partitions:Modernfold Encore Panels on RT#100 Track

Closers: Dorma RTS88

Pulls: Dorma Locking Ladder Pulls

Interior finishes
Acoustical ceilings: Armstrong Ultima- 30”x30” ; Newmat

Suspension grid: Armstrong Silhuette XL Grid system

Demountable partitions: PURE Enclose™ - Glass walls with pivoting doors

Cabinetwork and custom woodwork: Nordic Interiors

Paints and stains: Benjamin Moore

Wall coverings: Carnegie Xorel ; Knoll Ultrasuede

Paneling: DFB Track-Tex HT system

Plastic laminate: Chemetal; Formica

Special surfacing: Simulated Stone: Caeserstone

Floor and wall tile (cite where used): Nemo Tile; Novabell

Resilient flooring: Flexco

Carpet: Interface

Special interior finishes unique to this project: Silikal Quartz Flooring in kitchen; Crane Composites/ Fiberglas wall panel in kitchen; Ardex Flooring

Office furniture: Haworth

Reception furniture: Datesweiser

Fixed seating:  Chairmasters Banquette

Chairs: Haworth

Tables: Haworth Planes, Patterns, & Compose, Davis, Cumberland

Upholstery: Haworth Collection

Other furniture: USM Cart

Interior ambient lighting: Artemide, Winona Lighting; Skydome, Versalux, Zumbtobel

Downlights: Zumbtobel

Dimming System or other lighting controls: Douglas

Kohler Plumbing Fixtures
Filtrine drinking Fountain
Dornbracht- faucet
Elkay- Sink