Think Bank (IBM Credit Union)
Theory and Practice. Our consulting practice and portfolio are reflective of the different approaches to design, research and testing that our clients desire. Some of our work is responsive to questions our clients raise, and consulting that works to resolve those questions. Other projects are more about looking at the questions and wondering if those are the relevant questions and ways to approach a project.
These two different approaches can both be very useful to clients, the former in using our tools and process to resolve their concerns by testing, modeling, benchmarking and designing solutions.
The later approach, a more philosophical look at what is needed, can actually change a company’s culture and inculcate the value of definitional research, using subjective measurement of the user to clarify what is really a user centered process.
This process of solving client defined problems or helping the client to define the problems describes the broad range of our work. In the case, the client contacted us independently at groundbreaking, as he was not satisfied with many of the performance details of his building. We were retained to redesign the exterior daylight shielding, the glazing, the interior lighting, the color schedule, the acoustics, the office layout and an extensive AV presentation program.
Mariucci Hockey Arena – U of MN
Specialties. In the product development field, we consult in many product types including appliances, vehicles, audio visual, medical, aircraft, tools, lawn products and many others. With a specialty in human perception, we approach each of these product types with a special focus on human comfort, performance and preference. Many of our product projects have been published. We founded the first sound quality collaboration, the Sound Quality Working Group (SQWG),. We have convened 20 SQWG sound quality conferences at Orfield Labs.
In the architectural field, we offer the only multi-disciplinary building performance consulting package in the country, providing consulting in acoustics, lighting, daylighting, thermal comfort, indoor air quality, audio visual design and preverbal subjective research on perceptual comfort and perceptual preference.
On this project for a hockey arena, we designed the first task-ambient lighting system in sports arena use, with indirect HID lighting on a matte white ceiling and directed task lighting over the ice to optimize the ability to follow the hockey puck. The client claims it is the best collegiate hockey arena in the U.S.
Skyline Display – Burnsville, MN
Philosophy. It is our belief that clients and design teams can complete exceptional projects in normal budget ranges if the focus is on the user groups, and the budgets favor this focus. Excellent projects are more about knowledge and the application of good process than about budgets. And the quality of projects can be measured using the tools we have developed over many years.
On the Skyline Display project, the president brought us in at groundbreaking, as he was concerned that many of the solutions that were planned would not work to his satisfaction. We redesigned the daylighting, lighting, acoustics and layout to insure fewer conflicts between factory and office workers.
Minneapolis Armory Renovation
Summary. Whether our clients are looking for single discipline consulting assistance or comprehensive research-based design and testing, the firm has an extensive track record in these fields, as our projects will demonstrate.
On the Minneapolis Armory, it was being redesigned from a military armory to an entertainment space, and we were retained to resolve the acoustics of the huge barrel vault. An article from the Minneapolis Star by entertainment reporter Chris Riemenschneider noted:
"Making the place sound better was just one of many improvements made by Abdul and his team. They hired acoustic technicians from Minneapolis’ famed Orfield Labs, who recommended a spray-on foam for the ceiling and wall panels to soften the sonic bounce. Acoustic drapes and bass traps were also installed."
“When you get up to sports arenas, music is usually the redheaded stepchild, and things like acoustics aren’t a big part of the equation,” Abdul said. “But we definitely had music at the forefront of our considerations.”