Adapting to modern work aesthetics
Farringdon, UK March 2022… Second-hand fashion marketplace and Gen-Z app, Depop has elevated itself during the pandemic – gaining over 100% growth in gross merchandise sales (GMS) and revenues during 2020 and boosting its market presence further with an acquisition from Etsy in July 2021. This growth has led the brand to move from its Shoreditch base on Curtain Road to a 30,000 sq. ft office space at 20 Farringdon Road – furnished with an aesthetically-pleasing design and a full-scale AV install by Flipside Soundsystem.
A solid solution for a larger scope
Having previously worked on Depop’s last project on Curtain Road, Flipside were aware of the type of necessities the IT and Tech department required. However, while the Curtain Road install was more focussed on a single event space, the Farringdon space boasts a more flexible open area to be used for both companywide events but also for employees to host their own virtual meetings. The full spec required a repurposed install for an event space, a seminar area, a reception area, a canteen as well as seven small meeting and three large board rooms.
“This project was a lot more challenging because of the nature of the spec,” recalls James Cooper, Managing Director of Flipside. “We were fitting in with Oktra who were doing the office fit out – they were refurbing the whole office ready for them to move in, so they were looking at things like the IT infrastructure, they were putting up new walls and changing quite a lot of the space – so the nature of having to fit in with a general contractor like that has its own challenges, but in the end, everything worked out really well – it’s a pretty solid system.”
Completely networked with two main racks, fibre-linked to each other at either end of the building, the new install has allowed Depop to have total visibility. Audio Technica ES954 hanging microphone arrays populate each of the meeting rooms, accompanied by a mixture of P100 and P200 Birdog cameras. Powered off PoE and all networks, the board rooms have been connected into Chrome boxes via USB while also running NDI out into the system, allowing the IT team to patch anything they would like into their meetings and then bridge that into their AV system at either end.
“This was a much larger scope to the last fit out,” adds Hayden Duffy, Head of IT at Depop. “We knew we wanted at least a couple of event spaces with some modularity at so we could have a central hub of control and Flipside have accommodated that without Comms rooms, so we are able to sit in out stock room, effectively put a streaming rig there and we can sit elsewhere and control everything without issue.”
Previously relying on Zoom, the Depop team now use Google Meet as default across their office space. This initially posed a challenge as Dante would be the ideal option for modulating this large-scale space, however Google Meet hardware requires a Chrome box which won’t run Dante virtual sound card. Luckily, the Flipside team found a perfect end solution.
“It wasn’t the simplest of tasks, but in the end, it worked out really well. We’ve added in some nice touches – for example, employees now have the option to broadcast their event space to any board room which can then be broadcast to the whole building without latency and without having to bounce it all through Google Meet. They can even do this simultaneously and have a companywide video conference meeting going on whilst internally broadcasting it downstairs to the events spaces with full visibility.”
Flipside has worked simultaneously with the design team, providing equipment that is so in-keeping with the office’s aesthetic, they’re almost invisible.
“The end result really impressed me,” Duffy adds.
“I walk into the meeting rooms and forget there’s any tech in there – from a first glance, the array mics dropped from the ceiling could be considered pieces of art within the space, but they’re actually tech! We wanted the visual equipment to stand out and the audio equipment to blend in and Flipside have done a brilliant job of that.”
Duffy concludes: “Flipside made such a good impression first time round in the first office that we simply couldn’t look at anyone else for this one. Even when this project scope was much larger, they took it on brilliantly and succeeded our expectations.”