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Empowering Collaboration and Connection in an Innovative Workplace

Office space with automated shades on windows half down

New York, New York



Lighting Designer

One Lux Studio

General Contractor

J.T. Magen


Syska Hennessy Group


How does a global investment firm reimagine its corporate headquarters? For the BlackRock team, it started with an ambitious goal— co-locate its 4,000 New York City employees from three separate offices into a single, one-million-square-foot headquarters in Manhattan’s Hudson Yards, designed around one of the company’s core principles: “We Are One BlackRock,” a maxim that prioritizes working collaboratively and without silos.  


To bring this vision to life, BlackRock curated an experienced design and construction team that recognized the critical role lighting and shading would play in making the entire space feel unified, comfortable, and adaptable. To meet today’s needs and tomorrow’s changing requirements, the proposed lighting control solution had to be smarter and more innovative than anything the team had previously used. The cloud-connected Athena control system with Athena wireless nodes, tunable white lighting, and automated shades proved to be the right fit.

“When we first heard the concept of One BlackRock, that was a guiding light for us. As a global organization, they’re all part of one another, and we couldn’t really manifest that concept without the lighting.”

Suzanne Carlson

Principal, NBBJ

Design Goals
  1. Consolidate employees in a single New York City location to encourage collaboration and emphasize a unified culture
  2. Establish an inclusive working environment that prioritizes employee well-being and comfort  
  3. Create an adaptive space that will serve BlackRock’s needs today, and in the future
  4. Design to prioritize energy reduction, limit material waste, and achieve LEED Platinum certification

Tasked with building out 15 stories in one of New York’s largest commercial office towers, the project’s sheer scale, combined with the desire for welcoming spaces within the overall framework, was a defining challenge for the design team. Inspired by New York City itself, architects at NBBJ likened each floorplate to its own miniature city, approaching the design like a scaled-down urban plan that balances group-work space and focus areas, mirroring the places of community and respite in Manhattan. Each “cityscape” had to work independently and within the comprehensive plan.

To make the most of the building’s floor-to-ceiling windows and abundant natural light, the integrated lighting and shading solution would need to draw natural light deep into the space while mitigating heat gain and glare. Glare was especially challenging since, in addition to standard sun glare, the proximity of other glass-façaded buildings causes sunlight to reflect back into the space at unusual angles throughout the day.  

The system also needs to easily accommodate changes to layout and programming over time—continuing to deliver cutting-edge performance for years to come. “We [needed to create] a variety of spaces – open and enclosed, large and small – that are adaptable and flexible. I fully expect to walk in here five years from now and see something very different, but equally exciting, than what we have today,” explained Philip Pitruzzello, Managing Director, BlackRock. Finally, the project had to be completed on time and budget, no small ask during a global manufacturing supply-chain crisis.


The Solution

Investing in innovative wireless technology was crucial to delivering the right solution for BlackRock. The teams at One Lux Studio and J.T. Magen chose Lutron’s Athena system with the newly released Athena wireless node to ensure performance, flexibility, and efficiency throughout the space. Athena wireless node is an ultra small luminaire-level-lighting-control (LLLC) installed directly into the LED fixture, enabling lighting to be easily rezoned and reprogrammed – no rewiring required. BlackRock has already taken advantage of this flexibility: “We’ve already gone through changing business needs, and the lighting control component has been seamless. We just reprogrammed the wireless switch on the walls and the fixtures. We’ve done that and it’s really been wonderful. I think this project has actually changed the norm for what people expect from a lighting control system. It sets the bar higher,” says Barry Novick, Technology Strategy, BlackRock.


“The big advantage to this job was that one wire that connects all the light fixtures is gone. All the addressing, all the programming—it all happens over the air [with the Lutron app].”

Stephen Margulies

Partner, One Lux Studio

Choosing a wireless solution had sweeping effects on the job, specifically simplifying installation, which led to big labor savings and contributed to lower materials costs. “Using the Athena wireless node saved us time and money; there was no need to pull additional wires which translated to significantly quicker installation time,” explained Jay Rimatzki, Account Executive, J.T. Magen. Ultimately, over 9,000 Athena wireless nodes were installed directly into a mix of USAI downlights, Axis linear luminaries, and SSL pendants throughout the space, delivering tremendous flexibility and actionable energy and occupancy data while maintaining a clean, uncluttered ceiling.


Democratizing Daylight

Tunable white lighting was installed throughout the open office areas and programmed to change with the time of day to support the occupant’s daily routines. Stephen Margulies of One Lux Studio describes the organic transitions, “You don’t notice it changing because it happens over time. We have four triggers throughout the day starting with the “morning” scene as the offices open, fading to “afternoon” at noon, and then to “evening” half an hour before sunset. The “nighttime scene” is triggered when they shut this place down, which might happen at ten or 11:00 at night.” These scenes draw that natural-feeling light deeper into the floorplate so everyone works under light that feels right—whether they have a window seat or not.


In tandem with the programmed lighting scenes, Lutron shades on all windows adjust automatically over the course of the day preserving access to city views while minimizing uncomfortable glare and solar heat gain. An important plus is that the shades move gently, and in unison, avoiding aesthetic distractions inside and outside the space. 


“Daylight is really important. But bringing in daylight and allowing that daylight to penetrate all the way deep into the floors so that everyone has access to natural light was very important. We have no perimeter offices or room on the general work floor, so everyone gets to enjoy the light. We call it democratizing daylight.”

Barry Novick

Technology Strategy, BlackRock

Service, Support, and Success

Beyond system design and installation, success depends on getting the right service and support. Lutron’s 25+ years of wireless expertise and commitment to caring for the customer were critical to BlackRock’s confidence in choosing Lutron for the project.


According to Stephen Margulies, Lutron’s uncompromising support was a game-changer, “We like working with people who care about us, who make sure the job is going smoothly and have the ability to interact with all the different wheels that make a project like this go. Because we don’t always figure out everything perfectly, we try to do the best we can, but having people who make sure that our interests are protected, and our clients’ interests are protected [was crucial]. Not everything was perfect on this job, but the people working on it made it perfect.” 



The new, LEED-platinum certified headquarters goes beyond gathering employees together in a physical space. The design invites collaboration and connection, allowing employees to interact in the ways that work best for them. The goal of One BlackRock can be felt throughout the space, from small meeting rooms to the 400-person auditorium, to the showstopping oculus at the top of the main stairwell that reminds employees they’re part of a larger whole, under the same stars and working towards the same goals as their global colleagues.


Lighting plays a key role every step of the way. “We broke a lot of new ground in this building. Lighting control is one of the many areas. Lutron was the best and only manufacturer up to the job,” said Barry Novick.  The new headquarters exceeds expectations of comfort, efficiency, and flexibility. It celebrates the people in the space and honors BlackRock’s quest for sustainable and future-forward solutions.

Interested in adding Athena and Athena wireless node to your next office project? Learn more about Athena here and more about Athena wireless node here.