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    Game-Changing Design: How CDI Furnished Keyano College’s SMG Esports Arena for Peak Performance

    Post by CDI Spaces
    June 20, 2024
    Game-Changing Design: How CDI Furnished Keyano College’s SMG Esports Arena for Peak Performance

    In recent years, college sports have evolved to include a new dynamic genre of competition—Esports. As tournaments and collaborations multiplied, students across the globe united to engage in virtual contests. Leading the way in Canada, Keyano College established itself at the forefront by launching its own robust Esports community and constructing a state-of-the-art customized arena.

    With CDI by their side, Keyano opened its SMG Esports Arena in January 2024. The facility houses 26 computers, three console stations, flexible common areas, and a varsity stage. This space has everything student-athletes and more casual users need for peak performance and comfort while they play.

    Building on the Foundation of a Trusted Partnership

    CDI's collaboration with Keyano College is one with a rich history. Derek Burrowes from CDI explains, "We've worked with the college for decades, starting in the early to mid-2000s. We've provided furniture for classrooms, lounges, and staff offices across their Fort McMurray campus." 

    With this design partnership, CDI was Keyano's first choice for tackling the Esports arena build. They were confident the CDI team would rise to this unique challenge with enthusiasm and expertise—having seen them tackle various spatial and technical obstacles in the past.

    Early Involvement and Strategic Planning

    When design plans began, Keyano wasn't settled on a space for their arena, but they were ready to fund the project. Their priority was determining their furniture strategy to guarantee that they could accommodate student needs and the required technology in the arena. With 3D renderings in hand, CDI partnered with the Keyano team to ensure optimal functionality and aesthetic cohesion. "We brought in the furniture a year before the space was ready," says Burrowes, "ultimately, seeing the space helped us streamline our vision. The 3D renderings were helpful and received rave reviews from the Keyano team."

    Developing the Details

    Getting in even before there was technically a 'ground floor' gave CDI time to explore the depths of the Esports world. The CDI team dove into a typical day in the life of a gamer, trends, language, hot topics, and reasons people love their Esports! They quickly learned that there were unique features they wanted to incorporate in this cutting-edge space. Not only did the space need to be practical and user-friendly, but it also needed to have a cool factor that would delight and engage college students who were already fans of Esports. 

    Collaborating with Keyano was mainly done virtually—with the CDI team in Edmonton and the college in Fort McMurray. Using their signature strategy development process, CDI also pulled out the desires and visions of the Keyano Esports team—what they wanted the space to do, how the Esports arena impacts the college overall, and what key elements they would love to see in the finished space.

    Unlike most educational and workspaces, this arena needed to primarily feature dark colors, accented by school colors, for a cohesive and school spirit-filled experience. Mavix chairs endorsed by well-known Esports celebrities added flair to the space while offering excellent ergonomic benefits like lumbar support, adjustable arms, and seat-cooling features to suit a diverse range of gamers. 


    Streamlining Installation

    Even though the furniture was ready before the space, installation still happened in CDI's strategic signature stages. The team utilized advanced design software to create 3D renderings of proposed layouts. This helped the Keyano team visualize the space from different angles and identify potential issues so that CDI could make corrections before the final installation. 

    "Typically, the renderings are agreed upon and then given to the installers. They eliminate 90% of the questions we would otherwise encounter while increasing everyone's confidence in the implementation and installation process," Burrowes remarked. This meticulous planning and visualization made the setup on-site a smooth process with minimal changes needed.

    Planning for a Range of Gaming Needs

    While the core aim of the Esports arena was, of course, to engage students in regular gaming and offer exciting competitive opportunities, Keyano wanted to use the arena's furniture to accommodate a range of gaming needs. The team considered student drop-ins, birthday parties, and even corporate retreats, making planning common areas challenging. Modular tables and soft, moveable seating that encourages movement and different gaming postures were incorporated into the arena plan to achieve this versatile space. 

    Making the Most of Technology Challenges

    Esports require power, data, and equipment that isn't typical in a work or educational space. CDI kept cords out of the way with special plugs in each desk. They ensured adequate space for teams to play, spectate, and move around the space by setting desks up in strategic zones. The team also made computer towers visible intentionally to show off the flashy lights and styling of the hardware—a look unique to esport spaces. 

    Student Celebrations and Future Dreams

    The feedback from Keyano students and staff has been overwhelmingly positive. Burrowes says, "The students have found that the space met their needs, and they're winning Esports games, which we love to see." As the program grows, the new Esports arena will accommodate a scaling program and support Keyano in creating buzz and visibility around its Esports initiative. 

    CDI's strategic furniture solutions and collaborative approach played a pivotal role in bringing Keyano College's SMG Esports Arena to life. By understanding the vision, meeting the space's functional and aesthetic needs, and utilizing advanced technology for planning, CDI helped create a facility that enhances performance while prioritizing comfort. 


    Get CDI experts involved early on in your project to ensure a flexible strategy for your spaces. From inspiring students to supporting a diverse staff in the workplace—we've got you covered. Schedule your free consultation to discuss your needs here


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