A perfect integration
Having already worked with the client on his London apartment, Perfect Integration flew out to Monaco to work on the customer’s new forever home project. Amy Wallington finds out if this really was the perfect integration.
What at first seemed to be a small, one-storey house in Monaco turned out to be a large, whole home automation project that was multi-award-winning at last year’s CEDIA Awards. Split into two separate entries for the awards programme, the cinema installation won ‘Life Lived Best at Home EMEA’ and achieved a highly commended accolade for ‘Best Home Cinema EMEA Level III’, while the overall install for the entire property won ‘Best Integrated Home EMEA Level III’ and ‘Best Integrated Home Global’.
Perfect Integration installed a Crestron control system with multiple touchscreens around the house. Although the property is packed full of technology, much of it is hidden. The client, a very classic man who liked technology integrated with design, was very involved in the install as a whole to ensure everything was done to his standard.
Integrator, Michael Robinson says: “We really gained his trust. There was a lot of confusion at first about who was doing what as the architect had persuaded him to bring in so many different local trades, but we managed to consolidate it and do most of it ourselves. He said to the architect, ‘you’re going to work with Michael and get this job sorted out, I trust him to get me what I want’, so that was really nice to hear.”
Clearly an install to be marvelled at, Perfect Integration ensured the client was very much involved in every aspect to make sure he was happy with the work and progress. Only fitting the best of the best, the integrator pulled out all the stops to ensure the client had exactly what he wanted. “He even allowed us to do R&D on his project to ensure the interfaces were absolutely specific to him. It’s not the norm; usually clients do not want you doing research and development on their build, but we were lucky here. I think we spent about 100 days on the project for programming, including user interface development and customisation for him.”
Multiple cameras were installed around the property to give the client full coverage, and the cameras can be viewed on all the touchscreens around the house. “We worked with the security consultant to choose the locations for all the CCTV to monitor the perimeter of the property and the inside. We made sure none of the cameras were mounted on the face of the building, they are all cleverly hidden within the garden and the garden maintenance company have a brief on where bushes and trees need to be cut back to ensure the cameras have constant full view. The security consultant monitors the CCTV to highlight any breaches.”
The client has a touchscreen in his garage at the height of his car windows to that he can check the CCTV when he’s driving in or out of his garage. He can also check the cameras via his phone as well as the other touchscreens around the house.
Robinson continues: “We designed a very secure network for him, including Cisco main hub network hardware and Ruckus Wi-Fi based on the fact that he’s very conscious of security. When you configure those products correctly, they’ve got very good anti-hacking and anti-intrusion algorithms and technology within them. So we specified that whole system to ensure that he had a completely secure network.”
The cinema in this house was a prominent feature and something the homeowner wanted to be personal to him. Originally the architect designed a very modern cinema with wooden panels everywhere. “Not only did we know the client wouldn’t like the design, but it would have been awful acoustically too,” explained Robinson. “Having wooden panels all over the walls would definitely have impacted the sound.”
Robinson took the design to the client and asked his thoughts. As expected, he wasn’t keen, so Perfect Integration took over with the overall design of the room. Explaining that they could make it like almost anything he wanted, the client came up with the idea of having it looking similar to the Paris Opera House.
“We came up with the design for the entire room and made it fit around our equipment too,” he adds. “We designed the lighting, the elevations, we added pillars on the walls and decorations on the ceilings – the architect helped us to refine that part. We also came up with the curved ceiling that would allow us to build a box above the ceiling where the speakers would fit. We also designed the podium at the front to hide the AV equipment. We designed how the projector would sit and hide in the room behind. We also showed him where the seating would go and how the stairs would work. We worked with the architect to fine tune some of the design and they did their bits. The room came out really well and the client was really pleased with it and praised us on our extra work in the room.”
To specify what AV systems were built into the cinema, the integrator took the client to ISE. Being a busy man, the client had five hours, so Robinson met him and planned to take him to seven stands. “I took him to the Bowers & Wilkins stand and it was the year they released the Diamond in-wall series of speakers. The client said that he already had the Diamond bookshelf speakers and really liked them. They showed us a few 15-minute clips in the cinema room and straight afterwards, the client said, ‘I’m sold, I want this exact sound system and I want my cinema to perform exactly like this.’ I also took him to Barco and he was really impressed with the Boulder projector and decided he wanted that.
“I also took him to Fortress Seating, they are fantastic when talking to clients. They took him through the entire catalogue and talked him through the specific options for the dimensions of his cinema, and he was sold right away.”
Robinson took him to various other stands and specified the entire cinema at ISE. The client also doubled his cinema budget by being at ISE and seeing everything in action. Perfect Integration have found more success in taking clients to the show since this project.
As already mentioned, the client was very into the latest technology but also having a classic design, so most of the technology installed was intended to be hidden. Amina invisible speakers were installed in most of the rooms that required audio. In all bedrooms, TV lifts were integrated so that TVs were hidden in bottom of the bed.
In rooms where a hidden TV on a lift mechanism was not possible, Perfect Integration flush-mounted them into walls. Some of the TVs are also mirror TVs hide them when not in use. Design-led, the integrator had custom picture frames made for the in-wall TVs and mirror TVs to hide any recesses and make them look even more aesthetically pleasing.
The main terrace on the house overlooking the Mediterranean sea was a very important area for the client, and in keeping with the classical design, he wanted audio out there but without the speakers being seen. Robinson says: “The terrace had to end up being rebuilt as it got cracked, but that worked in our favour as it meant we could build flush-mounted Sonance Extreme speakers into the balustrade and veranda canopy. The painter has painted the grilles in, so they are as invisible as possible. You can obviously see the speakers are there, but the first thing you see when you walk out is the magnificent view and the balustrade is very low so they’re not noticeable.”
A high output Sonance landscape system was integrated around the pool, with 12 speakers and four subwoofers which are buried. He likes to hold parties, so the integrator also put in a DJ input, and with teenage daughters, this was a winning feature.
Finally, the main living room was designed to have floor standing speakers. The client has ended up putting these in his study but there are now six provisions throughout the room where he can add floor standing speakers. “He actually has some new Meridian speakers that he is thinking of putting in there, but he’s not sure yet,” mentions Robinson.
Having done a lot of custom programming for this client, the programmer was playing with the graphics engine and decided to add a little Easter egg to the install. They discretely found out the client’s birthday so that the system wished him a happy birthday on the day. This is now something that gets added to some other private client’s properties as a special feature.
Amina AIW350iN Loudspeakers
Amina AIW450iN Loudspeakers
Amina AIW550iN Loudspeakers
Amina ALF40 Subwoofers
Amina ALF80 Subwoofers
Amina MobiusDuel Loudspeakers
Autonomic MMS-1e Single Source Mirage Music Streamer
Barco Balder Projector
Blustream Digital Audio Over CAT
Blustream HDMI Audio Embedder / De-Embedder
Blustream HDBaseT Extender Kit
Blustream 1-Way 4K HDMI Splitter
Bowers & Wilkins CT SW15 Subwoofers
Bowers & Wilkins SA1000 Subwoofer Amplifiers
Cisco 28-port Gigabit PoE+ Managed Switch
Classé Sigma AMP2 2-Channel Amplifier
Crestron Passive Infrared Occupancy & Light Sensors with Cresnet
Crestron 3-Series Control System
Crestron Digital Graphics Engine 200 with 4K DM 8G+ Input
Crestron Ceiling Mount Passive Infrared Occupancy & Daylight Sensor with Cresnet
Crestron HR-150-B Handheld Remotes
Crestron 3-Series Room Media Controller
Crestron Sonnex Multiroom Audio System
Crestron Sonnex Multiroom Audio Expanders, 8-Zone
Crestron Sonnex Multiroom Audio Unamplified Expander, 8-Zone
Crestron TSR-302-B Handheld Touchscreen Remotes
Crestron 10.1-in Touchscreens – Various Colours
Crestron Tabletop Kit Touchscreen
Crestron 5-in Touchscreens – Various Colours
Crestron 7-in Touchscreens – Various Colours
CYP Digital Co-ax to Optical Converters
CYP Digital Audio Switch & Distribution Amplifier
CYP Digital Audio over CAT6 Extender Set
CYP HDMI Distribution Amplifier
Draytek Vigor 2860 Router
Furman 1500VA Rack Mount UPS
Future Automation TV Lifts – Various Sizes
iHiji APP-2100 Remote Network Management
iiyama 27-in Touchscreen
Kaleidescape Cinema One
Kaleidescape DV700 Disc Vault
Kaleidescape Strato HD Movie Player
LaunchPort Base Station
Leon Hz33-LR Soundbars
Leon HzUMB Mounting Brackets
Leon Pr33 Loudspeaker
Leon PrSMB Mounting Bracket
Lode LA4 Music Servers
Meridian Distributor 3
Middle Atlantic AXS-43-26 Racks
Middle Atlantic HPM-8-915 Rack
Motobix 6MP Indoor/Outdoor Video Door Station
Novatech Rackmount 1U PC
Oppo BDP103D Blu-ray Players
Penn Elcom R2269/1UK-16 Unified Panel
Powerpax Power Supplies
Ruckus Zone Director
Ruckus ZoneFlex R500u Unleashed Access Points
Ruckus T310S External Access Point
Ruckus ZoneFlex T300 Outdoor Access Points
Samsung 40-in KU6400 6 Series UHD Crystal Colour HDR Smart TVs
Samsung 49-in KS8000 Flat SUHD Quantum Dot Ultra HD Premium HDR 1000 TVs
Screen Research Reference X-Mask Screen
Sky DRX-890 2TB
Sonance VP63R ThinLine Speakers
Sonance VP65R XT Speakers
Sonance VP65S XT Speakers
Sonance VP65 XT Speakers
Sonance VP66R SST/SUR Surround Speakers
Sonance VP86R Speakers
Sony VPL-VW1100ES 4K Projector
TechLogix Rack Mount PDU
Vogel’s 245 UltraThin Full-Motion TV Wall Mount
Wyrestorm 10m Fibre HDMI Cable
Yamaha WXC-50 Wireless Streaming Preamp