01.09.20

Putting the art into smart

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An art enthusiast, this Naples entrepreneur has his art gallery family home turned into a light show. Amy Wallington goes under the spotlight.

In high end homes, look and style is very high up on the homeowner’s priority list – and so it should be! Home is usually where most time is spent so it needs to be something a homeowner is proud to own and can show off to guests. Art regularly features in a high end home with a lot of style, and this project is no different. 

As an art enthusiast, homeowner Mr Lentano, one of Naples’ most dynamic entrepreneurs, needed a technology system that would give his family home an exquisite look and feel, while complementing the art gallery theme. Located at the foot of the Vesuvius National Park in Naples, Italy, the style had to fit in with its traditional surroundings. Undertaking such a task was Italian integrator, Ing Dario Nasti of Studio di Ingegneria Nasti. 

Occupied by Lentano, his wife and their two daughters, the home automation system also had to meet their comfort and design needs. “The customer had no previous experience in terms of building automation, but he had a clear understanding of the ideas and the concept he wanted to reach,” says Nasti. “Given the total renovation, his idea was to create a modern, minimalist home that is state-of-the-art but at the same time, with a discreet technological level.”

He continues: “He had a strong desire to blend art with technology in a balance that could create the pleasure and harmony of everyday life. The idea was to create a place that could be a warm family home but at the same time could turn into a refined and captivating place to enjoy with friends.”

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Modern & minimalist
In keeping with the modern but minimalist idea, the project required a system that would give the family control of the temperature throughout the house, full audio and entertainment integration, as well as lighting scenes to highlight the pieces of art. It also needed to integrate with shading and AV systems to create scene pre-sets that could be activated and deactivated with one touch. Finally, the residence also required a secure video door entry device to integrate into the system. 

Lasting two years, the project began in 2017 and was completed in 2019. Nasti and Lentano thoroughly planned the entire project to ensure the client was getting the exact home he wanted. One of the key features in this project was lighting design and how it was used to highlight the art pieces. 

“He wanted the best technology but did not want it to exceed the aesthetic impact.”

“When I talk about this residence, I can’t help but think about how deep the balance between art, technology and light is,” explains Nasti. “Often, those who do my job focus only on technological aspects. From my point of view, it is only the fusion of cross-cutting aspects that gives the structure a higher level.”

As already mentioned, the client had a good idea of what he wanted and worked closely with Nasti to create detailed plans. Nasti states: “His idea was to create a dynamic and top-level structure. He wanted the best technology but did not want it to exceed the aesthetic impact. He also wanted to futureproof the home by making it expandable.”

Being a family home for four people, the system also had to be customisable in order to have personalised scenes and features for each person in the home. A Vantage automation system was chosen to give full control over every aspect of the household.

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In the spotlight

The three-storey house is gated, with the gates rotating on an axis to reveal the garden and a centuries-old olive tree. As this was an important feature for the homeowner, the integrators surrounded the tree with three groups of separate spotlights using DALI technology. As well as being dimmable, they provide dynamic lighting with varying brightness which has a high impact in night scenes. 

IMG_7739Lighting is used to create the property’s character in this project. Nasti adds: “The entrance avenue, also illuminated with DALI lighting, accompanies the homeowner or guest to the door of the house. In the garden, there is a jacuzzi with a whirlpool that also has RGBW lighting built in. Other lights are used around the garden to highlight the perimeter of the home with intersecting white light effects.”

Before entering the gates onto the property, there is a BTicino Classe 300x video door phone which the homeowner can access via his smartphone to answer any calls at the front door, no matter where he is. He can also use the app to grant someone access to the property. 

There is a fingerprint scanner at the entrance of the house allowing the household members to enter the property onto the ground floor which is used mainly as a living area. There is an Equinox 73 LCD touchscreen by the entrance of the living area to allow the occupants to choose certain scenes. It was deliberately positioned in the hallway rather than at the entrance of the house because it allows it to be connected to all the rooms, giving the operator complete control over the entire house. 

“The living room is dominated by a Bang & Olufsen Beovision Avant 85-in UHD 4K TV paired with Bang & Olufsen’s Beolab 18 and Beolab 5 speakers,” says Nasti.  

Again, lighting plays a big part in this area with LED strips made into two giant circles embedded in the ceiling providing the main source of light. A bare pillar in the corner of the room is also illuminated with an LED shining down from the ceiling around it. 

The kitchen/diner is separated from the living room by two moveable glass walls which are automated and controlled through the Vantage system. The media is provided by a Bang & Olufsen 10 40-in LCD TV and the lighting is again used to highlight detail in the furniture and the paintings. 

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Even the downstairs bathroom has an artistic feel with sharp lighting throughout and split light points in the corners of the walls. There is a Nuvo P5100 Pro-Series Three Zone Player integrated into the system to provide audio to all bathrooms throughout the house. Each bathroom has a pair of Nuvo NV-2IW6 Series 6.5-in in-wall speakers and local controls to select audio for each bathroom. 

A strip of LED lighting guides people up the stairs to the first floor, where you can find two bathrooms and three bedrooms. Nasti states: “The first floor can be reached via a full-height staircase with a cut of light that starts from the ground floor and reaches the upper floor. The handrails are also illuminated and provide a balanced supply of dynamic light at all times of the day. Each room is equipped with a Beovision 10 40-in LCD TV and sound system from Bang & Olufsen.”

“What characterises our work is the choice of components that have an important life cycle, hence the decision to use Vantage.” 

The master bedroom is spread over two levels with an ensuite bathroom kitted out with RGBW DMX lighting. This also features on the handrail which leads the homeowner up the stairs in the master bedroom to a walk-in wardrobe on the upper level. The functions in this room are controlled with a BTicino Axolute switch set in a custom coating with touch-sensitive buttons and can be remotely controlled through Vantage. 

In keeping with the high end feel, there is a fine wine cellar where specific warm lighting tones are used to highlight various bottles of wine. 

For general relaxation, there is a spa and cinema area. The cinema features a Bang & Olufsen Beovision Avant 85-in UHD 4K TV and Beolab 18 speakers. Separated from the spa by a glass wall, the cinema is illuminated with DALI lighting, which also guides the homeowners through the spa. The RGBW lighting, which is controlled with the Vantage system, is designed to create a relaxing environment for the homeowners. 

“Finally, the car garage is illuminated by three lamps with phase-cut dimmers and can be managed via scenario controls,” Nasti reveals. “Main electrical panels and technology has been remoted in this area.”

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Energy efficient
Every aspect of this home is automated, as Nasti explains: “We only build fully automated systems. We believe it does not make sense to only partially automate the home; the client must be able to manage what they want and if part of the system is not of interest in terms of control, we will automate it anyway but make it usable in standalone mode.”

The property benefitted highly from the install in terms of energy production and management which gives the system energy supplied through renewable sources and filtering of energy from the electricity network through a special UPS system. Nasti says: “The use of a Vantage supervisory system with such a high level of integration will make it possible to significantly reduce the costs in terms of managing the home within a few years.”

The integrator has a maintenance contract with this customer with the aim of monitoring the health of the system and also carrying out future expansions. “What characterises our work is the choice of components that have an important life cycle, hence the decision to use Vantage,” Nasti recalls. “The design idea can never be separated from two essential aspects, such as the quality of the hardware and the reliability of the software. Clients must understand that, just because it’s a complex system in terms of its capability, it does not translate into the user experience. Instead, it keeps every day life controls very simple for the user.”

Nasti admits that the end result of the project has exceeded both his and the client’s expectations. “With Mr Lentano, I had the pleasure of listening to his ideas and merging them with mine. There were some occasions where I thought he could expand on some of his technology choices but I believe it’s more important to grow the human relationship and to win the trust of the client by waiting for him to see the need for a specific solution.”

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Tech-Spec
Bang & Olufsen Beolab 5 Speakers
Bang & Olufsen Beolab 18 Speakers
Bang & Olufsen Beovision 10 40-in LCD TVs
Bang & Olufsen Beovision Avant 85-in UHD 4K TVs
BTicino Axolute Switch
BTicino Classe 300x Video Entry
BTicino MyHOME Integration 
DALI 64 Channel Lighting Controller
Equinox 73 LCD Touchscreens 
Luxul ABR-5000 Epic 5 – Dual-WAN Gigabit Router
Luxul XAP-1510 High Power AC1900 Dual-Band Wireless AP
Luxul XMS-1208P 12 Port / 9PoE+ Front-Facing Rackmount Switch
Luxul XWC-1000 Wireless Controller
Nuvo NV-2IW6 – Series Two 6.5-in In-Wall Speaker Pair
Nuvo P5100 Pro-Series Three Zone Player
Vantage Infusion Controller II
Vantage DMX-DALI Gateway
Vantage DMX-iT 524 Lighting Controller