What’s new at Villa So What?

Integrator Henri had to step up to ensure Villa So What, lovingly designed by its owner and occupier, was kitted out with technology to match the attention to detail applied to every corner of a stunning residence.

Dramatically built into a hillside in a commanding position overlooking the Bay of Cannes, Villa So What stands as a testament to contemporary luxury and sophistication. The owner, Muriel Ughetto, an artist and interior designer, envisioned this Côte d’Azur home in total harmony with its Mediterranean surroundings. Muriel Ughetto designed the villa herself to exacting standards and, while cutting-edge technology was integral to modern home she wanted, the technical installation had to be sensitive to her impeccable design standards and blend seamlessly into the fabric of daily living.

After encountering challenges with previous attempts, Muriel Ughetto turned to integrator Maison Henri to take over the project, marking the beginning of a transformative collaboration.

Régis Pinna, Côte d’Azur director at Henri says: “Not being at the origin of a project means you don’t control the entire project. We were therefore particularly vigilant and rigorous to ensure that the final result met our requirements and those of the owner.”

Henri was tasked with the complete reinstallation of technologies throughout Villa So What, using only the existing wiring infrastructure developed by a previous integrator. Its scope of work covered home cinema, whole-home audio and video systems, lighting scenarios, temperature management, security, Wi-Fi, networking and centralised control.

As a renovation project, Henri had the challenge of uncompromisingly delivering the project to Muriel Ughetto’s needs while adapting to the pre-existing framework. This demanded flexibility and adaptability as well as ensuring minimal disruption to the homeowners who resided on-site throughout the project.

“We had to be flexible, discreet and respectful in order to make the situation as easy as possible for them,” says Régis Pinna. “Those values, which are already dear to our company, were particularly demonstrated on this project.”

© Studio Erick Saillet

So What’s inside?

The Villa, spanning more than 500 sq m across two floors, contains distinct areas with specific technology requirements in each. The first floor includes the entrance hall, study, dressing rooms, bedrooms, dining room, living room, kitchen, and a two-floor wine cellar. The ground floor houses a second living room/home cinema, guest bedrooms, and a spa area with an indoor pool.

“The client and owner of the property has a good knowledge of technology and knew exactly what she wanted: easy-to-use, high performance and reliable solutions,” says Régis Pinna. “As she is an interior designer, she insisted on having the technology enhancing the global architecture of the house as well as its interior design, with specific lighting scenarios depending on the time of day. She also requested to have user-friendly and universal technology in the guest rooms so her guests could navigate through them without any help.”

A Crestron system sits at the heart of the project, handling control of all technology within the home, including lighting and audio management. A Crestron CP4 4-Series control system as well as associated controllers, motors, power supplies, I/O modules, and interfaces are installed in a Middle Atlantic rack within a dedicated equipment room. The equipment room also houses networking technology including a router, switchers, and Wi-Fi hotspots were installed throughout the home to provide robust connection to its owners and guests.

Audio is centrally served to 21 zones throughout the property with a Crestron Sonnex multiroom audio system and expanders installed within the equipment room. A Crestron NAX audio-over-IP system handles streaming, routing, distribution and amplification for the entire system. VSSL A1 audio streamers mean residents can use streaming apps to play music throughout the home. Audio is delivered in each of the zones with B&W CCM-664 ceiling speakers.

Henri decided to handle video locally in each space using Apple TV 4Ks and six Sony smart TVs that range from 32-in to 55-in in size. Displays were discreetly installed, concealed in the ceiling or a fireplace and reveal themselves at a touch for optimal viewing while disappearing when not in use. To achieve this Henri turned to Future Automation for brackets and mounts.

© Studio Erick Saillet

An entertainment oasis

The home cinema, sat adjacent to the main equipment room, was approached slightly differently to other areas with display requirements; all video and audio sources were installed in the main rack.]

At the heart of the system is an Acurus ACT4 AV processor. Amplification is handled by Classe CA600 and CA5300 amplifiers. Video sources include an Oppo Blu-ray player and Apple TV.

A 7.1 sound system in the cinema is delivered through a B&W system comprising two 801 tower speakers, an HTM81 centre channel speaker, four CCM 7.3 ceiling speakers and two ISW3 subwoofers powered by an SA1000 subwoofer amplifier. A Sony VPL-VW520ES projector was installed with a Future Automation PD2.5 projector lift.

© Studio Erick Saillet

Smart and in control

As much automation was applied to the technology in this build as possible and residents can access control functions through wall-mounted Crestron 7-in touch screens, Crestron handheld remotes, iPads and smartphones, providing seamless control over lighting, blinds, curtains, air conditioning, and audio zones. Elegant Meljac switches, in harmony with the decor, deliver further control options.

Régis Pinna elaborates: “From these [control] devices, the homeowners have access to all inside and outside lighting scenarios, they can manage blinds and curtains, air conditioning, audio zones, with the option of grouping them together.”

Custom-designed and automated blinds and curtains were seamlessly integrated into the property and a 2N access control system ensures the security of the premises. IP intercom units with cameras, keypads and fingerprint readers at the entrance identify visitors, providing remote access. Access to specific areas, such as the swimming pool and wine cellar is also meticulously controlled.

When not at the residence, the homeowners can control the entire villa remotely through smartphones, aided by a customised application interface. Henri is also on hand for support and can deliver quick and easy remote intervention in case of malfunctions as well as carrying out preventative maintenance for ultimate peace of mind for the homeowners.

Régis Pinna rounds up: “The installations we carried out on this project are very similar to what we’re used to doing on residential projects, but the context in which this was carried out was rather unusual. Having to recover and adapt to existing wiring and infrastructure is not a project setting we’re used to working in.”

Against the backdrop of these challenges, the Villa So What project showcases Henri’s ability to navigate the challenges of a renovation project, adapting to existing infrastructure while still seamlessly integrating cutting-edge technology into a luxury residence with outstanding results. Its collaboration with Muriel Ughetto resulted in a harmonious blend of aesthetics and functionality, transforming Villa So What into a technological marvel on the French Riviera.



2N Access Commander Box

2N IP intercoms with cameras

Acurus ACT4 AV processor

Apple TV 4K 32Go units

Audinate Dante AVIO adaptors
B&W CCM-664 ceiling speakers
B&W 801 tower speakers

B&W HTM81 centre channel speaker
B&W CCM 7.3 ceiling speakers
B&W ISW3 subwoofers

B&W SA1000 subwoofer amplifier                                                                                           

Classe CA600 amplifier

Classe CA5300 amplifier

Crestron CP4 4-series control system

Crestron TSW-770-B-S wall mount touchscreens

Crestron HR-310-I handheld remotes

Crestron IR sensors

Crestron CI-KNX Ethernet interfaces

Crestron SWAMPI024X8 audio matrix

Crestron SWAMPIE-8 audio expander
Crestron SWE-8 audio expander

Crestron DM Lite signal extenders

Crestron DM-MD4X2-4KZ-E HDR AV switcher

CYP AU-1HARC HDMI to stereo audio convertors

Future Automation PS55 articulated TV wall mount

Future Automation ceiling TV motorised mount

Future Automation PD2.5 projector lift

Kramer PA-240NET power amplifier
Lindy 70460 audio extenders 

Meljac switches

Middle Atlantic racks
Oppo Blu-ray player

PulseEight Zektor PPP16 audio matrix

Sony VPL-VW520ES projector

Sony 32-in HD display

Sony 49-in HD displays

Sony 55-in HD displays

Steniel presence detectors


All photos by © Studio Erick Saillet

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