Crestron Automates Palazzo Steyn, A Billionaire’s Paradise In Johannesburg

Palazzo Steyn is a palace like no other. A lavish mansion brimming with a combination of grandeur and Crestron technology is exactly the style that insurance tycoon Douw Steyn, founder of Auto & General and Compare The Market, wanted for his home in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Douw’s 3,000m² mansion was the first property in Steyn City, the multi-billion Rand development, set to become one of South Africa’s most exclusive gated estates. From the beginning of the project, Douw wanted to automate his home with a Crestron system and knew exactly who to contact for the installation. Douw also owns exclusive boutique hotel, The Saxon in Johannesburg, where Panavision Evolve successfully installed Crestron AV, lighting and climate control throughout in 2010. This made them an obvious and trusted choice for Palazzo Steyn.

Panavision Evolve worked together with Crestron, electrical consultants CKR and interior designer Stephen Falcke to design a bespoke automated system. Its brief included lighting control, climate control, AV and the control of roman-style aqueducts that surround this enormous 3000m² residence.

Palazzo Power

The property required a lighting system of around 270 circuits to serve its vast array of lights including crystal chandeliers, picture lights and LED down lights. Controlled by keypads – which blend seamlessly into the design of the property via specially fitted brass cover plates that complement the décor – the lighting system can be customised via touch-screen sliders using Crestron’s new smart graphics, including press and hold pre-sets. To save energy, the property was also fitted with motion sensors in various areas to automatically dim or turn up the lights, when an area is in use.

Due to the scale of the property, the climate control system needed to be powerful enough to handle the complexities of creating different climates across numerous rooms. The climate in Southern Africa can change dramatically, from searing heat during the daytime to the biting Highveld chill in the evening, so climate control needed to be flexible and accessible.

Panavision Evolve created an ideal solution by installing a 3-core processor to work in harmony with Crestron’s bespoke BACnet integration. In an industry first, Panavision Evolve enlisted the support of Crestron to write the customised coding for the BACnet control. Commenting on this accomplishment and its strategic relationship with Crestron, Panavision Evolve says: “We can lean on them for help with design, when required.” The climate system can be controlled simply and seamlessly via any touchscreen in the house, and seasonal pre-sets can invisibly manage the air-con and heating throughout each room of the property.

Outside of the house there is a consistent air of calm, thanks to the Crestron water control system. Giant aqueducts that surround the property are not just for aesthetic appeal, they also offer the tranquil delights of flowing water. The Crestron system can pump water into a dam to create a cascading waterfall at the foot of the pool.


Ultimate Bespoke AV

A property of this size and excellence demands a fierce AV system – one that is capable of ultra-fast digital video/audio switching and high quality HD multi-room signal distribution for all types of AV sources. Panavision Evolve selected the Crestron 32×32 DigitalMedia matrix switcher to provide the required power for such a big project and also fitted a multi-mode fibre-based system. The Adagio 42-zone background music system delivers music to various entertainment areas simultaneously, including the wine cellar, lounges, bar, pool, dining areas, patios, gym and spa. The music even reaches the bathrooms, which are equipped with motion sensors to set the right mood for bathing.

For the ultimate sound quality, Palazzo Steyn plays host to two Creston Procise PSPHD high-definition 7.3 surround sound audio processors. This very first SA installation of this processor is in the Panavision Evolve demo room, and Palazzo Steyn is only the second property in the country to have this technology installed, with one processor in the master bedroom and one on the lounge/cinema area.

Palazzo Steyn also has two home cinema rooms, boasting big screens and tsurround sound provided by Crestron’s Procise range.

The Secret to Success

The Steyns, together with Crestron and Panavision Evolve have created a Palazzo fit for royalty. With industry firsts including; the first residential installation of a Procise PSPHD processor in SA and the first bespoke BACnet control installation created via collaborative coding.

Douw Steyn, the property’s owner and occupant, says of the finished project: “My wife and I are looking forward to entertaining our friends and business partners from all over the world at our new residence, while also exposing them to our magnificent country.”

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