When not busy tormenting bowlers, cricketing legend Kevin Pietersen likes to kick back at home with some high class home cinema and sports coverage.
Ben Abbott, founder, co-owner and director of Q Smartdesign, explains: “We offer a custom design, supply and installation service specialising in cinema, audio and lighting control in both commercial and residential properties.
“Our business was set up in 2008 by myself and my brother joined the business two years later. We have now expanded further, with an office and showroom now opened in Hertfordshire which includes a six-seater cinema.”
Ben adds: “Q Smartdesign is a boutique business that has clients from a range of backgrounds, from a standard residential install project, to major concepts for high profile clients. The ethos of the business is the same no matter what – the real strength is in the quality of the design and the delivery of service.”
So how did this particular project come about?
Ben explains: “We were approached by Kevin Pietersen’s agent initially and were invited for an initial consultation with KP and his wife. We talked through previous projects and showed them some designs and concepts from our website which they were genuinely impressed with. From here, we delivered a quote and agreed to start work.
“The room in question was previously used as a dining room and gave us an initial challenge as there were lots of windows throughout. The brief was to be able to seat eight people, which was also going to be a challenge due to the awkward room size. Aside from these parameters, we were given free rein to propose the best possible solution; they wanted to have the best of everything.
“The process was relatively smooth throughout – the brief required us to deliver awesome sound quality, have the biggest screen available and to look great overall.”
Paul Cummin of Artcoustic UK, says: “Dolby Atmos is genuinely the most important technological advancement that has happened in our industry since 5.1 on DVD way back in 1996. Installing it provides genuinely jaw dropping performance and fully future-proofs the cinema to boot.”
Ben adds: “Control of the lighting and cinema itself is achieved through Control4 as we feel the platform offers the best in automation solutions in the market and fitted nicely with the needs of this brief. The projector used was the JVC X700, giving the client the highest native contrast and dynamic range available to them.”
Being comfortable and having plenty of room for friends and family was an important part of the brief as well.
Ben explains: “The Lusso seating range was supplied by Cine Italia Seating. These range of daybeds give both the comfort of living room seating, as well as the luxury of home cinema seating. Finished in velvet, the fabrics used were also a perfect match to the colour schemes used throughout the room. The seating plan was set out over two levels to ensure that viewing is not compromised in any way – Cine Italia Seating worked closely with us to ensure the optimum seating and viewing was established.”
No cinema is without its challenges and this project was no different.
Ben says: “The routing of the cables wasn’t straightforward. The client didn’t want us (understandably) to make too much mess with the routing, so we had to be creative and agile to find appropriate routes.”
The install team was also pleased to have on board the help and advice available from Artcoustic and Cine Italia Seating.
Ben explains: “As the room was relatively small, it meant that there was no room at all for false walls to hide speakers. Therefore Artcoustic worked closely with us to suggest speakers that would sit behind the screen. The client wanted the best in sound quality and Paul at Artcoustic came up with the best solution for them without any compromise.
“Cine Italia Seating supported the project further by helping with the positioning of the seating and adding a step. Steven Thorne at Cine Italia Seating provided plans for the room to include seating layout and the platform position which helped with visualising seating and viewing angles. It also helped with determining where to position the screen.”
The versatility of the room means that it is used day to day for both watching movies as well as catching up on everything that is happening in the world of sport as Kevin is not just a cricket fan, but is also a Chelsea supporter and follows Rugby Union and Formula One.
This finely executed cinema delivers many of the elements Ben feels are major drivers for creating happy customers: “Everyone wants to have the best sound in home cinema, but they don’t necessarily want to have it visible. This goes back to the design of the room and how you can be smart at incorporating the speakers in the best way. Artcoustic have consistently led the way from this perspective as they continue to evolve to adapt to clients’ needs.”
Now that the project is finished, what are the biggest success stories as far as the client and installer are concerned?
For Ben, the best part of the project is the overall performance without being too intrusive.
Everything is in the room for a reason which adds to the overall feel and design of the room, with form matching functionality perfectly.
As for Kevin and his family, they use the room all the time, which in itself is the biggest endorsement.
Front LCR – 3 x 16-8 SL Spitfires
Subwoofers – 2 x Spitfire control 2 subwoofer
Rears – 4 x Target SL
In ceiling – Architect 2-1 SL
Denon Amp – Dolby Atmos 7200 Amp
Control 4 – Lighting
Screen Research 3.5m (130Inch wide anamorphic,
acoustic transparent screen)
Cine Italia Seating – Lusso Day bed x 2
4 Sedi Reclining Cinema seat Module
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