Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner!

The Londoner project executed by Visual Systems (part of CP-Partnership), recently picked up the Best Commercial Project gong at the Smart Building Awards. Find out why below.

The Londoner is the world’s first ‘super boutique’ hotel, located in Leicester Square. This £500 million five-star Hotel has 16 storeys designed with an AV system to suit, with six levels extending 30 metres beneath the surface of London. The scale is astounding with 350 bedrooms, restaurants and lounges, rooftop bars, an underground spa and swimming pool area, two Odeon cinemas/screening rooms as well as the star attraction of the venue: a 600-seater ballroom with a AV system including lighting and projection to cater for any size of event or award dinner.

Ray Sappal, project director, Visual Systems, explains, “The Client wanted a state-of-the-art facility. They wanted the AV to be discreet and blend into the background with the latest Audio-Visual Hardware available. They also wanted the ballroom to be the best in the country and that’s what we aimed to provide. We were handed Arup’s initial performance specification document and we had to develop the finish, the design and scope of the AV systems required in conjunction with the client’s project team. We feel we have given them everything that they could require now and for the future and more.”

The client employed Arup in a consultancy capacity and Visual Systems to design, supply & install the audio-visual systems that would suit the hotel’s vast art collection and lavish interiors.

Ray adds, “All contractors working on this project knew this was going to be a special project from the start. We at Visual Systems and our group were honoured to have been chosen over other large integrators bidding for the project. This hotel is different to other five-star hotels in London as it has a multi-million-pound collection of art handpicked to compliment the interior design of the areas in question, and the audio-visual technology is important but it’s not the focal point, it’s there to blend into the background and support the interior design and the artwork collection.”

Iype Abraham, Commercial Development Director Edwardian Hotels, says, “This project for the group was a vast investment and one of the largest developments in the area, we as a group have internal design teams to ensure we are at the forefront of Hospitality as such we also invest into the latest Technology which covers all areas such as Audio Visual, Security , access systems etc., this hotel being our newest member to the group we wanted to have the best, but the design and finish to be the focal point and not the technology. We evaluated various suppliers and selected Visual Systems to be our partners on this journey, they understood our requirements and objectives for this hotel to be the first and best in its class, I believe we have achieved and gone beyond our initial specification, the installed systems are fantastic with a world class Ballroom for any type of event or live performance’.”

Ray explains “We designed and installed a back ground music system which feeds all areas of the hotel from a central point to distribute music to all public areas, lift lobbies etc, speakers are colour matched so not to stand out, the result is a practically invisible audio system which blends seamlessly into the hotel’s surroundings.”

Ray adds, “The scale of this hotel is huge, with more than 40,000 metres of AV cabling running throughout the building. The AV system also uses the hotel’s data infrastructure and we had to set-up a number of VLANs to route video and audio via Dante (Audio over IP) & Video-over-IP throughout the building. We chose AMX to control all system functions throughout the hotel and video over IP routing via AMX SVSI N2400 AV-over-IP units, VLAN’s were setup to segregate or incorporate different areas through the AMX control system software.

“We have chosen AMX control systems and Extron for routing signals across the hotel with their XTP matrix system. The Extron XTP matrix is what ties everything together, we as a group have used the Extron matrix’s previously on other projects and they were our first choice.”

The sound system used for the seamless audio experience throughout the hotel, Visual Systems supplied and installed Bose speakers and hardware. More than 300 Bose loudspeakers were installed throughout the venue, colour matched to the hotel’s ceilings and surroundings to ensure a discreet look.

The sound system covers all areas of the hotel venue including the staff back of house areas, from the back of house basement level 5 to the spa and meeting rooms on Basement levels 4 & 3  to the lifts and in-house pub ‘Joshua’s Tavern’ with hand painted walls and copper taverns. Most areas where music levels need to be controlled are equipped with local a Bose single zone control panel where larger areas with more than one zone or sources have either a CC16 or CC64.

Ray explains, “We’ve covered the complete Bose range from wall/ceiling speakers to point source sound reinforcement speakers including the award winning EdgeMax premium in-ceiling speaker. The EdgeMax speakers are mounted at the edge of the ceilings thus leaving the centre of the ceiling clear for lighting design and they project the sound both downwards and horizontally at 75 degree angle into the room, meaning you have less speakers but better coverage. We also supplied and installed Bose’s new DesignMax range, RMU series, ShowMatch range, DS range and the FS range of wall & ceiling speakers.

Bose’s EdgeMax range is used throughout the hotel, with Bose EdgeMax 90s in the main reception area, secondary reception, lobby lounge, lobby bar and stage where live music is played. Walking towards the lobby’s main staircase, guests are greeted by ‘The Stage’’, an elevated platform that serves as a live music space with a Aux input XLR plate so they can connect into the Hotel sound system for that area. The space is fitted with a Bose’s EdgeMax 180 with a Bose ControlSpace CC-16 zone control panel and wallplate for musicians to setup DJ equipment or other audio equipment if required. Additionally, Bose’s DesignMax DM2C ceiling speakers were discreetly installed into the lift lobby, extending the sound experience from the hotel lobby to all lift lobbies throughout the hotel, speakers colour matched to ceiling finish.

The Londoner
The Londoner

Sign me up

The Londoner Hotel also has a digital signage system supplied and installed throughout, consisting of 11 Samsung 32in signage displays either wall mounted or within a Kiosk floor standing, three 43in displays for general wayfinding and seven Samsung 13in meeting room booking panels using the Samsung Magic Info software platform. These signage displays are connected to the client’s central server so that they can be monitored and changed remotely by the clients in house team.

The Londoner Hotel is home to a number of restaurants and bars serving different cuisines and drinks. On the ground Floor you have Whitcomb’s which is French fine dining and has 6 Bose EdgeMax 90 ceiling speakers installed with 4 Bose DS40SE wall mounted externally at high level for the external dining area, control for each section of the restaurant and external zones are located near the bar with a local DJ input plate and Pioneer DJ system. The Lobby bar is for small snacks or tea’s and is equipped with two Bose EdgeMax speakers and CC16 control panel. Joshua’s Tavern has a more pub feel with Bose’s RMU speakers system and MB210 sub for live music or DJ events with a local input plate and CC3D control panel for Volume and source selection.

Re-fuel in the basement Level 4 is a health related bar with two colour matched Bose DS40SE speakers and CC16 control panel. 8 At the Londoner is a rooftop izakaya lounge with a Japanese style of dining and drinking, also boasting a rooftop open air fireplace lounge. The rooftop fireplace lounge feature six Bose DS100SE exterior wall speakers mounted on custom brackets to blend into the wood and foliage surroundings of the rooftop bar, with two Bose MB210 subwoofers hidden within the lounge’s seating. The project also supplied a Pioneer DJ system in custom stand (DJM900 mixer and CDJ2000) and Bose Dante wall plate is also present, discreetly hidden from view in the lounge’s architecture for DJs with third party equipment with a further three input plates with the restaurant area.

The restaurant itself has plates provided for DJ access for private events and parties, with seven EdgeMax speakers and a CC64 control panel for local control of levels for the various zones and source selection.

Bose speakers power all restaurants and bar spaces, with the exception of the mezzanine Y Bar, which uses Ecler Trail lighting track speakers to keep with the aesthetics of the bar. The Mezzanine level is for hotel residents only which encompasses three areas regardless of the time of day, it is somewhere to experience art and relaxation.

The Londoner
The Londoner
The Londoner

New levels of luxury

The three areas include The Drawing Room which is a contemporary take on the comforts of the classic British living room featuring hand painted mural by New York based artist En Viu and has four Bose EdgeMax 90 ceiling speakers with a CC1D control panel, The Y Bar is an alluring place to meet for cocktails and light bites , it has a light wall by Andrew Rae’s comic illustrations which come to light in the evening with sound via Four Ecler lighting track speakers controlled from a Bose CC1D control panel. Final area on the Mezzanine is The Whiskey Room which holds a range of liquor from renowned to the incredibly rare and is entered through a secret door through the bathroom, sumptuous interior with mirrored walls and ceiling provides an intimate feeling, sound is through two in-wall Bose 891 virtually invisible speakers colour matched to wood wall and controlled via a Bose CC1D local level control panel. 

On Basement level one is the Green Room which is a multi-purpose area, during the day time it can be used for afternoon tea while in the evening it becomes a private bar and has a more night club feel with a Bose PA to suit with three MB210 subs, two RMU106 hidden out of sight within the mirrored ceiling bulkhead and two RMU208 speakers visible to provide low level sound during the day time and higher levels in the evening, two DJ input plates are located near the dance floor area and a Pioneer CDJ DJ System in custom stand.

On basement level 3 there a seven client facing meeting rooms, each with a AMX Video over IP unit to link to the ballroom for conferences overflow. Each room has a Samsung QM98 display, mounted on custom width Unicol Vertislide wall mounts dominate each meeting room, with video conferencing functions provided via a Logitech Rally VC Plus system with AMX control (G5 touch control wall mounted panel and NetLinx processor with Unicol bracket). The meeting rooms include Apple TV, Barco Clickshare CSE-200 systems, HDMI as well as Samsung 13in room booking display located outside each meeting room.

Audio is handled by Bose’s EdgeMax ceiling speakers, cutting down the number of speakers needed in each room by projecting audio down wards and horizontally at a 75-degree angle and each meeting room is equipped with a Symetrix x10 Dante bluetooth unit for local music or podcast playback via the ceiling speaker system. Two EdgeMax speakers are used in each space, with the two largest meeting rooms featuring Sennheiser Speechline microphone systems for voice re-enforcement for larger meetings.

Meeting Room pre function area has six Bose EdgeMax speakers with local Dante Symetrix x10 Dante bluetooth unit and local DJ input plate for events and is controlled from either local Bose CC16 control panel or from client’s AMX iPad control.

In basement level 4 guests will be greeted by a vast wellness centre consisting of a gym space, salon, and a luxurious spa/sauna area. While the swimming pool area is home to six Bose EdgeMax ceiling speakers all colour matched to the wood panelling and local DJ input plate, the sauna and steam room have a heat-resistant and waterproof speaker system installed. Sonance Extreme Marine speakers were chosen for these areas due the extreme heat.

Ray explains, “The pool’s not as warm, but the sauna and the steam room have extreme temperature changes so Sonance speakers were the only units that we felt would work.”

On Basement level 5 is the back of house area where the Hotels Kitchens, staff changing rooms, canteen and offices are located. We installed music system into the staff changing rooms, WC’s and canteen area. We also installed two Staff meeting rooms again with Samsung QM98in displays, LogiTech VC Rally System and AMX control with apple TV and Barco Clickshare. 

The Londoner

The Ballroom

Like most of the leading luxury hotel brands, The Londoner is home to a vast ballroom space that offers the hotel the ability to generate income through large event hosting. This Ballroom is vast with capacity for 850 people in reception mode and 680 seated, it has an audio system to suit, with laser projection technology and an all-encompassing presentation/show lighting system. The space can be divided into two individual areas to host two large events simultaneously via a Skyfold partition system.

Ray explains, “The ballroom is the key feature of the hotel. We honestly believe this has the best AV system installed in a hotel within London. All audio in the hotel is routed via Dante where possible. We can also route the ballroom events to the meeting rooms on basement level 3 via the Video-over-IP system, enabling overflows. The system can also be routed around the rest of the hotel as long as a data point is local, we can also route the signals externally and we have also designed the system within the Ballroom for virtual and hybrid events.”

The space is dominated by four Christie D16WU-HS laser phosphor projectors suspended from the ceiling, projecting 16,000 Lumens onto four large format tab tensioned ScreenLine projection screens (two 5.5m wide side by side and two 6.2m wide on either end of the ballroom).

Sound reinforcement within the space is provided by Bose’s ShowMatch line arrays for larger events or live music and RoomMatch RMU208 & MB210 loudspeakers installed high level in ceiling void for delay or day to day presentation use. The ShowMatch speakers are powered by Powersoft X8 and T304 amplifiers, with an additional three Bose 8500N amplifiers for the RMU & MB210 subs used for presentation use.

For the hard of hearing, a Sennheiser MobileConnect system has been installed with a Sennheisier infrared as well, allowing for additional accessibility in the space. Additionally, Sennheiser D6000 microphones are provided to allow for wireless communications throughout the space for a variety of events routing all controlled from the AMX control system touch panels wall mounted with one in either section.

The ballroom space is also home to a portable system for virtual and hybrid events, consisting of an Analog Way pulse 4K presentation switcher for graphics and a Blackmagic vision mixer for video, a Panasonic PTZ camera controller and a Blackmagic Smartview 4K monitor. Six Panasonic AW-HE40SKEJ9 HD SDI cameras are also present, mounted on custom Unicol swing wall brackets to allow the cameras to discreetly be hidden when not in use.

The Londoner

Ray reveals, “All the lights & trusses including the Bose Array speakers are mounted on Lodestar D8+ motors with loadcells so that they can be lowered and moved around accordingly. The trusses also allow third-party equipment to be suspended for events.

“We also have a ClearCom talkback system for larger events, an AMX NX-3200 processor for the control system brain including two 10in inch section of the Ballroom and an iPad control option for the AV manager, AMX video-over-IP system to stream signals from the ballroom around to other areas of the hotel as well as to external clients. We also put in redundancy in the ballroom, all the trusses have got not just lighting cables but network, audio, four port DMX node, two patchable DMX lines, SDI and speaker cables, ready for any kind of event. If someone brings in an additional projector or speaker that the want mounted on a truss, they don’t need to run cabling, everything’s already pre-wired.”

The ballroom presented a significant challenge handling a complex and expansive system integration within the constraints of servicing and cabling difficulties.

Ray says, “We worked on the model of the whole hotel with the client and the final installation didn’t match the information that was on the model because there were just so much more services in the ceiling void that had to go in. We had to get the cables around the ballroom, both high level and low level, to facility panels and had to work out where the trusses had to be mounted to allow the motors to be installed way before the ceiling went in. We had to be precise, within millimetres, to get the motors mounted before the ceiling supports went in.”

Ray adds, “We had to allow for broadcast lemo 3K.93C points within the ballroom which are cabled back to two OB racks in the loading bay via the MCR for broadcasters to connect directly into the ballroom system. The MCR is located above the Ballroom near the staff entrance and is where the Ballroom is controlled from with all control equipment housed in 5 racks to accommodate all source, control, routing, Video, Audio, Broadcast and lighting hardware.

Nick Kalsi Edwardian’s Technology Consultant, explains, “I worked closely with Visual Systems on this project and am so pleased with the design and installation carried out. Visual Systems have done a great job in providing us with systems that are not only user friendly but easy to maintain and future proof, this has been a very difficult and long project for all due to Covid but we have come out of it stronger with a product to be proud of.”

Ashwin Shah, Chairman Myriad Audio Visual (part of CP-Partnership), adds, “It was an honour to have been selected to be part of the team working on this project, I feel we have provided the client with a complete working solution and to see the finished product from the initial renders is breath-taking this is definitely a hotel in its own class’’       

Alan Macdonald, Managing Director CP-Partnership, says, “This is a great project for the group, it’s funny we not only designed and installed the AV systems at the Londoner our group companies are also booked to do some of the first large scale events at the Londoner so for our clients we can provide the complete end to end solution, I feel this will be the hotel venue of chose for large scale events and awards dinners in the future and a show case for our group.” Ray concludes, “I don’t think we are going to see many new hotels of this size being built in London. Winning the project was an honour for us. Being trusted to deliver the system and seeing the finished product working is what makes these projects a joy to work on. The Londoner is a unique hotel in its own class. I think it’s going to be some time before we see another hotel being built like this.”

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