At The Fine Lion restaurant and bar in Ashburton, New Zealand, guests are treated to a luxurious, upscale atmosphere that features imported mosaic tiles, brass detailing, lush greenery and contrasting colour schemes. It’s what they don’t see, however, that sets the eatery apart from its competition and makes daily operations simpler for staff.

With the help of ElectraServe, the restaurant installed a Control4 system that consolidates control for lighting, security, heating, cooling, window shades, TVs and audio zones into a single interface that’s accessed through Control4 touch panels or the Control4 mobile app. According to James Reid, automation installer for ElectraServe, adding a control system allowed the restaurant’s designer and architect to free the interior of techno clutter while still delivering all the benefits of modern smart technologies.

“The desire for a premium look, feel and guest experience drove every decision we made,” James explains. “After first designing and installing the restaurant’s sound system, which includes custom-made and copper-clad speakers to match the aesthetic, we had an opportunity to show the owners and designer how a Control4 system could eliminate the need for light switches, cable boxes, TV remotes and other visually intrusive components. Once everyone understood the visual cleanliness it would deliver, and the time savings it would provide for daily operations, everyone was on board.”

The focus of The Fine Lion’s automation system is on streamlining common tasks such as adjusting music volume, setting lighting levels, managing temperature and simplifying daily opening and closing. All functions, and more, are now accessed through the Control4 app or touchscreens, including multi-system automations and lighting scenes.

When staff arrive in the morning, they first disarm the security system, which automatically turns on the lights. They then use an ‘Open’ button in the Control4 interface to turn on all three TVs, dozens of speakers and all the content delivery devices at once. At closing time, a ‘Close’ button in the interface triggers the motorised blinds and louvers to shut while powering down all the AV equipment and lights. The building’s exterior lighting is connected, too, and is scheduled to automatically turn on each evening.

Laura Hedwig, the Creative Lead for RM Designs, the project’s designer, and architect, noted how the Control4 system helped them to achieve the precise environment and ambiance they envisioned.

“The automation of lighting, AV, window treatments and exterior louvers means that we do not have to have numerous wall mounted switches or TV remote controls,” Hedwig says. “Not only does this allow us to keep the walls clear of visual clutter, it also streamlines the operation of the venue for the staff working there. Furthermore, ElectraServe went above and beyond in terms of finishing visible elements such as speaker grilles. Speakers were either custom wet sprayed or bespoke manufactured in copper in order to blend in with the architecture.”

Time and energy savings benefits were key considerations. Without a control system, all of the subsystems discussed here would require individual control and add more responsibilities to staff members. In addition to the time-saving nature of automations and scenes, the restaurant is also saving energy by automating light dimming schedules and ensuring the climate system is turned off when staff leave each night.

All of the equipment powering the restaurant’s AV and control functions is located in an equipment rack in a back room, allowing the decor to be showcased. In addition to the custom-made and copper-clad speakers, some speakers are also located underneath seating to guarantee premium sound for every patron without interrupting the aesthetic. Reid explained that while it’s not a sports bar and doesn’t play overly loud music, the system is designed with lots of speakers so that it can be heard everywhere even at lower volumes.

“We really considered everything in this design and installation,” James adds. “The main bar TV, for instance, blends into the decor with a custom-built oak and brass frame. The outdoor balcony seating area is no exception, offering guests excellent views of downtown Ashburton while they enjoy the comforts of heating, music and an outdoor TV. We’re immensely proud of how clean the finished bar looks, and we could not have achieved that without Control4.”

The restaurant sits inside a larger building, and the Control4 system’s reach extends to the lighting in some hallways and common spaces. Reid also mentioned that ElectraServe has been using Control4 in residential projects for about 10 years, and the recent expansion of Snap One’s presence in New Zealand has given them access to more premium brands that are designed to integrate perfectly with Control4.

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