Smeg puts on a show with flagship store
When Smeg opened a flagship store in London it needed AV systems that could match its sleek interior design. Avensys stepped up. Anna Mitchell reports.
Faced with a surge in online shopping, bricks and mortar retail stores these days have to offer a special experience to attract, engage and ultimately sell to customers. And, if you’re a brand that is recognised for stylish, iconic design; the stakes are even higher.
So when Italian domestic appliance manufacturer Smeg started planning its flagship store in the UK it set the bar high on its expectations. The interior design, handled by Milan-based architect deepdesign, created a light, bright and airy store and the store-wide AV and control system had to match.
Smeg engaged the services of UK integrator Avensys to install AV throughout each of the three main areas in the store: a consultation suite, the main sales floor and a 48-seat theatre for cooking demonstrations.
“Obviously for Smeg, its main focus is design,” starts Andy Mussell, head of commercial division at Avensys. “They want everything to look amazing and we had to integrate our kit into that.”
“[Smeg] wanted to have a number of presets set up for them so they can hit a button, activate the view or presentation view and start and stop recording as they want.”
The store, located in London’s St James’s Market, features more than 300 products, displayed across nearly 600sq m and three floors. The first challenge was to link the AV equipment in the building, with the central rack room located in the basement.
“All of our equipment was housed in the basement,” explains Mussell. “This was great for the basement installation [the theatre] but for the ground floor and a mezzanine area, there weren’t too many routes through.”
Working with the building contractor, Avensys managed to negotiate the required access routes and – with some long cable runs – overcame the challenge.
At the heart of the system is Crestron’s DigitalMedia system, working with Creston CP3N 3-series control system processors, to offer a single platform for signal management and distribution throughout the building.
Sitting on the mezzanine floor, the consultation suite is at the top of the building and is designed for customers to discuss projects and designs with Smeg staff. A Crestron TSW- 760 touchpanel is used by staff to control content on an NEC 65-in display mounted with a Unicol mount. Smeg staff use the display to present plans and products and visually take customers through design options.
Barco ClickShare was settled on with Paul Nadin, Avensys’s lead commissioning engineer for the project, explaining: “[Smeg] asked for wireless from the start. We had a number of options but it seemed to like the fact that Barco had the dongle you plug in, press the button and go.”
Other connections are supported by an HDMI and VGA plate and the staff have the option of showing TV or digital signage content, fed by a Onelan NTB-100 system. DM-RMC- 4K-100-C receivers take signals for digital signage and TV and signal switching is handled by a Crestron MD4x1-4k 4K/60 signal switcher.
There is also a small audio system in the room comprising KEF Ci160TR speakers fed by a Crestron AMP-1200, located in the basement rack room. Audio signal mixing and control is handled by an Extron MVC 121 Plus, a compact, three input stereo audio mixer.
Located just outside the consultation room, is another NEC display, this time an NEC 42-in model with Clickshare again on hand. Crestron DM-RMC-4K-100-C receivers take signals for digital signage and TV.
Background music is delivered throughout the entire sales floor by KEF Ci160TR speakers powered by a Crestron AMP-1200 amplifier, with digital signal processing handled by Biamp’s Nexia CS. It is fed by a Yamaha WXC- 50 wireless streaming preamplifier with content from a Sunflower Music server. Staff control the technology in this area using an Apple iPad running a Crestron control app.
Down in the basement, Avensys equipped the 48-seat theatre, featuring tiered seating, with an array of presentation equipment. An 80-in NEC HD E805 display is fed by a number of sources managed by a Crestron HD-MD6X2-4K-E 6x2 4K HDMI switcher. Crestron DM transmitters and receivers are deployed and the screen can, again, show TV or digital signage content.
The audio system is largely based on the systems deployed elsewhere; using KEF Ci160TR speakers and Crestron AMP-1200 amplifiers. Sennheiser EM100 G3 wireless microphones are provided for presenters and a Biamp Nexia CS handles digital signal processing.
Blackmagic’s HyperDeck Studio was deployed to record demonstrations. Camera feeds from ceiling-mounted Sony SRH-300EW cameras, and selected by Smeg staff using Apple iPads, are fed into the HyperDeck box.
The iPads are running Crestron control apps and control can also be accessed using Crestron TSW-760 7-in touchscreens.
“There’s no control room,” notes Mussell. “[Smeg] wanted to have a number of presets set up for them so they can hit a button, activate the view or presentation view and start and stop recording as they want.”
Using the Crestron Digital Media system, audio and video signals from presentations can also be fed to displays and audio systems elsewhere in the building.
The intelligent control system and high level of automation support the staff working in the showroom on a daily basis with cleverly designed pre-sets and easy operation that offers ultimate flexibility and delivers a big impact.
Biamp Nexia CS DSPs
Crestron AMP-1200 amplifiers
Extron MVC 121+ audio mixer
KEF Ci160TR speakers
Sennheiser EM100 G3 wireless mics
Sunflower Music Server
Yamaha WXC50 wireless streaming pre-amplifier
Crestron CP3 controllers, DM transmitters and receivers, TSW- 760 touchpanel, AV3 control processor and app for iPad
Blackmagic HyperDeck Studio
Crestron HDMI switchers
NEC E425, E805 and E556 displays
Onelan NTB-100 digital signage system
Sony SRH-300EW cameras