05.03.08

The customer experience

AUTHOR: Inavate

Dogus Otomotiv, part of the huge Dogus financial and industrial group in Turkey, recently opened an astonishing, groundbreaking new car showroom in Istanbul. Chris Fitzsimmons reports on the multi-million Euro installation project that went into a building that is unique in Turkey, if not the rest of the world.

Walk into Dogus Otomotiv’s new, 38,000 sq m showroom in Istanbul, Turkey and you could be forgiven for thinking you’d walked into the latest super club. But the reasoning behind its extravagant AV and lighting fit out is strictly business.

Dogus Otomotiv deals in premium car brands for the Turkish market, with its Istanbul facility showcasing the latest models from Lamborghini, Porsche, Audi and Volkswagen amongst others. Turkish integration firm Telesine was responsible for the system design and installation, under the leadership of Osman Karaesen, and the Dogus Group hired Can Besbelli as its consultant.

Installation itself only took three months, from the end of Summer 2007 with the planning and design phase of the €3.5m project taking up the previous six months.

Firat Akin, who managed the audio package for Telesine, explained why the client had gone for such an elaborate solution. “Dogus Otomotiv sell expensive marques and when their customers come in they want them to feel that they are part of a high value experience. There is a great sound system, and almost rock and roll style lighting. It’s all about the show.”

Apart from simply being a show room, Dogus OtoMotion Istanbul encompasses a whole range of other facilities, which go to make up a truly multipurpose venue. In the main hall there is a temporary theatre area that can be curtained off from the rest of the floor for up to 1200 people. There are also a couple of “Pods”, one is a café style area and the other known as the “Experience Dome” featuring projection and video screens. There is a kids activity and play area to keep them amused while parents are looking at cars, and even a 140 seat conference hall and cinema theatre.

On the upper tier there are a pair of boardroom spaces for meetings, and a VIP lounge for special guests. Last but not least there is an experience called “The Future of Mation”, this is a 3D cinema and simulation space.

In the Dogus groups own words: “Dogus OtoMotion Istanbul is a unique marketing experience based on the concept of bringing together the world or art, design and technology with the brands that Dogus Otomotiv distributes. The centre’s aim is to provide customer-focused and value-added solutions, allowing consumers to get to know the different brands through personal experience.

“Serving as an arena for the promotion of the strong brands and services of Dogus Otomotiv, Dogus Omototion Istanbul aims to play host to a variety of events including concerts, exhibitions and conferences, providing a unique and enjoyable experience for people of all ages.”

As befits such as high profile project, Dogus Otomotiv were looking for a premium brand with their consultant settling on a complete Meyer Sound audio solution. Extensive use of the company’s MM-4 miniature wide range loudspeakers as well as a total of 52 UPM-1Ps and UPM-2Ps provided a solution to the client’s requirement for a discrete, but clear sounding ambient music system throughout the main showroom areas. Unlike much of Meyer Sound’s range these are not self-powered and are driven by Crest CA9 amplifiers. The MM4s are distributed between 2 zones, 16 used as balcony under fills for the theatre area, and eight more being tasked to the lobby and reception space. Zoning is controlled by Meyer’s Galileo loudspeaker control system.

The temporary theatre itself is furnished with a little more grunt. It’s intended to cater for live performances by visiting bands, classical ensembles or other special events by visiting companies. A motorised double-curtain system isolates it from the rest of the main level. An L-C-R arrangement of M’elodie line arrays. Six units make up the left and right hangs, with four in the centre. The bass frequencies are supplemented using a quartet of 600-HP subwoofers. Telesine also supplied a Digi Design D-Show Profile desk to handle mixing.

In addition to a sound system that most small venues would be happy to posses the amphitheatre also features a high-end projection solution. Barco’s XLMHD30 fires onto a 10m x 7.5m electronic screen custom-made by Da-Lite. Content for the projector is served from the central control room via hard-disk storage or Pioneer DVD players.

The area is equipped with Shure wireless microphones for presenters and performers, and media control is handled via a Cue wireless, touch panel, which is paired with a control unit and another panel in the main technical control room. Source selection, volume, some basic EQ presets and the lighting scenes can all be switched via either panel.

Lighting itself is an integral part of the Otomotion experience. Over 400 Martin Pro moving heads and washes are employed along side Eurolite spots. These are controlled by MA Lighting DMX desks, providing a striking setting for the company’s premium brands.

[x-head]Café culture

The two domed café and experience areas are symmetrically outfitted, both making use of Amina ACPT55E flat panel loudspeakers around the walls for a discrete sound solution, along with Meyer Sound MM4s and a pair of M1D-sub compact loudspeakers. The passive elements of this system are again powered by Crest, in this case CA6 400W models. The MM4s are driven by CA9s. Both dome spaces form part of the larger Galileo controlled network.

The Meyer Sound controlled zone system is central to the operation of the site. The Galileo loudspeaker management system handles signal processing and drive for all subsystems, and the company’s Matrix3 audio show control system is available for automated presentations and special effects.

A twin projection solution, again from Barco, provides video content to each of these areas. A Barco CLM R10+ and an ID R600+ each driven by Falsom-Barco screen shapers, which allow them to project effectively on the curved walls of the domes. Content here depends on the use. The Café shows TV content such as sports and news, or promotional videos from the various car suppliers if there is a special event occurring.

Dogus Otomotiv make full use of the opportunities that these top class facilities afford them, whilst they are intended primarily for promotional and marketing activities, when not in use for this they can be turned to more cultural ends.

For example, at the time of writing, the building is hosting an exhibition of the life and work of Albert Einstein. Movies about him are being played in the amphitheatre, and experience domes, and much of the digital signage content outside of the brand’s various showrooms is given over to the project.

Overlooking the showroom floor is a couple of meeting rooms, and the VIP lounge. The larger meeting room seats 22 people in a standard boardroom arrangement, it is equipped with a 132 x 239cm Da-Lite screen and a Barco ID R600+ projector, with a pair of Pioneer DVD players, as well as a Panasonic 65” plasma screen. Programme sound comes from wall-mounted Meyer Sound UPM-1Ps, fed by an Audio Prof PIR 7600 pre-amp and mixer. S Meyer Sound CP-10 provides parametric EQ. There are also a number of Shure and audiotechnica microphones supplied for use in the meeting rooms, and these are mixed using a Yamaha MG8/2.

The smaller of the two rooms seats 11 people and does without a projection system. Instead a 50” Panasonic plasma screen is installed. Sources and the sound system are the same as in the larger room. Media control in each of these spaces is provided by a Cue Elite-A-8X10 control package, comprising the airCUE 8x10 touch panel and ipCUE-alpha controller.

In line with its goal of hosting discussions and events, Dogus Otomotiv commissioned a 140-seat conference room and film theatre. It is equipped with high-definition projection from a Barco FLM HD14 15,000 ANSI Lumen projector playing HD content from a Samsung HD-DVD player.

There is a full, cinema standard, surround-sound solution installed as well. Meyer Sound MM4s are used for the surrounds and a combination of UPJ-1P and M1Ds are used for the front channels. A pair of USW-1P compact subs provide low frequency support for the system. A second Digi Design Profile console is used for FoH mixing with a Pioneer VSX-AX2AV-S supplying the surround sound processing for movie playback. Otomotion’s stock of wireless microphones can be employed in this space as with any of the others.

Another stand-alone facility is known as the Future of Motion. This interesting marketing suite is a circular room, offering a 180-degree cinema experience. A curtain screen covers half the circle and three soft blended, Barco Sim5 simulation projectors combine for a screen with a resolution of 3750 x 1080. Visitors are able to stand in the centre of the room to enjoy a panoramic show, often used to present new models from the various manufacturers. Amina AIN5 Pro panels, powered by Crest CA6 amplifers are mounted in the walls to provide accompanying surround sound. A trio of 37” Panasonic plasma screens on the back wall carry complimentary content served from the central control room.

Apart from the Panasonic displays installed in the various hospitality and meeting spaces there is also an extensive, distributed network of 37” and 42” screens spread around the site. All in all around 70 plasma screens were supplied. Most of these sit on a digital signage network driven by four Comm-Tec Pro Players situated in the main technical room. These serve up marketing content and information, but these displays can also be tasked to show television.

This project was first introduced to me as a car show room, but that hardly does it justice. Brand Centre, Multipurpose venue, both of these terms equally apply. It’s hard to pigeon-hole an installation that features such a range of different facilities and equipment. It was the multipurpose aspect of the project that made it most difficult.

First Akin remarked: “I think this is the first building in the world to combine all of these different elements in one place – showroom, restaurant, cinema, live sound stage. That is what made designing the system quite so tricky. It was very interesting to work on this project."