Grahams Hi-Fi triumphed in the competitive 'Best Integrated Home' category of the 2009 CEDIA Awards, with their clean and well-integrated solution for a contemporary city apartment. The judges noted the way in which technology, in particular lighting, was used to enhance rather than detract from the architect’s (Tonkin Liu) vision.
Grahams were asked to design and install a range of whole-house systems for this large, open-plan apartment, including multi-room audio and control of heating, ventilation, lighting, data networking and much more. The minimalist design of the apartment meant that everything had to be carefully hidden wherever possible, without compromising performance.
As a consequence the AV system boasts some smart, custom-made solutions including a bespoke mechanism from Future Automation which folds the Meridian projector up into the wall when not in use.
Particular attention has also been paid to controlling the airflow so that there is no requirement for air-conditioning and colour change LED/ DMX controlled lighting has been used to Spectacular effect to bring out the apartment’s architectural features. The whole apartment is particularly energy efficient with the lighting scheme (designed by Martin Barclay) based on around 70% low energy but dimmable light sources - current building regulations require 30% of the fittings to be low energy.
Crestron in-wall touch panels integrate seamlessly with the apartment block intercom and call the porter on the ground floor when required, as well as providing a method of activating the passenger lift that brings guests directly into the apartment. The result is a showcase of modern architecture and technology, sitting on top of a six storey Edwardian building.
As this apartment was very much of minimalist design and very contemporary, we came up with a unique idea of folding the video projector up into the wall. This made good use of a window recess that was being blocked in.
At the press of a button, the panel gently lowers the projector into the correct position. Whilst this is happening, on the opposite wall, the plasma screen (if it was on) is moved back into the false wall and the projection screen drops down from the ceiling. The lift mechanism was custom made for us by Future Automation who also made the plasma moving panel lift.
The Meridian video projector is full 1080p high definition and is used for Sky HD, Blu-Ray, DVD.
The Vutec electric screen has a "trap door" cover which hides the slot in the celing when the screen is up. The main front and surround speakers are Triad in-ceiling models which are internally angled towards the listener.
On occasions where you don't want to lower the blinds (which are fully remotely controlled) you have the option of watching on the 42" pioneer plasma screen which disappears into the wall when not in use.
Other automation and control includes the operation of the heating, ventilation, the apartment door entry and lift control and even the contemporary fire which is turned on and off via the Crestron control touch panels.
At the other end of the apartment is the open plan kitchen, dining and study area. The perforated panels in the dormer windows and the roof lights contain energy efficient LED and Fluorescent lighting which are DMX controlled to allow color changes at the touch of a button.
The ceiling and dormer recesses include motorised vents which open automatically on a hot summers day, to allow a natural chimney effect and drop the temperature rapidly without the need for air conditioning.
Also located behind these panels are the speakers for music. The study area (with the octagon table and rooflight) can be closed off to become a guest bedroom with a fold down bed.