"Philharmonic really transformed the environment in my new venture Cafe 1809. The quality service, installation and support to ensure everything works at its best has been great" (Dame Kelly Holmes)
When interior designer John Barnett asked us to design and install the AV for Dame Kelly Holmes' new business venture in Hilldenborough, we could hardly refuse! With double gold Olympic medallist Kelly, and the hugely talented interior designer John, at the helm, we knew this wouldn't be your average cafe and our decision to stray away from our usual exceptional residential installs was an easy one.
Named after Kelly's vest number at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, Cafe 1809's overriding objective was to create a welcoming place to not only eat and drink, but to relax and smile. The aesthetics of any AV equipment had to be considered on par with the functionality, and we couldn't wait to get designing!
The main TV in the cafe's seating area was planned to be positioned against a stunning feature wall of red brick. After careful consultation with the interior designer, we designed and supplied a lift mechanism within a beautiful piece of bespoke cabinetry for a 65" Samsung TV. This lift mechanism hides the TV when not in use, allowing the wall behind the unit to be visible - proof that AV equipment doesn't need to dominate a space.
Continuing with the theme of keeping the AV aesthetically low-key, we installed Samsung 48" TVs on slim flat wall brackets. A high brightness full HD projector (the screen automatically descends whenever the projector is switched on), means one meeting room can also to be used as a cinema.
We chose Freeview for live TV, a BluRay player for movies, an Apple TV to allow Airplay streaming and a PC with Powerpoint for marketing presentations, and located them all centrally in a rack kit connected to a video distribution system. This provides the cafe team with the ability to view any source on any display throughout the cafe.
With the aesthetics, as well as the technical requirements, of the cafe remaining at the forefront of our minds, we installed ceiling speakers throughout the premises. In the cafe seating area, we took this one step further and spray painted the grilles for these speakers in a RAL colour to match the ceiling finish, ensuring an absolutely seamless finish.
In the cafe seating area, Pavilion Lounge, beauty room and the smaller meeting room, we ensured that the amplification was appropriate for even background music coverage - there are few things worse when trying to enjoy a relaxing coffee in a cafe than overly-loud music.
We also connected the Freeview box and BluRay/DVD player to the system so that the TV audio can be routed to the ceiling speakers if required. In the larger meeting room, with the cinema capabilities, we installed an in-ceiling based surround sound system, connected to a Denon AV receiver.
A 5 output audio server allows access to streamed content from the internet and music stored on it or on the office computer. This device, combined with an audio switch, allows each room to have its own independent feed or allow the same feed to be played in multiple rooms as desired.
System Control Solution
We felt that a Savant automation system provided the perfect control system for the cafe, allowing the team to use an app on wall-mounted iPad Minis to control the audio and video in each area, even if the source is located in another area. Wall-mounting is secure and, with a dedicated power source, ensures that the iPads are always fully charged - both absolute musts in a busy cafe!
To ensure the best possible connection between devices and the wireless system at all times in the cafe, we felt that it was essential to install a managed wireless network system, as opposed to a traditional non-managed system. We also set up a guest network for paying customers which requires a unique password to gain access (and this can be set to expire after a given amount of time) and designed the system for the three networks to exist side by side. This means that the EPOS till system, the internal office network, and the guest network all share an internet connection but do not interact with each other.
We are delighted with both the technical aspects of the install - we feel that the functionality fulfilled (and exceeded) the brief - and are proud that our design and equipment complements John Barnett's amazing design. However, let's leave the last word to Dame Kelly Holmes:
"Philharmonic really transformed the environment in my new venture Cafe 1809. The quality service, installation and support to ensure everything works at its best has been great".