Solutions: Gothia Towers hotel complex fits Baldwin Boxall VA system21 May 2015
The recently expanded three-towered Swedish hotel sought a voice alarm system able to withstand the daily rigours of this multi-functional complex.
Gothia Towers in Gothenburg is one of the biggest hotel complexes in Europe. It consists of 1,200 rooms in three towers connected by a basement floor and two bridge walkways on the 20th floors. The hotel is also part of an exhibition centre and sports arena, making it a popular event location.
The hotel’s three towers were built in stages to gradually increase the number of rooms. The smallest and oldest tower was built 20 years ago followed by the centre tower in 2001 – seven new luxury floors were added to this during 2013 – and finally in 2014 tower three was completed. The extension of the centre tower is called Upper House and is a separate five-star hotel.
ITM Meeting Solutions and Soliflex Svenska were responsible for sound systems and AV equipment in all three towers; ITM focused on video and Soliflex on audio and system programming. The pair were recently invited to work out a method of using the voice alarm system on a daily basis in a more creative way.
Claes Gustavsson, MD at ITM, says: “Fredrik and Jan [Setterberg] at Soliflex have a unique knowledge of audio and system programming which is a necessity to be able to fulfil complex systems such as Hotel Gothia.”
From the ground up
Tower one currently lacks a modern evac system but plans are in place for it to get the same Baldwin Boxall voice alarm system as the other structures.
However the ground floor reception areas, restaurant and coffee shops are fully integrated in the new systems. They also have a common background music (BGM) system for the whole area as well as separate music channels for the different restaurants and more located on the ground floor.
Jan and Frederik Setterberg got involved in equipment supply as well as the design of the evac system integration with the BGM system in 2011 when the decision was made to build Upper House. Therefore many of the evac loudspeakers had to be upgraded to equipment more suitable for music. The loudspeakers were arranged in different sections so the restaurants, spa sections as well as the local reception, were all able to control their own music selections.
The BGM sound system has a loudness function following Fletcher-Munson curves, securing better sound quality at lower sound levels. To control and adjust parameters a Q-Sys Core 250i integrated core DSP unit was installed; the DSP offered the power needed as well as many useful functions included in the software. QSC control panels enable individual control of the BGM system. These panels were installed at selected positions to avoid unauthorised access of the system. The Q-Sys unit is connected to the Baldwin Boxall system, so if an alarm is activated the BGM system is automatically muted.
Tower three is the latest addition to Gothia Towers – completed in late 2014 it takes the room total up to 1,200. The evac system uses an additional Baldwin Boxall system as well as the same type of loudspeakers as Upper House in tower two.
The Q-Sys unit in tower two has the processing power needed for tower three as well as some spare capacity for future expansion.
The restaurant on level 29 in the new tower will also have a conference system consisting of an AV screen, a laptop audio input and three Shure ULX-D digital wireless systems also connected to the voice alarm loudspeakers. The Shure system, which is under the control of the DSP unit, was chosen due to the narrow bandwidth per channel and the AES encryption.
In the new parts of the ground floor is the Twenty-four-seven restaurant, which is also included in the new BGM system, and is equipped with higher-quality loudspeakers to give guests a better listening environment. Italian restaurant Incontro, also on the ground floor, is to be fitted with a new sound installation and PA system later this year and Soliflex expects to use the same Q-Sys unit for control.
The Gallery, located close to the lobby, hosts art exhibitions and can play music suited to what’s on display, or the same music as the rest of the lobby when no exhibitions are scheduled.
The conference centre also boasts a new PA system designed to reach the 1,500 delegates it holds and can also be used for music performances or a combination of both. The conference centre has a very short reverb time
(RT60 = 0.75), giving STI values of about 0.7-0.75. The new sound set-up is an L-Acoustics ARCS system flying above the stage and is complemented by L-Acoustics XT speakers as front fills and delays.
The music played throughout the hotel comes from the Spotify Enterprise music system. This helps the hotel schedule music suitable for different areas, days of the week and times of day. Although the system uses internet streaming, the music is cached in the playout device, so if connection is lost it will keep playing for several hours.