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High impact solution for iGuzzini HQ

A leading Italian lighting manufacturer wanted to make an impact with its new headquarters’ facilities, which features a high-tech conference room/auditorium area, writes Mike Clark.

iGuzzini, a leading Italian lighting manufacturer, whose fixtures are to be found in key architectural and street lighting applications worldwide, as well as in airports, stations and other locations, recently opened the doors to its new HQ revealing a Christie Mirage WU12K-M 3D projector, Biamp Audia Flex CM with Cobranet, Tannoy VS10BP and an array of other equipment.

Established by members of the Guzzini family over half a century ago, the company has grown to boast a sales network in 64 countries, receiving accolades and awards for its products’ innovation, design and eco-sustainability.

The company recently expanded its 150,000sqm headquarters in Recanati (in the Marches region of Italy) with the addition of a striking new four-storey Light Laboratories, designed by Genoa architect Maurizio Varratta under the banner of sustainability and energy efficiency. In fact, the International Initiative for a Sustainable Built Environment’s Sustainable Building Challenge Protocol for assessing buildings’ sustainable performance resulted in a rating of 3.5, the highest received to date by an office building in Italy.

As well as an R&D department, offices and showroom facilities, the building, for which the acoustic design was by Munich’s Müller BBM, also hosts a high-tech auditorium/conference room with an impressive array of AV technology, installed by system integrator Videoworks.

High impact
The building makes a big impact even from the outside, with its LED-lit double skin facade and green roof, and the auditorium is up to the same high standards. The room is 24m long and 10m wide; it can accommodate almost 300 people in the stylish Poltrona Frau seating, or can be divided into two rooms measuring approximately 12m by 10m, each holding around 130 attendees.

Videoworks system engineer Carlo Bellocchio followed the project from its conception, through design and on-site work management to co-operation with the company’s help desk for any after-sales matters.

He states: “The brief we got from the client was fundamentally twofold – the room had to be a multi-functional multimedia facility suitable for use for small-scale events, such as in-house courses, and for large conferences with attendees from abroad. Secondly, we had to ensure that participants in the events felt they were actually part of the presentations or events staged, and the high-end technology had to ensure the utmost impact.”

The main problem to be solved to achieve these aims was the positioning of the projectors and the screens, since the room can also be divided into two independent rooms for smaller events thanks to a mobile acoustic wall made from sound-absorbent timber acoustic panels mounted on a metal frame. This meant that there was a considerable reduction in the space for the positioning of the main projector, which had to project on to a large screen that is moved according to room format and the type of events staged. This hurdle was overcome by choosing a projector that, as well as being suited to 3D projection, was able to be fitted with a 1.1:1 lens with the possibility of having various lens shift positions that could be remotely recalled. “This means that, according to the event being held in the rooms, the image can be positioned at the necessary screen level.”

As far as the specific equipment chosen by Videoworks to satisfy the client’s requirements is concerned, Bellocchio indicates two particularly worthy of note: ”One is the Crestron modular DigitalMedia switcher, which can handle a multitude of signals in various formats over various distances with a single integrated system including the distribution and extension of the signals on fibre and STP cables.”

Signals are HDMI, VGA for PC connections, high-definition HDMI signals from the video sources, HD-SDI signals from the cameras and standard definition analogue signals for the AUX connections.

The Videoworks engineer continues: “The other interesting unit is the 3D video projector, a Christie Mirage WU12K-M 3D DLP projector, which features 10,500 ANSI lumens, WUXGA resolution and up to 10,000:1 contrast, providing cinema quality active 3D, which attendees can watch with customised iGuzzini glasses.”

The room’s second projector is another Christie unit (6,000 ANSI lumens) with native WUXGA (1920 x 1200) resolution and interchangeable powered 2.0-4.0:1 zoom lens. The main projection screen is a Da-Lite Cinema Contour fixed frame screen with a custom 600 x 375cm high-gain projection surface, whereas the smaller (332 x 187cm) model is a tensioned Comm-Tec Electric Master screen with Da-Lite projection surface.

The 3D projector is mounted at the end of the room and the other halfway down, right after the partition wall.
The room’s video setup is completed by a quartet of Panasonic 0.3in HD integrated motorised cameras, controlled by a Panasonic remote camera controller; videoconferencing requirements are catered for by a Cisco 1080p HD codec with dual display. Video sources are a custom 3D playout workstation complete with dual output card stereoscopic player software, a Gefen high-definition personal video recorder and a Full HD 3D Blu-ray/DVD player.

As far as audio is concerned, two Duran Audio Axys Intellivox DS-180-2 beam-shaping arrays are wall-mounted behind the speakers’ table with two DS-115-2 arrays on the wall midway down the hall. The same goes for the floor-mounted Tannoy VS 10BP compact bandpass subwoofers, which are hidden behind the room’s wall panels, which have acoustics vents.

When the room is divided, an appropriate configuration preset is called up on the Biamp AudiaFLEX digital audio platform, which, as well as routing facilities, also features mixer functions, EQ, filters, crossover, dynamics, delays and more.

The facility’s Sennheiser digital interpretation system, with three five-channel FM modulators and a pair of high-power radiators, features in an SDC 8200 ID interpreter unit in each of the two booths overlooking the conference room.

Control is courtesy of a Crestron dual-bus control system and an Apple iPad WiFi LCD with custom GUI and a wireless access point and two Ethernet switches (all Cisco).

Bellocchio concludes: “Compared with previous systems we have designed and installed, the aspects that distinguish the iGuzzini project is the great flexibility with which, in a room that can be used as a single venue or two smaller ones, a large number of high-definition sources can be freely allocated exactly where they are required. Then there is also the fact that the eight languages of the simultaneous translation system can be split as required between the two rooms, enabling two events requiring translation to be held simultaneously. Obviously the fact that a 3D projection system is imported from its native operating environment – the cinema – to be used in a corporate conference room enables the company to also stand out for excellent quality and an extremely high impact from the point of view of corporate marketing.”