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Aegean Sunset - a high-tech home cinema in Athens, with rustic charm (3/8/2009)
By Projecting & Sounding ART
Two years ago, Projecting & Sounding ART was approached by a customer who wanted a dedicated home cinema room in his residence in Athens, Greece. Given the fact that he and his family are permanent residents in London, UK. and the Athens house is used for frequent business and vacation trips, we were presented with a challenge: he didn't want 'just another home theatre', rather, the room had to resemble a backyard of an Aegean island house, like the one he grew up in. Without compromising the goal of an excellent home cinema, we had to achieve the main goal of bringing an Aegean house backyard into the 68 square metres available.
After elaborate measurements of the space and extensive conversations with the owner, we provided him with 3D images of our proposal for the Aegean Sunset cinema. Those images were the starting point for our final design, which was affected by our client's preferences and desires. He was also presented with a number of possible equipment setups, from which he chose the final setup.
Being inspired by an Aegean house, the project had to employ traditional craftsmanship, which is rare nowadays. A vital process for us was to find and recruit the best craftsmen and artists, who would create the ideal Aegean environment. The team was carefully selected and hired two months before the commencement of building. The wall painting, a remarkable artistic accomplishment, offers the illusion of a view of the Aegean sea, and covers the entire space between the wood and stone elements. The rare, traditional hewed stone construction process used, is called 'kserolithia', which only uses a very small amount of mud, with the hacked stones being perfectly matched and braced against each other. The silk flowers are exact replicas of real flowers, and the grass in front of the screen is synthetic.
The installation process was not a simple task: high-tech equipment had to be installed without compromising the rustic feel of our 'backyard'. To that end, the 42U rack was hidden behind the traditional wood oven that is a very common in Greek villages, but also serves as a 'smart' access to the back of the equipment. In addition, the massive Panasonic HVACs were hidden inside the false ceiling of the room.
A wide selection of sources is used, including players such as the Denon DVD A1XVA, the Samsung Blu-ray and HDDVD BD-UP5000, the Sony BluRay BD-S1E and the Pixel Magic Systems HDMedia Box200. Signals pass through the Pixel Magic Systems Crystalio VPS3800 scaler, to the selected JVC D-ILA HD1 projector. The projector is mounted into a four-way lift, custom created by Unitech systems, featuring back/forth and up/down movement, giving us the ability to adjust the picture size at will. As a result, the projected image can vary in length between 2.3 an 4 metres. The image is projected onto a staggering 200" Stewart ScreenWall Luxus Deluxe StudioTek130, mounted between the two columns that hold the front speakers.
The left/right front speakers consist of two Martin Logan Script-i electrostatic panels each, in accordance with the customer's strong wish for Martin Logan speakers. As the speakers are not typically a first choice for home theatre projects of this scale, they posed a significant installation challenge. Martin Logan's technical director came to our aid, providing us with solutions that helped us bring out the best from the electrostatic panels. When they are not in use, the panels slide sideways and face the side walls. Conversely, when the cinema is used, they slide sideways to face the audience.
The front centre speaker is a Martin Logan Theater-i, while the surround speakers are again, Martin Logan Script-i panels. The audio system was completed with the addition of two MJ Acoustics subwoofers. The audio is amplified by the Denon A1XV that receives audio from the above-mentioned sources.
The colour of choice for the ceiling was blue-black, and this was also used for the walls in front of the audience. Besides the obvious fact that the matte blue-black surfaces are not reflective, which helps the projection quality, they also provide a 'summer night' feel that adds to the detail of the Aegean sunset.
What really stands out in this theatre, is the detail. In order to create the illusion we were after, the room was adorned with lighting using traditional lamps found across houses in the Aegean islands, a magnificent working traditional lion fountain and hidden lighting detail that add to the rural feel. The doors and windows, imitating the backyard environment and giving a touch of 'life in the background', are actually the access to the owner's extensive movie collection, drinks and glass sets. The 'star-lit sky' was created with the use of fibre optics, cut in various lengths to create a 3D effect. An old solid-steel door was installed, finished in gold spot paint, as found in villages across Greece.
The cinema is fully operated through a Noemon Total Control system, which is integrated and controls the entire house. The comfort of this backyard cinema is further enhanced by the luxurious velvet chairs, which were custom-designed and manufactured for the project.
The Aegean Sunset is now completed and a part of the owner's family life. Apart from hosting movie nights, it is a quick getaway from within the house itself! We are very happy and proud to have been able to bring some of the owner's childhood memories into his home. His sincere joy upon the completion of the project, was a major reward for us!
Projecting & Sounding ART specialises in the design and implementation of home automation and integration, as well as home theatres.
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