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If teamwork makes the dream work, then this collaborative installation between Monto Projects, Pro AV Solutions and WSP is a perfect anecdote of how teams do make the dreams a reality.
A family-owned company office located in Richmond, Melbourne, are the recipients of this major high-end AV fitout, with a brief that demanded exceptional quality and nothing but the best. Project Manager David Castro from Monto Projects relays how they were approached by the customer through their reputation from bigger clients. As project and development management experts, Monto brings the whole team together, finding solutions for their clients based on their briefs, ensuring they’re instrumental in every stage of the process.
AV Consultant Manoje Indraharan from WSP, a company dedicated to incorporating AV, ICT and technology elements into spaces, was approached by Monto to come up with solutions that would work within a budget and blend in with the interior designs. AV Installer/ Integrator John McKernan and Head of Design and Engineering Steven Nayler from Pro AV Solutions completes the team, noting their ability to come up with a good budget and demonstrated expertise. Being able to come up with contingency plans was also essential for this project, due to a certain pandemic that threw a giant AV spanner in the works.
With a healthy budget and brief that insisted on leaving an impression on its clients and technology that “must work quickly, efficiently and work every time,” Manoje notes the client’s expectations for this small office were that they needed the technology to blend in, rather than looking like something that was tacked on later. Mission accomplished!
Despite design commencing in September 2021, the construction did not begin till March 2022, with an expected completion in August 2022. WSP designed a great control system which then had to be mitigated due to lead times and availability. According to John, the supply chain disruptions led WSP to re-engineering the system, which wasn’t without its challenges. This then entailed Pro AV Solutions having to re-do all their quotes and engineering, making sure it met its functional requirements.
When it came to making the switch midway through the project, “some things worked on paper but not in the physical environment,” John notes. Communication with other parties and replanning around new ETAs and hardware was required, which almost became a new project from scratch.
With the new contingencies now in place, the team worked with architects to adapt the technology into the different spaces, according to Manoje. A large LED 130-inch video wall in the boardroom became a proud feature of the project, which was downgraded from an entire wall due to its hindrance to the acoustic performance, as a large hard surface along with camera positioning would have taken away from the full immersive experience. Dual cameras, digital mics, Extron Crosspoint, native Microsoft Teams with BYOD and Foxtel were utilised in the impressive space.
In keeping with the theme of creating the ‘best’ of everything and leaving an impression, a creative solution was found when it came to a wall blocking the outside terrace views from the open work area. Manoje put forward the idea of installing two large panel screens back-to-back on the wall with small cameras on either side, fashioning a virtual window that can be viewed on either side.
David concedes this idea was quirky, simple, inexpensive and avoids compromising on the acoustics, which alternatives like one-way mirrors would cause. Looking out onto the terrace and staff break area ties the spaces together, providing an outlook beyond the wall; a room with a virtual view!
Returning to the client’s need for everything to “work quickly, efficiently and work every time,” Manoje ensured the technology’s user experience was the same in every room, according to David. Logitech Team touch panels in the rooms with an Extron backend control system are simple to use and only need to be learnt once and applied thereafter. The entire office’s audio system, linked by a central processor can also connect the whole space with a theme going through, Manoje explains. This allows music in the lobby during office hours to spill into the boardroom and a full expansion of audio throughout the entire office and balcony for functions and parties. Pro AV Solutions also made background music a custom interface that they programmed themselves on an Extron touch panel, with users picking a zone, selecting their music or pairing with their own devices.
The extent of scope by Pro AV Solutions included AV, microphones, speakers, screens, control system, virtual window, video conferencing, Apple TV, matrix switcher, audio, occupancy sensors and integration.
Two Samsung Frame displays were deployed in the founder’s office as their primary displays, showcasing artwork akin to the real thing. In keeping with the elegant seamless aesthetic finishes, the giant connection box with inputs and source selection was hidden in the ceiling.
Reflecting on the project and collaboration with other parties, David expressed the quality and attention to detail Pro AV Solutions and WSP brought with them. John noted the co-working between all parties being a positive and enjoyable experience, adding an example of “builders working with AV working with consultants working with project managers to have custom size cabinetry around the video walls to house AV equipment,” all leading to quality finishes without having to bother the client through the process.
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