Swedish design is famous the world over, but Swedish wine is likely to raise eyebrows. Yet, a visit to the glorious Ästad Vingård, in Halland county in Southern Sweden, is likely to put paid to certain preconceived ideas. Ästad has created an entire experience around the vineyard—which is all organic—including a beautiful hotel complete with a modern conference center, a sumptuous spa, and two restaurants, one of which has just been awarded a Michelin star. With the accent very much on the sensory experience, where sound is as important as everything else, a Genelec Smart IP loudspeaker solution has been installed throughout the newly refurbished garden rooms and suites, set apart from the main hotel.
Nestled between two lakes in the Akulla beech forests nature reserve, the vineyard has made the most of its stunning setting, focusing on wellness and relaxation. To create a holistic experience in keeping with the beautiful natural surroundings, Ästad brought in Efterklang—experts in sound design, acoustics, and vibration control—to create a sound concept that could be implemented throughout different areas of the venue, and especially the spa, that would evoke the surrounding natural environment and harmonize with the other sensory impressions in the various spaces.
AV integration firm Special-Elektronik were called in by the project owner and installation company Granitor (previously known as Midroc Electro), to design the AV and lighting solution for the recent refurbishment of the Garden rooms and suites. Henrik Asp, who is in charge of projects at Special-Elektronik, explains that they were working on an extremely tight timeframe, so it was imperative to find solutions that would minimize installation time as well as deliver the quality required. The Smart IP range of loudspeakers from Genelec were an obvious solution.
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“Our brief from Ästad Vingård was to achieve the same functionality in the refurbished Garden rooms as in the rooms of the main hotel, a project that we helped them with a few years earlier,” explained Asp. “As part of that project I had already specified two rooms with Genelec loudspeakers, both of which are highly appreciated by guests and the owners.
“Knowing that Genelec would deliver the quality levels required by the customer, and mindful of the time constraints involved, I decided that a Smart IP solution using the compact 4420 models in the beautiful RAW aluminum finish would be ideal,” he continued. “The single CAT cable which supplies power, audio and control gave us the freedom and ability to implement all the IP music streams already used in the main system—including Efterklang’s amazing soundscapes—with excellent sound quality and a quick and easy installation.”
Special-Elektronik provided 24 4420s—one for each room—which deliver all the audio in that space, ranging from audio from the TV, streaming from guests’ mobile devices, radio or room ambience sounds, a programmable “wake-up” scene, and a ‘welcome back’ scene. Audio distribution throughout the venue is managed by QSC with control by Crestron. Finally, four of the more powerful 4040s from the 4000 Series grace one of the conference rooms in the main hotel and the gym, located in the luxurious Sinnenas Spa.
Asp noted that the RAW finish and the sustainable ethic that underpins Genelec were added benefits to the quality and ease of installation. “Ästad Vingård prides itself on its nature-inspired, sustainable approach to everything they do. Their wine is organic and along with a Michelin star for the excellence of the food creation at their ÄNG restaurant, they have also been awarded the guide’s green star for their meticulous work on sustainability, plus a host of other awards for sustainable business practices. It therefore stands to reason that they prefer to use suppliers who share the same “green” mindset—and Genelec is a great example of this. The RAW finish is even better—not only does the natural look of the recycled aluminum enclosure match perfectly with the Ästad aesthetic, but the RAW versions require no paint and less finishing material—making them an even more ecologically friendly choice.”
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Efterklang’s Alexander Kassberg, one of the sound designers involved in the project, agreed that Genelec was an excellent choice. “Although our role was strictly content related in this instance, we are of course familiar with Genelec and have used their loudspeakers in several of our projects. In our view, Genelec loudspeakers are extremely well suited for this high-end concept at Ästad Vingård thanks to their high definition, broad sound field, and overall quality. Smart IP offers integrators a huge amount of flexibility for their designs and makes installation very straightforward. Finally, the RAW finish that was used here is a perfect complement to the natural environment evoked by our soundscapes and Ästad’s beautiful design.”