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Heart of glass

Heart of glass
An exterior view of Cé La Vi

Heart of glass

A custom audio solution performs at Taipei’s new opulent high-rise bar. Ledetta Asfa-Wossen takes a look

A rooftop lounge in Taiwan’s fashion capital, located on the 48th floor of the recently opened Nanshan skyscraper overlooks the city on one side and the mountainous Yangmingshan National Park on the other. But a lofty glass building of this kind can present a few audio challenges if not planned astutely.  

In the heart of Taipei’s Xinyi district, Cé La Vi, is home to a sumptuous dining room, lounge, bar and rows and rows of secluded outdoor booths and a complete sound system design was required to encompass the entire indoor and outdoor area of the 1,400sqm space. Funktion-One was assigned with the audio design, while Audio 6 was appointed onsite contractor for this particular endeavour. A first of several openings planned in the region for the Cé La Vi Group, the next being in Shanghai in the summer. 

‘With a space like this, it’s fundamental that you keep the speakers directed away from the huge amount of glass. Without careful consideration it would have been very easy for the acoustics to descend into a mush of smearing reflections, which would obviously deteriorate the quality of the sound and, in turn, the audience experience,’ explains Funktion-One design engineer, Mike Igglesden.

Balancing interior design and acoustics is a familiar battle and one that Jonathan Liao, owner of Taiwan distributor Audio 6, is fully acquainted with. ‘The glass was definitely an obstacle. A lot of thought and discussion went into the speaker placements. In the outside booths, by using smaller speakers and locating them in closer proximity to the people, we minimised the strong reflections from the glass and created a more uniform and personal sound. The building does not allow for any permanent fixings, which required some custom metal clamps to be made.’. 

Designed in collaboration, ​the venue was fitted with a total system made up of 4x Resolution 2s, 28x F81 loudspeakers with 2x BR218 and 15x BR115 bass speakers that are altogether linked to provide a more immersive sound experience against the bar’s cityscape backdrop. 

The bar
The bar

‘We were able to provide intimate stereo sound for all the booths. Around the bar, we implemented a four-point system, creating an immersive dancing environment for livelier moments,’ describes Igglesden. ‘As house music features most nights, there still needs to be plenty of bass and headroom to allow the DJ to turn it up when needed. Funktion-One was on hand to deliver knowledgeable advice on the design and system specifications,’ adds Liao.

As the space functions as both a bar and a lounge, the client required even sound throughout the venue, with the ability to increase levels when appropriate.

‘The highly controlled directivity of the Res 2 – as with all Funktion-One speakers uses Axhead technology – and focuses the sound on the areas where it is required and delivers high-quality audio in what is a fairly challenging environment,’ adds Igglesden.

‘While the main room system consists of 2x Resolution 2 speakers and two BR218 bass reflex speakers to help deliver plenty of output, the distributed F81s and BR115s create a much more personal and intimate environment in the booths,’ adds Liao. These are all powered by Full Fat Audio amplifiers with internal DSP and are controlled with an Allen & Heath Qu-16 digital mixer. 

The booth area
The booth area

‘No two installations are identical even if they may often have similar requirements. The techniques that we have developed by taking an active involvement in a range of installations allows us to really provide great results through our partners around the world,’ adds Igglesden. 

A shrewdly-designed system for the unique challenges of this particular building and one that seems to have benefited from the manufacturer’s hands-on approach to the install. 

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