Malaysia’s Bandar Utama City development board has chosen an apt name for its new hotel, apartments and food and beverage outlets. Richard Lawn reports from Avante
Malaysia’s latest five-star property, Avante – which implies forward motion – is located in the rapidly developing Damansara district of Kuala Lumpur, which boasts a residential suburb, shopping centre and MRT public transport system. Marketed as “avant-garde and chic with modern vibes”, the property aims to attract cosmopolitan travellers and local businesses alike for weddings, conferences, meetings and exhibitions. To enhance the feature set of the Avante Hotel and Powerhouse residential units, the owner insisted on integrating premium AV and lighting technology in order to enable and enhance the user experience.
Drawing on more than two decades of extensive experience in the Malaysian hospitality sector, systems integrator Noblecom Technology was nominated to install the AV systems into Avante. Working closely with AV consultant Eddie Ng from Juru & Teras Bersekutu, the company began engineering works in the Powerhouse before moving onto the hotel. For the latter, Noblecom’s signature fitout has been applied to the Zest coffee house and spectrum bar lounge. However, its main work and overall challenge was the Grand Ballroom and 11 function rooms, totalling some 2,000m2 of opulent space.
The 770m2 Grand Ballroom can host a capacity of 800 standing or 400 seated guests. Lavishly designed with two extensive overhead chandeliers, the 24m x 32m venue can be subdivided by an acoustic partition into the separate Sapphire and Diamond Ballrooms. Catching the eye upon entry are the four 2.5mm pixel pitch LED 550-D series screens developed by NovaStar. When divided, 4.8m x 3.4m screens provide the visuals for guests from their fixed positions on the far wall, while two 6.4m x 3.4m screens fixed to the opposite wall can be used when the rooms are combined.
“The resolution of the larger screens is in traditional 16:9, but we had to adapt this to 4:3 for the 3.4m-high screens,” comments Noblecom director, Saw Siong Yih. “The use of traditional projectors would have clashed with the interior design aesthetics of the space, most notably of the chandeliers above.” Localised VGA and HDMI together with Sony PTZ cameras and Blu-ray players are routed to an Extron XTP II CrossPoint 1600 16-in/16-out digital matrix switcher before being output to the four LED screens and smaller displays in the pre-reception area. The addition of three NovaStar MCTRL600 LED display controllers supports the extra-large resolution formats required by the screen sizes.
DSP settings for room-combining scenarios in either landscape or portrait mode have been created for the divisible space in the software settings of the Q-Sys Core 110f processor. In addition, the beams emitting from the eight Renkus-Heinz Dual IC Live Gen5 column speakers have been adjusted to compensate for use of the partition and stored within the presets of the Q-Sys software. Enhancing low-frequency extension down to 32Hz (±3dB), four floor-standing Renkus-Heinz 215S subwoofers can be patched into one of the five customised facility panels, which also incorporate DVI, AV, HDMI, VGA, Dante and 1–4 mic inputs together with monitor outputs.
For announcements, speeches and low SPL BGM, a simple 100V line ceiling speaker solution consisting of 12 QSC AD-C80T models can receive audio signals from the main hotel PA or from the two Grand Ballroom overhead control rooms. When combined, a Yamaha TF5 32-channel console is used for audio mixing in the Grand Ballroom. However, when subdivided, a TF3 model is sufficient for the needs of Sapphire, while the TF5 can still be used for dedicated Diamond functions. In addition to the facility panels, audio sources include TASCAM CD-200SW players together with eight UHF channels of Audio-Technica ATW-3000 transmitters for combining with ATW-341b handhelds, headworn BP894cW cardioids and BP893cW omnidirectional earset models.
From the control room, the technicians control the AV and lighting room function parameters from an Extron touchscreen, while two iPads function as portable touchscreens, providing dedicated audio and video control including source, volume and DSP adjustments within each ballroom. A total of 64 Philips Strand PAR profiles, Fresnels and LED fixtures combine to create various lighting ambiences from the six trusses fixed onto the ceiling around both chandeliers. Lighting control is performed on one of two Strand Lighting 250ML consoles.
Eight meeting rooms are divided by a corridor on the ground level of Powerhouse. Three of the four suites – Amber, Emerald, Garnet and Jade, Jasper, Quartz – can be combined on either side to create junior ballrooms by removing the partitions. Hence, room-combining DSP settings are programmed within the software of the Q-Sys Core 110f processors. Each separate meeting room is equipped with a Panasonic PT-VW350 4,200-lumen projector mounted on a ceiling-suspended scissor lift and a motorised screen. Video sources connected to the VGA and HDMI inputs within the customised, wall-mounted facility panels are fed into a back of house rack with an eight-in/eight-out Extron DXP HD 4K CrossPoint matrix.
The audio setup within the junior ballrooms and meeting rooms mirrors a scaled-down version of the Grand Ballroom. Powered by ½-rack QSC SPA2-60 amplifiers, the ceiling speaker solution combines QSC AD-C80T models and Audio-Technica 3000 Series wireless microphones.
The Q-Sys Q-LAN is created by the network of STP Cat-6 cabling that connects all eight rooms to Cisco SG-300-28PP switchers in the two back of house racks. Audio video parameters are controlled from the individual QSC TSC-47 4.7-inch wall panel touchscreens for source, volume, combining and matrix switching.
“We respected the wishes of interior design consultant Addy Wong from the Addy Design Consultancy,” explains Noblecom director, Alan Tan. “Some of the cable runs are over 100m and so extenders are required for some of the twisted pairs running the video signals to and from the Extron Matrix.” Three standalone meeting rooms – Pearl, Rubellite and Moonstone – are equipped with similar AV setups on the lower level. Finally, the hotel lobby ceiling required a higher power SPL solution, and this has been provided by QSC AD-C1200 12-inch ceiling speakers augmented by wall-recessed AD-S28 subwoofers.
The creation of both QSC’s Q-LAN as well as Dante digital audio networks will add to the venues’ flexibility and simplify future upgrades when required. “Interior design sensitivities are required when you are enhancing function rooms with AV technology, so, with the exception of the LED displays, the AV equipment needs to be as discreet as possible,” adds Saw Siong Yih. “The adoption of plug-and-play setups that can be easily patched into these rooms and networked ultimately benefits everyone.”