WELCOME TO EE! Meet our experts inside! LIFESTYLE LIVING with touchscreen control
HARMONY AT HOME Feng Shui for your AV
E M O H E T A ULTIM T N E M N I A T ENTER a movies – nd meg Smart systems a ustomer service s’ c with ‘Gold Clas
ENTERTAINING ENVIRONMENTS: ISSUE TWO www.e-e.com.au
E F I L H G I H E H T E V I L Entertaining Environments brings together a unique group of specialist hi-fi and audio-visual resellers, installers and significant others who, with their combined marketing and buying strength, offer a competitive premium alternative to the chain stores, together with unbeatable service. For consumers, the â€˜EEâ€™ mark stands as a badge of quality, representing a memberâ€™s experience and qualifications, and the promise that as a home or business owner we strive to ensure your expectations are not just met, they are exceeded.
The gateway to your experienced electronic lifestyle solution provider
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WEL COME Welcome to our second issue of Entertaining Environments. After a great response to our first issue and our broader consideration of living with technology in architecture and interior design, readers and subscribers were interested to hear more. This quarter we delve a little deeper into our design ‘spirit’ and considerations for AV and smart home integration with Feng Shui Master and EE affiliate member Jodi Brunner. Fellow member Karen Molloy continues to take us on our design journey and explains how colour psychology can create an impact in your home beyond a simple change of style. Personally, I’ve written an opinion piece that goes to the core of our group’s founding philosophies, and why price, range and choice are still only relative to understanding and expertise — something our members exhibit regularly and reliably. Even a cursory review of the project case studies in this quarterly issue provides a fabulous example of the excellent work our members carry out and their clients thoroughly enjoy.
Since the founding of EE there’s been a lot of discussion in our industry about the benefits of joining our group, and we continue to welcome new members and suppliers, including Canohm and Kordz, whose participation assists in driving our message with our existing group of professional members and suppliers. If you’re a consumer and you’re reading this, we are confident one of our priority goals to improve your next purchase has already begun with your awareness of our group. If you’d like to let us know of your experience with one of our members or any suggestions on how we might improve our service, please feel free to contact me. Rob Sanders Entertaining Environments www.e-e.com.au
IN THIS ISSUE 04 NEWS
08 DESIGN TRENDS
12 LIFESTYLE LIVING WITH TOUCHSCREEN CONTROL
16 THE AUSTRALIAN GARDEN
20 MOVIE NIGHT DONE ULTIMATION STYLE!
24 FENG SHUI: AV & INTERIOR DESIGN
28 THE PRICE OF PERCEPTION
30 USING THE EE WEBSITE
MUNICH HIGH END
(& A FUTURE FOR HI-FI) A SIGNIFICANT INCREASE in exhibitors and exhibition space ensured this year’s annual HIGH END in Munich was the biggest show of its kind. With more than 900 brands represented by 452 exhibitors, the exhibition was met with unanimous enthusiasm by the many visitors this writer spoke to — and no doubt the overall 18,000 that attended from around the globe.
BEST OF SHOW
One of the main topics of discussion surrounding these events is identifying the best rooms and products of the show. As always, this raises great conjecture and debate, which demonstrates our varied personal opinions and why choice can be critical — even though sometimes confusing without professional help and expertise to guide at hand. With current product and new releases from renowned CE and audiophile manufacturers, and bold start-ups with visionary ideas, there was something for everyone’s taste and budget, with a great many highlights of the show being represented in Australia by Entertaining Environments’ partners, our members and many others that very soon will be.
Munich HIGH END certainly showcases the pinnacle of the hi-fi industry, and loudspeaker companies get more than their share of attention. Speakers in excess of $100,000 are commonplace, with many topping $250,000 and even higher… A gorgeous pair of ultra-expensive Salon dipoles by Wolf von Lunga caught my eye, as did Living Voices’ speaker-sub combo with an asking price of $1,000,000. While you do, generally, get what you pay for, price is not necessarily a guide at the pointy end. The most talkedabout products from the loudspeaker manufacturers included Raidho Acoustics’ D5 (at $240,000) and D3 ($65,000), which utilise diamond-encrusted cones to raise the resonant frequency beyond the range of human hearing. Raidho’s new MB range starts from a jaw-droppingly reasonable $2500 with carbon woofers and PMD tweeter, due to debut in Australia in August. A range-topping Twenty Six ($12,000) complemented PMC’s highly awarded Twenty Series, adding a dome midrange built specifically for the Twenty Six and reminiscent of those legendary midrange domes seen in PMC’s studio monitors, as used by musical artists, sound and movie producers the world over. Entertaining Environments www.e-e.com.au
LEFT: Raidho Acoustics’ $65,000 D3 in walnut finish. ABOVE: Avantgarde Acoustic’s Zero One. ABOVE RIGHT: Living Voice’s Vox Olympian costs... $1 million dollars (aha aha)... BELOW: PMC’s latest Twenty Six loudspeaker (on right) with the rest of the company’s award-winning Twenty Series.
There were also the classics that, while their internals may have changed over time, their distinct aesthetic and improvement in their proprietary technologies continue to draw a crowd. The Tannoy Prestige GR keeps its timeless looks but adds new models for the contemporary consumer (DC10A, $40,000), while Avantgarde Acoustic, famous for its unmistakable horn loudspeakers, enter the modern living room with the exceptional Zero One, which uses DSP and active amplification to deliver the massive sound experience of horns in a more compact package. I will admit being drawn to loudspeakers more than any other glaringly visible AV or hi-fi product. They can make or break the interior design of the room (and with that, potentially, your marriage!). Amplifiers and source equipment can be hidden if the home owner desires, still maintaining the system’s high-grade performance provided they’re installed correctly on appropriate stands. Products that integrate beautifully yet perform to my desires will always be atop my list. And they don’t need to be more expensive than your home to satisfy! Indeed that’s what I took away as my overall perception of the show. As I enthusiastically — even gleefully — went from room to room around the show, it became clear that hi-fi has never left us. HIGH END and the hi-fi there on show was certainly more popular than it had been for a long time and was clearly only going to get stronger — and I have never seen so many happy faces at a show. Of course there was the usual mixed bag of exhibitors, and consumers and shows are hard work for them, but you sensed something good was happening here. With an entire generation having little idea what a true hi-fi system sounds like, here was an assembly of manufacturers building and demonstrating fabulous products at a fraction of the price of their cost-no-object flagship model, brand patriarchs that remind me of my early days enjoying music from my parent’s honestly performing hi-fi system that served us so well. We could do a lot worse today, but if music is treated with the respect shown at HIGH END this year, we can look forward to a new generation of hi-fi enthusiasts in the years to come. Rob Sanders
NEWS COUNTING DOWN TO APPLE’S ‘iWATCH’ “I think the wrist is interesting...” TIM COOK, APPLE CEO, D11 CONFERENCE
THE INTERNET OF THINGS IF ‘WEARABLE TECH’ is the buzzphrase on the streets (see the iWatch, right), at home all attention is focused on the ‘Internet of Things’, meaning the ongoing development of ever more household appliances and devices which can communicate with the internet, and with each other. Network security company Fortinet recently conducted a survey of homeowners in 11 countries, including Australia, asking questions relating to the Internet of Things as it pertains to the connected home. Although homeowners reported a willingness to pay more to enable a connected home, when asked what factors impact their buying decisions of connected home devices, the number one answer (consistent in all countries) was price, followed by features and functionality and then manufacturer brand. Privacy, trust and data breaches proved a key concern (as you might expect from a survey conducted by a security company), with 69 percent of respondents globally saying that they were either “extremely concerned” or “somewhat concerned” about exposure of sensitive, personal information. But the naivety of some responses may surprise the experienced installers whose services are available through Entertaining Environments. For example, we are informed that “In Australia, 53 percent of homeowners said that the connected home is extremely likely to happen in the next five years...” — yet qualified integrators are today already able to deliver smart
home solutions of the spectacular quality featured in the ‘Inspire Me’ section of EE’s website, www.e-e.com.au.
There is, however, no doubting the trend. Far more things than people are connected to the internet — a line that was crossed in 2008. By 2010 there were 12.5 billion devices connected to the internet, and Cisco predicts that some 25 billion devices will be connected by next year, and 50 billion by 2020. Early worries that the IPv4 protocol for internet addresses would not be able to handle such numbers have been assuaged by IPv6, which provides around 100 possible internet addresses for every atom on earth (the actual number of available IPv6 addresses is 340,282,366,920,938,463, 463,374,607,431,768,211,456).
While Apple, Google and others are eyeing up the domestic home market for this Internet of Things, it may be industrial applications which lead the way and reap the early benefits. CISCO CEO John Chambers recently told The Australian that mining, oil and gas would be top of his list for connecting the data from widespread and diverse internet-connected sensors, while connected health care, education and cities could revolutionise the way we deal with services, traffic and more. “We want everything to get connected, and we want to do it in an open fashion,” he told The Australian. Entertaining Environments www.e-e.com.au
WITH GOOGLE, LG and Samsung gaining interest (though decidedly mixed reviews and so-so sales) for their smart watch offerings, all eyes are on Apple as the rumours firm up for a fitnessbased wristwear launch from the Cupertino crew. Bloomberg reported that Apple has 100 engineers working on the project under the leadership of senior director of engineering James Foster, and with insiders predicting sales in the high millions within the current calendar year, an announcement can’t be far away — the smart money is on an October launch date. Further evidence came in the announcement that Apple’s next mobile operating system due in September, iOS 8, will include health data management tools, including a new ‘Health’ app. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that it expects 10 sensors on the ‘iWatch’ to track and monitor health and fitness data, and that several different models will be available from launch. LEFT: Raidho
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f o r e w o p e h T
R U O L O C
s Karen Molloy explain y how colour psycholog can create an impact a in your home beyond e. simple change of styl
Entertaining Environments www.e-e.com.au
n my last article we looked at the latest design trends for 2014, and I hope this provided you with inspiration to try something new. While it’s great to know about the latest colour trends, in this edition I am going to look at colour psychology and the emotional impact that colours can have on us all. This is an important consideration when looking at colour in your living environment. Have you ever wondered why your reaction to a particular colour over another may trigger a more expressive reaction in you than you expected? We are all affected by colour, and not just by its visual influence, but its subconscious influence too. Some elements of colour are objective, such as brightness (value), saturation (chroma) and hue (the actual colour, relating to its location along the colour spectrum). The subjective element — the perception of colour — is more difficult to measure. To illustrate this, let’s take a look at the three primary colours of red, blue and yellow (primary colours are created from three colours that cannot be made from other mixtures).
Blue is considered to be the ‘favourite’ colour throughout the world, and a cool colour. Blue is symbolic of the spirit, is calming and promotes peace. It is the colour of the gods and is the colour of Islamic mosques. Staring at this colour is thought to aid in meditation. Blue is the colour of the Blessed Virgin’s mantle, and King Edward III chose a blue ribbon to create the highest order of knighthood in England, thus defining blue as being synonymous for ‘the best’.
This is the colour of rest and relaxation, quite often associated with holidays due to the abundance of blue in nature, such as a blue sky or blue sea. Studies have shown that blue lowers the heart rate and prompts the body to release calming chemicals. It represents peace, loyalty, sincerity and justice. The use of blue in interiors usually creates a serene feeling. However note that not all blues are sedate, as electric or brilliant blues become dynamic and dramatic, expressing exhilaration. Overuse of blue or certain shades may create a cold effect.
This is an intense colour that is closest in wavelength to infrared and naturally seems to give off heat. It is eye-catching and can have a great emotional and dramatic impact. It can stimulate and excite the brain and appetite, and quicken the heartbeat. Throughout history and in many cultures, red has been used where instant impact is vital, such as on road signs, traffic symbols and danger warnings. In South East Asia, China and Japan, red is symbolic of celebration, luck and prosperity, while in India it is associated with fertility — it is used as a colour for weddings for this very reason. As a positive, it is the colour for courage and strength, but in a negative aspect, anger and violence. Known as a warm colour, it signifies energy and excitement and is the colour of passion and romance. However, be careful with it in the bedroom, as it can over-stimulate and contribute towards a restless sleep! This is a particularly important consideration when designing for a child’s bedroom. Red will most certainly attract attention in the home and is often used in kitchens and restaurants as it can stimulate the appetite.
This is the colour of sunshine, spring and cheerfulness. It is a warm colour that, like red, has 08-09
conflicting symbolism. On the one hand it represents happiness and joy, but on the other hand, yellow is the colour of cowardice
The power of
and deceit. Due to the high visibility of yellow (it is the most reflective of all colours) it is often used for hazard signs and on some emergency vehicles. In ancient Egypt, yellow was associated with gold, and the Egyptians used yellow quite extensively in their tomb paintings. During the Middle Ages, yellow became established as the colour of Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Christ, and from this connection yellow took on an association with envy and jealousy. Although it can work as a primary colour, yellow often works best as a companion to other colours. Bright yellow will create excitement when red may be too strong. Yellow brightens up a room and uplifts the spirit and is an excellent choice for children’s rooms and the family room. Karen Molloy runs KM Colour Designs, an interior design firm based in NSW and an Affiliate Member of Entertaining Environments. Tel: 0418 272 595, Email: Karen@kmcolourdesigns.com.au
Finally, as white is such a popular choice for both interior and exterior design, here is a quick review that may surprise you. Scientists tell us that white isn’t a colour at all, but represents white light in which all colours are blended. It is a powerful colour — as well as changing with the light, it reflects it and can transform colours around it. In Western countries it is the colour for brides, but in the East, it’s the colour for mourning. Some cultures viewed white as the colour of royalty or divine characters, such as angels. White is purity, cleanliness and innocence. To the human eye, white
is a brilliant colour and can cause headaches for some — too much white can be blinding. Snow blindness, which occurs with exposure to large quantities of white, then produces the complementary colour black. It is popular for designing interiors and in fashion because it is light, neutral and works with nearly everything. However, it can show dirt and imperfections more quickly than other colours. It can be a great colour for highlighting and brightening up dark areas, but take care if pure white is used, as it can appear too sterile. Including lots of different textures in the space can help to avoid this.
This is just a snapshot of the way colour impacts our lives. In addition, when considering colours for your home, there are warm versions of a cool colour, cool versions of a warm colour, and various degrees of warmth or degrees of coolness (temperature). Altering this can invoke a different emotion too. Entertaining Environments www.e-e.com.au
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g n i v i l e l y t s e f i L control n e e r c s h c u o t h t i w
offers iPad This unique property tertainment, control of lighting, en more... security systems and
ou don’t start something beautiful without envisioning what the end result will be,” says Ian Corless from integration experts Zentec. “We take every detail into account before any project begins, and pride ourselves on knowing exactly what you want and need before anyone moves a finger.” There’s plenty that can be considered beautiful around this lakeside home in Victoria, a newbuild project for which Zentec was invited to oversee the integrated systems that would enable the owners to enjoy iPad control over their lighting, security and access systems, plus multiple zones of entertainment, of both the music and movie variety. “These owners had a good idea of what they wanted for their new home,” says Ian. “Not the exact equipment, but certainly the experience they were after. They wanted seamless integration of various systems, with their lighting easily controlled from an iPad. They wanted audio controllable and available in many areas of the house, they wanted some form of home theatre upstairs, and they wanted integrated security too.”
Bringing it together
Zentec is a company located in Ocean Grove, Victoria, at the gateway to the spectacular scenery of the Great Ocean Road. Zentec’s tagline is “Where Harmony and Technology Meet”, and proprietor Ian Corless loves that his work takes him to some of the most amazing properties this area has to offer. Entertaining Environments www.e-e.com.au
t haortmheosmes smasrm
“Sometimes I’ll post a picture of an ocean view from some house I’m working in, and I’ll put as the comment — ‘Today’s office’,” he laughs. “Cheers them up back in the CBD.” As for his habit of visualising an outcome before laying a cable, that’s just good planning, born of his two-and-a-half decades of experience in the business. As well as being a member of Entertaining Environments, Zentec is a CEDIA member, a Clipsal pointOne integrator, and a ‘THX Certified Professional for Home Theaters’ — all marks of status which require high standards and ongoing education. But his primary goal is always to deliver a result that will satisfy and, where possible, exceed the expectations of his clients. With this home, Zentec had a phone call from the builder in Colac saying that an architect in Ballarat needed an alternate quote on integration for this job. “So in this case, it wasn’t the client contacting us directly,” says Ian. “We had a look at the spec and had a few different views of how to achieve the goals, well within the budget that had been allocated. They had poured the slab and were up to the steel work, but there weren’t any of the problems of being called in late to a job that’s already under way.” But first Zentec had to understand the needs of the client, organising a detailed consultation so they could discuss their expectations and lifestyle with Ian. “This is about understanding their needs, what they like, and how they live,” explains Ian. “Are they music or movie
people? Do they have two TVs for everyone in the house or do they relax and listen to music, or radio? I often say to clients that it’s like a seesaw — the more effort I put into the planning and programming, the less they’ll have to do.” But he rarely talks about the technology itself. “It’s our job to install the technology that does the work, but I talk about scenarios during a consultation — not about equipment. So in this case, I listened to their expectations, and once I knew what the client’s work was, and that he is often called out at night, I asked if it might be a useful thing if he could simply press a single ‘exit’ button to unlock the front door and the garage, so he can jump in the car, hit another button on the remote and have it all lock up again behind him. So his wife isn’t disturbed at all. When we talk about this kind of functionality, then provided I deliver it, they’re not so fussed about the products and specifications.” Ian set a realistic budget, within the specified costings, to deliver everything they asked for. Once the clients were onboard with the plans, Zentec set about delivering on Ian’s promises. And he is quick to credit the other trades involved in the job. “The architect and builder were both fantastic to work with,” he says. “In fact I’d say they and the client have been the best I’ve dealt with in 24 straight years in construction. That’s a big statement, but really, every stage on this job was a joy.” So credit, then, to architect John Wardle and builder Spence Constructions! Now let’s look around the home... >>
g Lifestyle livnin control with touchscree
There is both a downstairs living room (pictured on the first page of this article) and an upstairs living room (above), the latter more ‘recreation room’ than formal living room — with two children in their late teens, this is a great chill-out space for them to watch movies. There’s a 55-inch Panasonic plasma in this upstairs space, with sources including a Blu-ray player, AppleTV media player and an Austar receiver and recorder. The 5.1-channel surround sound system uses high-quality Sonance in-wall speakers and an inwall subwoofer, with processing and power from a Marantz slimline receiver. “We originally specified an Integra receiver,” says Ian. “But the cabinetry had already been designed for this room and the space better suited the slimline Marantz receiver. Similarly the architecture and space were all wrong for a box subwoofer in the room, so we specified a separate in-wall subwoofer model.” This is where the expertise and advice from your integrator can not only achieve better results, it can save you money, or allow reallocation of funds to better achieve your goals. “Originally the owners had asked for 5.1 surround in the lower living room as well,” says Ian. “But the architecture and layout were against that — it would create too much clutter positioning speakers, and the seating arrangement would put nobody in the prime spot for surround. Instead we kept the downstairs system more simple, with the plasma and in-ceiling speakers plus a Sonos ConnectAmp, and reallocated the additional funds to have a better 5.1 system upstairs.” Sonos was chosen to provide wireless distribution of internet radio and music streaming throughout the home, including the two living rooms, the dining room, the study,
the kitchen, gym and an external area beyond the kitchen. But the choice of speakers varied, depending on the room. “In the galley kitchen they like to listen to ABC talkback radio,” says Ian. “But this is a hard [reflective] area acoustically and that can affect intelligibility of speech in particular. So we chose an especially high-quality pair of in-ceiling speakers — they provide higher quality at lower volumes. It sounds great.” The dining room also got special speaker treatment to overcome another potentially echoey environment. “This area has a high void, it’s timber lined, and again we needed very high quality speakers from PMC and a good Parasound power amplifier to deliver low-distortion high-quality sound at lower volumes,” says Ian. “We kept the speakers low, facing towards the kitchen which had a non-square surface to avoid reflections there. It was another good result.”
Touchscreen lighting control
Zentec has used RTI’s award-winning RTi iPad app as the control interface for the various smart systems, mainly from iPads. While the lighting areas can be manually controlled from the Clipsal DLT light switches around the home, there are also ‘scenes’ which can set entire areas to different moods at the touch of a single button on the iPad app. “There’s a variety of scenes for different occasions — obviously ‘welcome’ and ‘goodbye’, but also to set up everything for TV viewing and other activities. So as they move through the day it’s a single touch to change things. It works so well in this home which has quite mood-driven architecture.” The iPad interface also offers seamless integration of the Sonos multiroom audio, control of the various doors and gates,
Entertaining Environments www.e-e.com.au
ABOVE: The upstairs living room is ideal for movie watching, with its full 5.1-channel entertainment system. TOP RIGHT: Outdoor speakers extend multiroom audio to outdoor areas. CENTRE: The study/living area has TV and distributed music. RIGHT: Everything is integrated under simple iPad control. and easy changes to the home’s heating and climate control. Security systems include fingerprint readers in three locations and also code pads which can not only allow entrance to the property, but also trigger lighting through suitable areas if triggered at night-time. “Specific codes can be given to, say, the swimming pool service guy, who then gets access through the side gate and plant-room gate but nothing else,” says Ian, who was also clear about the type of fingerprint scanners he uses. “We use Ekey Biometrics from Scott James at Eurosys,” he says. “Many fingerprint readers can be marked by the oil from your fingers — you actually leave your fingerprint on the devices and in the right light it can trigger itself. This is a good example of using a proper and suitable quality of equipment. There may be cheaper ways but we won’t do that for you. We need the confidence that a product will deliver the right functionality and reliability— and give flexibility, too, so that down the track the capability is already there and it’s just programming to make changes or additions.”
I think it was about a 20-minute overview of everything on the RTI interface. Then we let them live with it for a week and went back to answer any questions. But they didn’t really have any — they said it all just made sense! Still, it is always a focus of mine to ask the questions and evolve the system, to create the maximum convenience and enjoyment possible for the client.”
The clients are delighted with their new home, and with the way it all works. Did Zentec give them full training on the smarts? “Well you hope it isn’t really necessary,” laughs Ian. “Obviously we put in whatever time is necessary — in this case
ARCHITECT: John Wardle www.johnwardlearchitects.com BUILDER: Spence Construction www.spenceconstruction.com.au EXTERNAL SHADING: www.shadefactor.com.au INTEGRATION: Zentec, 0418 562 495, www.zentec.com.au
n a i l a r t s u A The Garden
esign provides d n a li ra st u A g in n in An award-w ny garden. a ve ro p im n ca t a th pointers
ustralians love their gardens, and our landscape artists are gaining international recognition for achieving unique results while adapting to our less-than-friendly climate. Pictured is the ‘Australian Garden’, part of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Cranbourne, Victoria. Designed by Taylor Cullity Lethlean (TCL) with plant designer Paul Thompson, it has been named ‘Landscape of the Year’ at the prestigious World Architecture Festival Awards.
only for their suitability to low organic soil, but also their adaptation to drought and low water conditions. The result is a sequence of sculptural and artistic landscape experiences which engage visitors to the Botanic Gardens by “harnessing the love-hate relationship Australians have with their landscape”. While European-style gardens remain common in Australia, and were often the original basis of colonially-inspired public parks, it is the recognition and harnessing of our native habitat and species, together with their often unusual
Use the environment
The garden showcases some 170,000 plants across 1700 species, all adapted to the Garden’s challenging site in a former sand quarry where existing vegetation was exposed and soil quality low. But rather than undertake a wholesale change, bringing in new soil and starting over, the design team investigated how the design and selection of flora could respond creatively to these challenging conditions. Species were selected not
RIGHT: The Visitors’ Centre at the Australian Garden, Royal Botanic Gardens, Cranbourne. Entry to the Australian Garden is free from 9am to 5pm every day except Christmas. Entertaining Environments www.e-e.com.au
lifecycles, that can achieve the most truly ‘Australian’ results. While others attempt to order the landscape under human design, the Cranbourne installation uses its natural diversity and contrast.
A garden for the future
Complete landscapes don’t appear overnight, of course. The 15-hectare Australian Garden involved 18 years of planning, construction and planting over two stages. It is now complete, but Katie O’Brien from the Botanic Gardens says they expect regular changes will be made in years to come.
outdoor living “It’s a garden that will develop, just like any garden at home,” she told Entertaining Environments. “We expect to be moving plants in and out, mainly depending on their success.” She hopes the Australian Garden will inspire visitors to use more native species in their own gardens. “There used to be a perception that Australian’s own flora was somehow boring,” she says. “But this garden aims to show how colourful and diverse natives can be, and we hope visitors will take ideas from here and pop them in their own gardens.” The competition judges certainly recommend a visit. “Designed experiences such as walking across the tangle of a Eucalypt forest floor, or the passage through wind-pruned coastal heath, is juxtaposed amongst the order reminiscent of forestry plantations and gardens that evoke the patterns of urbanisation on our coastal fringe,” says the World Architecture Festival’s description of the garden. “This garden brilliantly summarises the great variety of Australian flora as well as the large part of the country which is arid desert. Like a botanic garden, it is a collection of difference, but with a strong unifying set of journeys through the various landscapes. This landscape stood out with its originality and strong evocation of Australian identity without having to use any signs or words, just the beautiful flora of Australia’s countryside!”
Going native in your garden Native Australian flora boring? Perish the thought. Australian plants can offer stunning visual impact, with textures and colours alongside minimal maintenance and the additional bonus of attracting native flora — animals and birds which have formed partnerships over the centuries, gaining food and shelter in exchange for seed distribution and pest control. One of the wonders of Australian plant life is the sheer diversity — there are some 24,000-plus varieties available (compared with 1700 in England, for example). But you won’t have to weed out thousands of contenders — some are definitely far better suited to a domestic garden than others. Few nurseries stock more than 20 or 30 native varieties. Know your zone — the best natives for your garden depend on your location. Warm frost-free areas can benefit from tropical natives, temperate zones can select from a wide variety of species, while colder areas such as Tasmania, most of Victoria and the southern highlands of NSW will need to select frost-hardy plants to ensure survival through harsher winters. Within your garden itself there will be further microclimates — areas that receive more or less wind, frost, afternoon sun or water. There are plants suited to each of these. Know your enemies too! Some native plants have already proved to be detrimental to ecosystems outside their natural range, and are known as environmental weeds— like lantana and privet — which can spread all too easily via seeds or roots, yet can look nice neough, and are often on sale at fetes and car-boot sales. Check with your local council or state Department of Environment to find out which plants to avoid. 16-17
The Australian Garden Soundscapes for your landscapes! It’s all about the ambience. You can erect that idyllic Balinese pavilion with Alang Alang roofing just as wide and shady as you like, but it won’t feel right without the atonal tinkling of a Gamelan orchestra wafting through the reeds. You can create the perfect entertaining area, but you need some entertainment! And dragging that portable hi-fi out of the lounge on an extension lead is just not an elegant solution. What you need is outdoor speakers. Once these were a rare breed, the solutions for open-air entertainment offering either standard speaker boxes with weatherproofing to go under your eaves, or more bizarre attempts at hiding speakers inside everyday objects like rocks, tree-stumps and, er, teddy bears. Today there are solutions for outdoor audio which are designed to be discreet among your greenery, while providing a high-quality delivery of music across areas large or small. Your first decision, and this may be cost-driven, is what sort of music you want to enjoy in your garden. Do you want to relax out there and really get into the nuances of your favourite artist? If so, you should look at a dedicated delivery system. Pictured here are the Episode Landscape Speakers which are available through Entertaining Environments (see www.e-e.com.au for details). Episode offers a complete family of speakers and accessories delivering premium performance along with attractive form factors that blend effortlessly into the environment around them, yet are powerful enough to produce exceptional sound that can be heard across large outdoor spaces. No matter where you want to mount the speakers — on the ground, in a tree, or underneath an eave — there is a complete line of innovative mounting
accessories to achieve the perfect placement of your landscape speakers. They can be fixed to a roof or pergola fascia under a gutter (which can also simplify the job of getting wires to them), but they can be concealed among shrubbery and rocks, up trees — anywhere that creates the perfect spread of music for your entertaining needs. They can also be used in two modes — a powered 70V mode for large installations, or a simple 8-ohm mode for easy integration with a conventional amplifier or AV receiver, where your garden can be the second zone for an existing hi-fi or AV system. As with any type of audio installation, Entertaining Environments has both the best equipment and the installers and audio experts to help you achieve the best possible results. Start at our website: www.e-e.com.au
RIGHT: The Visitors’ Centre at the Australian Garden, Royal Botanic Gardens, Cranbourne. Entry to the Australian Garden is free from 9am to 5pm every day except Christmas. Entertaining Environments www.e-e.com.au
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Movie nitigohn sttyle! done Ultima
ell, what can you say but ‘Wow!’ This installation by Entertaining Environments’ member Ultimation, based in Western Australia, must be one of the most spectacular home cinema rooms ever built in this country. From the top-notch equipment to the amazing aesthetics and the quality of the final cinema presentation, this is a room which fulfills the owner’s request for “the Ultimate Home Cinema that surpasses all expectations”. “The owner had previously owned six different home theatres of a lower class,” says Ultimation’s Jarrod Silverlock. “This time he wanted an extraordinary cinema experience that would be like no other he has ever been in.”
While most visible in the image above are the remarkable room décor and that gigantic 180-inch curved screen, the quality of presentation comes from the equally impressive list of equipment. The projector is Sony’s top-of-the-line 4K ‘Ultra HD’ projector, which is ready for the next generation of video delivery, with four times the resolution of today’s full-HD 1080p. While we await more native 4K content,
bines Incredible design com -visual with top-notch audio lass quality in this world-c tion.... home cinema installa Blu-rays are upscaled to achieve incredible brightness and impact, providing amazing images for the customised Screen Innovation Acoustic Curved Screen. But future-proofing was not the only reason for going for 4K. “The room isn’t vast – only 5.5 x 7 metres with an overhead concrete slab at 2.7 metres,” says Jarrod. “With full-HD on a screen this size you might see the individual pixels, but with 4K the pixels are a quarter of the size, so no problem.” Using the 4K projector allowed Ultimation to position the front seating as close as four metres to this big 180-inch screen.
Full audio impact
“Audio realism was the highest priority here,” says Jarrod. “We designed a 7.5-channel system for this theatre, using the highest quality components.” If you’re wondering what ‘7.5-channel’ means, that’s seven audio channels (three at the front, behind the screen, plus two rear, two side/rear) and five subwoofers. Subwoofers supply the bass, which is the hardest component of a cinema’s sound to control, especially to deliver identical response at different seating positions. So more subwoofers aren’t necessarily to create more bass, but to deliver more controllable bass.
Entertaining Environments www.e-e.com.au
4K ULTRA HD PROJECTION The 180-inch screen might have been too large for a room this size using standard 1080p projection — you would be able to see individual pixels from the front seats. So the latest 4K projection technology was used, quadrupling the resolution and quartering the pixel size for the ultimate in visual entertainment while allowing closer seating positions. ULTIMATE AUDIO The room is extensively treated acoustically to provide the best possible environment for the high-quality 7.5-channel surround sound system to deliver its full impact. Five subwoofers are used to achieve smooth bass delivery to all seating positions. D-BOX MOTION CONTROLLERS D-Box seats are motion-controlled using codes available for thousands of movies — it’s like having a flight simulator in your own home! AMAZING DESIGN This is a home cinema that looks amazing with the lights off or on! The lighting offers different colour schemes all under automated remote control, a fibre-optic ceiling provides atmospheric stars and spotlighting, while the cut-out effects on walls and ceiling deliver unique décor while also playing their part in the room’s acoustics. This project won a 2014 Sound+Image Award for the superb quality of its overall design as well as the high performance of its systems. Interior design was by Libby Baccich, system and custom installation by Ultimation: www.ultimation.com.au
Movie nigohn sttyle! done Ultimati
ABOVE: Planning is everything in home cinema design. Visually the projector must be perfectly aligned with the screen, while seats should be positioned to ensure best possible viewing angles for everyone in the room. Audio design is equally crucial, requiring acoustic treatment and full calibration.
“We used four subwoofers at the front and one at the rear, to create an even time-aligned frequency response at all seating positions,” says Jarrod. “We also put a lot of emphasis on the room design and the acoustics — so we implemented full absorption, reflection and diffusion treatments, plus MSR bass traps in the corners.” Behind the screen there’s acoustic thermal foam to minimise reflections, and those beautiful ornamental panel cuts are actually camouflaging the other acoustic treatment panels around the room. The zebra décor theme was also deliberate, so that ceiling sections could be cut in irregular shapes to stop standing waves, while leaving a space for the projector beam to shine through them, as well as for the fibre-optic ‘star’ ceiling lights. Professional calibration fine-tuned the final result for a spectacular audio delivery within the room, while extensive soundproofing helped ensure that the performance stays inside the theatre, with 300mm-thick triple studded walls and an acousticallytreated motorised sliding entry door seal minimising transmission throughout the house.
Entertaining Environments www.e-e.com.au
Shake it all about
Could anything add still more impact to this mega home cinema? Yes indeed — Ultimation installed D-Box Motion Chairs and their associated control equipment. D-Box uses special codes created for each movie to move the seating in time with the on-screen action. If that sounds like a gimmick, wait until you’ve experienced the D-Box system before passing judgement — the increased immersion is remarkable.
“The client wanted simplicity”, says Jarrod. “The Nevo remote we used has a custom interface and commands to make start-up and shutdown quick and reliable.” The lighting in the theatre is also automated, turning on automatically when a movie is paused, fading again when restarted. The whole system shuts down when a ‘Room Off’ button is pressed. Full control, full immersion, superb equipment and spectacular design — together with the client and associated trades, Ultimation has delivered an incredible world-class home theatre.
ABOVE: The third image from the top shows the original set-up in a space which is unrecognisable (fourth image) following Ultimation’s redesign of the theatre space as part of a wider renovation. 22-23
i u h S g n e F n g i s e d r o i r e t n i & AV
‘Water’ represents audio-visual communication. Yet electrical equipment is allocated ‘fire’. Feng Shui master Jodi Brunner explains how to bring these two elements back into harmony.
hen scrolling through the internet or searching home magazines looking for interesting interior images, you will notice that in the majority of cases, the focus of the décor is around the furnishings and interior design. However we all know that the audio-visual equipment in our homes plays an important role in our
lives and therefore features prominently in most of our living rooms nowadays. In Feng Shui, audio-visual communication represents the element of water. Yet electrical equipment is allocated the element of fire. Two opposing yet equally balancing elements — Yin and Yang. This is similar to the idea of usage of space in our homes. A lounge, study room, kitchen or home theatre are yang Entertaining Environments www.e-e.com.au
rooms; a bedroom is a yin room. Yang is bright and active, yin is quiet and passive. Good Feng Shui bases room design on these principles. However, in the case of a home theatre, you may wish to decorate it in darker tones, so that the focus of the room is around the theatre screen. Although it may be dark, there is still activity in the room, even if you are simply sitting and watching a movie — it is classified as a yang room too.
HARMONY: A room balanced with all five elements
This room is very balanced according to the five elements, because all five elements are present here: fire is pink and bright orange, earth is yellow and square shapes, metal is round shapes, water is wavy shapes and wood is tall thin shapes and green colours or plants. Here we also see a number of circles joined together on the wall, representing a series of waves, which is the water element, complementary to the television which represents communication, or the water element. Below are more clues about how to decorate a room using the five elements.
FIRE – Represents brilliance, radiance and brightness. Red, pink or purple tones, triangular shapes. Note: as fire is the most yang element, it should be used sparingly in a bedroom. EARTH – Represents stability, conservative. Brown, beige, yellow tones, square or rectangular shapes. Good colours for a bedroom where stability and peacefulness are important. METAL – Represents focus and protection. White, gold, silver and grey tones, round or oval shapes. The more muted colours of metal can be good for a yin room, and a golden wall behind the bed is very good to protect health. In a yang room, the brighter, whiter metallic colours can be used. WATER – Represents wisdom and love. Black, navy blue, wavy shapes. Good for a study area and as a feature in a bedroom. WOOD – Represents growth and opportunities. Green, light blue and tall thin shapes. A good element used sparingly in a yang room for vibrancy and life.
SWEET SPOT: always sit in the ‘Position of Power’...
When sitting on your couch or in your favourite armchair it is important to remember the Position of Power: sitting with your back against a solid wall, so you can see what’s in front of you and view the door from your seated position. You will notice this is the most favoured seat that your guests choose when visiting, as they feel most comfortable when they can see all around and are not vulnerable to being exposed from behind. If it is not possible to have your back to the wall, then at least place a piece of furniture, a long side table or screen behind you for support.
Out with the old, in with the new! If you have old and outdated audio-visual equipment, then you’re living in the past! Feng Shui understands that we live in a time of constant change — in fact Feng Shui theory comes from the the ancient book the Yijing, called the Book of Changes. An important aspect of Feng Shui is the understanding that we are in a constant state of change and we should adapt ourselves to that change. Remove clutter, useless items and old things from your life. Coming back to the concept of Yin and Yang, if you would like to invite new experiences into your life, then the first principle must be, ‘Out with the old and in with the new!’ Entertaining Environments www.e-e.com.au
KEEP PERSPECTIVE: Ensure the bed is at least three metres away from the AV equipment.
There is a rumour going around that Feng Shui believes it is not good to have audio-visual equipment in a bedroom. This is because of the electromagnetic fields or other disturbances. However, provided that the equipment is far enough away from the bed, then it poses little or no problem to the health of the occupants. It is all a matter of perspective. Perspective is determined in a number of ways: 1. Distance from the bed to the equipment. According to the inverse square law, electromagnetic fields drop away at a ratio of 1:2. That is, for every metre, the field drops away by half. Therefore if your bed is at least three metres away from the source of the fields, then it is not going to affect you when sleeping. 2. Having said that, it is also not advisable to sit up until late at night watching telly! This is the human part of the perspective: how you spend your time. Leaving enough time for rest is important. 3. Avoid placing stereo speakers very close to your head, either in the bedhead or on the bedside tables. Same with your mobile phone or electronic alarm clock. 4. Check what’s on the other side of the wall where you’re sleeping. Quite frequently there are sources of electromagnetic radiation behind the head of the bed, in the next room. If you have any electrical equipment on the wall, ensure the plug is pulled out of the wall at night. If it happens to be an external wall, ensure the meter box is not attached to the wall behind your head. 5. If you are having sleeping difficulties, unplug your electrical equipment at night and cover the TV screen to reduce the static electricity. 26-27
Jodi Brunner is a Master of Feng Shui with nearly 20 years’ experience. If you would like to learn more about Feng Shui visit www.fengshuimaster.com.au
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have spent almost my entire professional career in this industry, and I started as a salesperson in a chain store. Yep, those stack’em-high, sell-’em-low big guys — the very ones my colleagues vehemently oppose (and are subsequently shocked to learn were my origins!). Truth is, though — as I have told those same colleagues — I wouldn’t change that experience for the world. There were some very valuable lessons learned. I’ve been fortunate to work in all facets of this industry and one of the underlying constants that I have grown from was the original salesperson training and development. It may seem an odd thing to confess, but I’ve always been proud to declare my success at selling. What is often misunderstood in terms of selling, and this is the source of my pride, is not the capacity to close — it’s the ability to qualify and identify the problem, and deliver a solution.
What the customer wants...
I found it interesting to hear a chain store CEO recently say they would be further reducing their already very small hi-fi and AV range across the group to just 50 stores, with the balance offering only wireless audio solutions. He pointed to the stats saying “that is where the market growth is and therefore what the customer wants”… But is it, I wondered? Having recently returned from what many now consider the world’s indisputable premiere audio show, High End Munich, it’s not too surprising from our point of view to witness the polarising reality. Wireless audio, if it was there, always formed part of a greater solution. At Munich this year there was another expansion of floor space, an increase in exhibitors and brands, and more visitors than ever. And this has been the case year on year for several years now. Take it from me (living with a show organiser), there are very, very few shows in the world in any industry that are expanding. Both trade and consumer shows in general are in steep decline. The immediacy of perceived consumer demand for the ‘latest and greatest’ is driving product life cycles to become increasingly shorter, making the relevancy of an annual show, highlighting the products of today, almost null and void only weeks later. You don’t need a show to exhibit products of the future that don’t exist. Yet at Munich we were experiencing a raft of products that arguably, according
to many, face challenges, yet were some of the most technologically advanced consumer electronics available, just doing things really well — and exactly what people wanted. Relevance is a word our company uses a lot, and thank goodness for it. As I played a CD this weekend while writing this piece (for some reason I can’t write anything nor could ever study in silence, something my parents hated), I realised I was inadvertently making a point on this exact topic. Sure wireless audio is great, but with proper qualification of any customer you’ll quickly discover that, for the majority, their requirements will stretch well beyond this. Including wireless audio, there’s virtually nothing you can’t do with a range of products outside of that specific genre, but the same can’t be said of wireless audio products alone. I’m not picking on wireless audio, but if that’s all you offer, or you don’t know how to make sophisticated products deliver all they can, including wireless audio, how do you deliver on customer expectations, needs and desires?
Where’s the catch?
Being a salesman taught me a lot, and one of the first lessons was that leading with low price wasn’t a strategy (even if it was the easiest). Why? If my prices were too much lower than a competing proposal, customers often assumed I was offering a lower-quality product or solution. It’s human nature to question ‘Where’s the catch?’ — and that’s where a robot salesperson with an inability to qualify customers is quickly found out. It’s also why I place a very high value on my sales training and ongoing development in terms of product and technical knowledge. In all facets of our lives we seek professional advice— from doctors, dentists, electricians, plumbers, accountants, architects etc. But I get a guy at the chain store who is selling me personal cloud storage at the weekend while studying Industrial Design during the week. The only advice he could offer to distinguish between competing products was the $11 price difference and that one stood vertically and the other horizontally. That’s how I knew he studied Industrial Design, because he humorously pointed out that aside from the price, that was the only difference he knew, and was thankful he noticed, otherwise his studies were going to waste! Had the salesperson asked some questions about use, the integration with other components in my system, 28-29
the browser used, the smart devices, even my experience with particular brands, this would have led him to a well-qualified recommendation that, originally, on face value, seemed inconsequential. I ended up working it out for myself and brought the right product ($11 dearer) somewhere else. If your accountant had missed a tax deduction, your dentist a cavity or the plumber a washer in a tap, you’d rightfully question their ability and professionalism.
The price of getting it wrong
This is the ‘rub’ for my colleagues and myself in this industry. We are professionals at the cutting edge of some of the most important products you use in your lives, and if they fail, or if they don’t work as represented, or if you discover they’re simply incapable of meeting your expectations, this can cause a high level of annoyance. Unfortunately the majority of them are incorrectly sold by our competitors — often undersold because that is all they have, the simplest thing to sell, the one with the current offer. Or worse, like my personal cloud drive, it’s just the cheapest. None of these is actually a positive for the customer, unless by chance the cheapest product happened fortunately to meet all the customer’s requirements. The real problem with getting the wrong thing is that you end up investing more money getting what you actually need. Had I purchased the cheaper cloud drive it wouldn’t have worked with my browser. That’s not an insurmountable problem, and not as bad as being sold the wrong AV hardware, but for the sake of $11 I didn’t care to change my browser. “You get what you get, and you don’t get upset” — this is my famous war cry for my children when “they’re starving” a half hour before dinner but won’t eat the fruit on the kitchen bench… or further still, just want something else for dinner. The problem for my kids is that they’ve been introduced to choice and they want what they want. Our kids are the ultimate consumers, but also very practical ones. They don’t understand the price of things — they only understand the value to them. At EE our members are experienced and continue to train to understand the value for you. So whether that’s wireless audio, a DAB+ radio, an audiophile music system or complete home integration, only our range and expertise can reach the goal of your complete satisfaction.
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FIND OUT MORE It’s all here at e-e.com.au: the contacts, the products, the whole unique organisation. Find A Member: Our intuitive member locator allows the user to search for EE members via the services they provide and/or the brands they support. By simply entering your postcode and then selecting the services and brands of interest via the dropdown boxes, the locator will then display the appropriate members closest to your location.
Inspire Me: The Inspire Me pages of the EE site contain completed installations by our members. The pages are broken down into specialised categories allowing you to harness ideas for your next project. Our members are among the most experienced, educated and innovative in the industry, so prepare to be dazzled by the case studies within these pages.
Product pages: The site’s intuitive product pages allow the user to easily identify the product by the large images available for most products. Where applicable, product specifications, videos and documentation are also available to the user by simply navigating through the easy-to-identify information tabs.
Members: With our member network spanning across the entire nation, there is definitely an EE member to help you on your next project. While all of our members are very knowledgeable and have years of experience behind them, just like doctors our members also specialise in specific fields. These fields include but are not limited to Hi-Fi, Home Theatre, Home Automation, Security, Design and Construction, etc.
Site navigation: The EE site allows the user to easily navigate their way throughout the site to search for products, information, latest news, members and even brands. The site utilises sophisticated layered navigation to allow the user to narrow their product search by simply selecting options on the left of the page. The options can include colour, price, brand etc.
Find out more at www.e-e.com.au Entertaining Environments www.e-e.com.au
Prepare for the Best As home low-voltage installations become more complex and intertwined, it is increasingly important to have rock-solid system design prior to starting work. Len Wallis Audio design and install electrical, networking, security, access control, telephony, distributed audio and video plus automation to control all of it. The cabling network and the overall design for this must be meticulously developed prior to commencing work otherwise by the time you realise that you have left something out it is too late. (The walls are up and painted.) Even if youâ€™ve got the installation covered, we can prepare you for success with the right system design down to the finest detail. Call now for a free consultation. 64 Burns Bay Rd, Lane Cove Phone 02 9427 6755 www.lenwallisaudio.com
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