With a portfolio comprising 170 properties, Vasakronan is Sweden’s largest commercial property company. Its most recent development is Arena Sergel in the heart of Stockholm, combining the company HQ with one of Sweden’s most modern and innovative co-working locations. To ensure wellbeing at every level, sound design, acoustics and vibration control specialist Efterklang designed an efficient and attractive sound environment, incorporating a Genelec Smart IP installation.

Arena Sergel co-working spaceEfterklang was asked for a sound environment that would support the different needs, functions and flows in Arena Sergel. ‘The key is a well-balanced interplay between acoustic measures and psychoacoustically anchored sound design,’ explains Margareta Andersson, sound architect and Section Manager at Efterklang. ‘The aim is to create an inviting environment where visitors and co-workers can relax and feel safe.

‘Visual themes have also been enhanced with sound design – the sound design in the internal stairwell, which is festooned with greenery, evokes a forest environment with birdsong,’ she continues. ‘Also, the open fireplace effects have been elevated with the sound of fires crackling and the scent of woodsmoke. In fact, there is sound almost everywhere you go, from background music in the social areas to a gradient soundscape in the working areas – which goes from completely silent focus spaces to nature-inspired sound masking in the open flex areas. We have even designed soundscapes for the restrooms for extra wellbeing and privacy.’

Arena Sergel co-working spaceEnabling Efterklang’s sound environment is a comprehensive network of Genelec Smart IP loudspeakers supported by 4000 Series installation loudspeakers. Efterklang worked with A/V integration specialist JML-System AB to identify components to achieve optimal results.

‘The system covers four levels with over 20 individual zones,’ notes Anthony Berry, VC and collaboration specialist at JML, who explains that it was a joint decision to specify Smart IP loudspeakers. ‘We used the compact Genelec 4420s in all the main zones – 114 in total – except for two event zones in which we used the larger 4430s, since those areas required more power and the extended frequency range provided by 4430s.

‘We opted for Smart IP loudspeakers for a number of reasons. First, they are active, which means that there is no need for amplifiers – a huge advantage when you’re dealing with high numbers of loudspeakers, as we were for this installation. Second, they are powered over Ethernet, meaning there were no long cable runs required and there was also no need to have separate power outlets to each loudspeaker. This simplifies installation enormously.

‘Furthermore, as the Smart IP loudspeakers use the Dante protocol and benefit from control via Genelec’s Smart IP Manager software – delivered over the same cable, incidentally – we were able to adjust and tune each individual speaker to create uniform coverage throughout the office. We were also able to configure which speakers were located in each zone, or create new zones as needed. This type of flexibility is not possible with standard 100/70V speaker systems but it’s enormously helpful when configuring large systems.’

Arena Sergel co-working spaceBerry also comments on the challenges and the benefits of networked audio systems such as this: ‘As with any network-based system it is, of course, critical that both JML and Vasakronan’s IT provider were on the same page. There was a significant amount of coordination required to ensure that we had the requisite network ports in the right locations, that the network supported the PoE requirements of the Smart IP loudspeakers, and that all required network configuration was carried out and tested prior to commissioning. In this particular network there is a separate VLAN for all Dante devices and the IT team used dynamic port allocation based on the MAC address profiles of the Genelec loudspeakers. This meant that we could connect any loudspeaker to any network switch port in the building and it would land in the right VLAN, which saved a huge amount of time in the commissioning phase.’

All parties are satisfied with the outcome. ‘This was a fascinating project, and many parties contributed to its success,’ says Berry. ‘Efterklang provided a great sound design with amazing custom content that is both calming and energising. JML backed this design with efficient coordination and well-planned implementation, which has brought Efterklang’s design to life. But perhaps most important was Vasakronan’s willingness and desire to implement such a sophisticated design throughout the office spaces. There’s no doubt that Arena Sergel is one of the most innovative and forward-thinking working environments in Sweden.’

‘We’re very proud of this project, and Genelec’s Smart IP technology proved to be the ideal solution for all sorts of reasons, both aesthetic and technical,’ Efterklang’s Margareta Andersson agrees. ‘As Genelec themselves say, “beauty and simplicity on both sides of the wall” – and they’re absolutely right.’

More: www.genelec.com/smart-ip

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