January 12, 2011
| by Lisa Montgomery
Designed by Engineered Environments of Alameda, Calif., this sensational space features a Mac-driven media server loaded with the latest pop, rock and hip-hop tunes and music videos; a slew of colored LED light fixtures and a two large video walls. One wall is made up of two motorized window shades; the other is made up of two metallic curtains.
But probably the most important component of the dramatic room design is an AMX control system, which choreographs the transformation and allows the homeowners to control and manage every light, video projector, display and song choice via a wall- mounted touchpanel in the kitchen or their iPhones and iPads.
The robust control system—along with 120 hours of custom programming by the software engineers at Engineered Environments—simplified an extremely complex combination of components to operate, according to senior design consultant Robert Gilligan. “[They would otherwise need] a professional light board operator to come in for every party to work the various moving lights, lasers and LED fixtures,” he says.
By tying the commercial-grade nightclub lighting system to a residential AMX home control system, Engineered Environments enabled the owners to magically morph the room into a disco by pressing just a few buttons. For example, engaging the “blue” button on the touchpanel creates a down-tempo setting, while hitting the “orange” icon puts the room into a high-energy mode.
Once the mood is established, the owners can drill into the touchpanel’s control menu to select an appropriate playlist of songs, most of which are stored on an iTunes account on their AMX-connected Mac computer. They use an iPhone app to view and select from their compilation of music videos. In seconds, Lady Gaga’s Poker Face can join the show, streaming through the disco’s built-in Triad speakers and onto the two video walls.
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.