Bronze Winner: Themed Theater
For a big-name Atlanta developer and fan of the Bogie-Bergman classic Casablanca, there was never any doubt about this theater’s design. “When we first started talking about it, we decided to model it after Rick’s Café in the movie,” says Scott Ross, president of Atlanta Home Theater. “The homeowner loved the wartime scenes and the cafe’s open-air feel.”
By design, the theater transports viewers to a faraway place and time. It’s fronted with large, hand-carved mahogany entry doors that face a portrait of the film’s famous last scene. The theater boasts another of the film’s vignettes on the back wall: A pair of custom-made mahogany shutters that replicate a window in Rick’s Café and conceal the wall-mounted Wilson WATCH speakers. The starry night sky above, anchored by Atlanta Home Theater’s radical rendition of flying buttresses, twinkles over the masculine leather theater chairs by Palliser and contrasting leopard-print carpeting.
The coolest part of the project, however, is the system itself: “Anyone who watches a movie in that room is blown away by what the 7.2 system is capable of,” Ross says. “When you’re getting into that kind of reference-quality level, it’s definitely not the norm.” To fill the 600-square-foot room with sound, Atlanta Home Theater went with larger-than-norm Wilson Maxx III and Wilson WATCH speakers, accompanied by Velodyne subwoofers and Krell amps (the Krells are proudly positioned atop Billy Bags stands below the screen).
“To achieve really high-volume levels, we had to go with amps that were capable of pushing to that extreme,” Ross says. The projector, Digital Projection’s dVision 30 HD, couples with Screen Innovations’ 160-inch TR160 display to provide a picture that would make Bogie blush.—C.D.
Change is often borne out of necessity. Or frustration.
Five years ago, when Atlanta Home Theater’s Scott Ross was installing his own private home cinema, he designed a custom interface for the Crestron TPMC-8X touchpanel to operate his theater exactly the way he wanted. “I originally installed a standard interface and I couldn’t stand it, so we created our own based on the way I felt it should be done. And it’s been a success ever since—we use it for [the larger] theaters we design.”
His custom solution: group everything—lighting, HVAC and security systems, blinds and all audiovisual options—on one touchscreen page for easy access and user sanity. “It takes about two minutes to learn how to operate our interface,” he says. In many large theaters, Ross’ company incorporates a headshot of every family member into the interface for quick access of their customized controls. When a 4-year-old, for example, touches her customized button, she’s provided with the only two options she needs—an icon of a satellite receiver for watching TV, and an icon of a Blu-ray player for watching DVDs.
Today, Atlanta Home Theater’s custom-designed interface has become its signature touch. EH
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