When a homeowner puts care into their architecture and decoration, it is even more important that any integrated technology not impede on their artistry. Instead, custom home technology can enhance and beautify the existing space. For Roberto Galvez, director general for Asimov Zero, the chance to transform an already luxurious space came when the owners of a 5,000-sq.-ft. penthouse asked his firm to take their home to the next level of smart sophistication.
“The main objective of this project was to include the latest technology without invading the interior design and while maintaining the elegance that was sought in the space,” said Galvez, explaining that this home is hidden in an enclave of multi-story condominiums in La Herradura, Mexico, just outside of Mexico City.
Combining Old and New Under One Platform
According to Galvez, the biggest challenge of the project was integrating multiple subsystems so that everyday operations were as easy as pressing a button or using a voice command. The solution came in the form of the ELAN control platform, which the firm regularly uses in projects because it offers them complete integration, compatibility with main brands and simplicity for the end user.
“On the technical side, ELAN controllers have allowed us to create additional commands and controls to those that ELAN and its network of developers offer on the market,” he added.
In addition, the system could be easily retrofitted to blend in with the existing technology. For example, some of the home’s lighting had been controlled by the Lutron Grafik Eye system. The ELAN control system integrated with the legacy controller, so rather than removing it, the integration firm complemented it with the newer Lutron Radio RA2 Lighting System. Both the old and new systems now work together under the control platform.
Asimov Zero collaborated with a professional lighting designer throughout the project to get the illumination and sun shading with Lutron Palladium rollers exactly right for the owners.
Adding Simplicity through Custom Home Technology
High-quality audio and video was a top requirement for a family that enjoys entertaining. However the eclectic wall art and fashionable decor made it even more essential to remove all extraneous wires and equipment to create a sleek and modern space.
First Galvez and his team racked all the gear inside a single storage closet, which was possible because the ELAN control system can manage the flow of high-res audio and 4K video signals from various equipment brands. Then they programmed the interfaces — including touchscreens, handheld remotes and a mobile app — to ensure that the user can easily control the audio and video no matter where they are. They also enabled “scenes” throughout the penthouse.
“One of our goals was to allow the simultaneous interaction of audio, video, natural and artificial lighting to create suitable atmospheres depending on the occasion,” said Galvez.
Several of these scenes affect more than one room at the same time. Starting the “Party” scene illuminates several sconces, chandeliers, table lamps and small fixtures and accentuates the architectural details and sculptures. Some scenes are also set to be automatic and intuitive; for example, each day at sunrise the lights on the terrace turn off. The blackout shades — which are Lutron Palladiom roller shades— open Monday through Friday at 9 a.m.
Finding the Right Custom Home Technology Audio System
This project gave Galvez and Asimov Zero an important lesson when it comes to designing audio systems.
“During the design process, we believed that the client was looking for a residential audio system with good quality and power level. So this is how it was designed,” Galvez explained. “However, when we delivered the project to the client, the client considered that it still did not have enough power. He was looking for something more like a nightclub than ambient audio, so we had to redesign the system to meet his needs.”
Two multi-room audio matrixes, an ELAN IPD-MTX-8CH and a NILES MRC-6430, together with a CROWN DCI8-300 amplifier are now in charge of controlling nine audio zones. All of these zones can reproduce audio from any streaming service or from nearby video content. The master bedroom also boasts a Sonos Arc and Sub for the TV.
“Audio is a system that must consider abstract concepts, and understanding precisely what the client is looking for is vital to fulfill the wishes of our clients,” said Galvez. “Now we know how to formulate the questions that we ask our clients to avoid designing systems that are over or under what our clients have in mind.”
It was imperative that any technology be as invisible as possible in order to let the artwork and architecture stand out in the penthouse.
Turning the Bar into a Home Theater
Since the homeowners have such a love for entertaining, the team gave them a two-in-one space when it came to the bar. On command from the app, remote, touchscreen or with a voice command, a motorized 120-in. screen and projector gently lower from hiding spots above the ceiling soffit into the ideal viewing position for any seat in the room. If music is selected, the screen and projector stay out of sight, and only the room’s speakers turn on.
“The hidden multimedia system of the bar was one of our favorite parts of the project,” said Galvez, explaining that the client asked for a system that was completely invisible when not in use and fantastic when required.
The team carefully arranged the pieces of wood covering the ceiling to maintain the tones and grain of the wood when the projector was stored. This change in the design of the area was a constant challenge, as equipment and design had to be adjusted many times during the construction process. Four NILES CM8PR speakers powered by the CROWN DCI8-300 and a SONANCE i12 wireless subwoofer give this room its audio power.
“The end result was spectacular,” said the integrator. “It is truly invisible when the system is turned off.”
Jalapa No. 68 – PB
AVR MARANTZ SR5014
NILES CM7FX Surround Speakers
NILES DS7PR Front Speakers
SONANCE i12 Wireless Subwoofer