Nordic Smart Spaces, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Boston-based TSP Smart Spaces, is a technology integration firm located in Reykjavik, the capital city of Iceland. Nordic Smart Spaces recently leveraged nearly three decades of experience to design and install smart home and whole-house entertainment systems in a seaside villa overlooking the North Atlantic Ocean just outside of Reykjavik.
The home was originally built in 2006 but went under major renovations in 2016 when the home came under new ownership. The new owner remodeled the entire layout of the home, which included cutting down concrete walls, rewiring all of the electrical paths and changing the plumbing.
“This is not a massive luxury mansion like you would expect to see in the Hamptons,” explained TSP Smart Spaces President Michael Oh. “But this seaside villa was designed and built with tremendous attention paid to every detail, with particular focus on the interior of the home.”
Goals of the Project
The home features a Scandinavian look with plenty of glass providing great natural light and a clean, modern look. Sourcing from the best in Iceland, the owner put together a team of the best architects and designers (interior and exterior) to create this stunning home, working with architects Steve Christer and Margrét Harðardóttir at Studio Granda (the same firm that designed Reykjavík City Hall, the building of the Supreme Court of Iceland and Reykjavík Art Museum Hafnarhús), alongside Selma Agustsdottir who did the interior design.
The client was looking to bring audio solutions to his home as well as home automation for AV, lighting and shade control, while maintaining the aesthetic impact of all of the technology to a minimum. Prior to our installation, the technology in the home was from a myriad of sources. Basalte keypads, KNX lighting, and the home’s preexisting audio solutions all worked independently of each other. When we came into the process early in the design phase, one of our most important goals was integrating all of the smart technology in the home under one integrated control system.
The ocean villa was outfitted with the finest furnishings and appointments, including over 20 motorized shades and custom draperies. Featuring floor-to-ceiling glass throughout much of the living space, the villa became something of a cocoon from the wild weather rolling in along the Icelandic coastline.
To accommodate the homeowner’s desire for the cleanest look throughout the interior, the Nordic Smart Spaces team deployed 20 Amina Edge5 ultimate-performance invisible loudspeakers complemented by five Amina ALF architectural subwoofers (four ALF120s and a single ALF80), creating a high-resolution, full-range entertainment system with zero impact on décor. The Edge5 speakers were utilized in the open-plan living space that includes a living room, dining room and kitchen. They were also deployed in each of the bedrooms and the study.
The Edge5 Invisible Loudspeaker
Hand-built in the UK, the Amina Edge5 creates a dynamic and engaging listening experience unlike any other invisible loudspeaker, and the exceptional dispersion characteristics of the Edge5 enable it to effortlessly fill large spaces with beautiful, detailed sound using fewer drivers. Amina invisible loudspeakers offer better performance through proprietary, patented technologies that have elevated the architectural speaker category to a new standard. Integrators and associated contractors appreciate that the Edge5 uses a high quality fire-resistant panel material that allows for a seamless fit into plasterboard walls and ceilings without the need for a full wet-skim, all in the easy-to-handle, lightweight form factor that Amina has become known for.
A Team Effort
“Because invisible speakers are a more complex installation proposition than a conventional loudspeaker with a grille, we have found that it is vital for the technology integrator to be involved early on, to be a part of the design process and to develop strong working relationships with the other trades onsite, especially the plaster & paint guys,” Oh explained. “You want to make sure you have access to the required space inside the walls and ceilings, and cooperating with the other trades ensures an incredibly refined finished product.”
Bass of Operations
The Amina ALF120 is a passive (not powered) transmission line horn-loaded design utilizing an array of four 4-inch drivers to create a very efficient, discreet subwoofer. This design enables Amina to generate extended, detailed bass response from a slim enclosure engineered to disappear inside walls or ceilings, delivering bass energy into the space via a discreet, narrow slot.
The ALF120 can play down to 27Hz at 111dB, making it the perfect subwoofer for this dynamic, full-range whole-house entertainment system. The ALF120 is also ideally suited for home cinema applications.
“The ALF120 is a large module to secure behind a wall or ceiling—we used damping materials to eliminate any resonances and suspended the enclosure on sturdy rails lagged to the concrete,” Oh said. “Architectural subwoofers are a project but the result was well worth it.” A smaller cousin to the ALF120, the ALF80 is bandpass design that requires less space and can provide precise, extended bass at high levels using a small circular vent into the room.
The Icelandic villa features advanced smart home functionality from Savant, including their Pro Audio 4 50-watt amplifiers driving the Amina Edge5 invisible speakers. The Savant Pro Audio 4 also features built-in streaming and synchronized multi-zone distribution so that homeowners can enjoy individual zones or grouped zones for festive gatherings without timing error between zones. The system can be controlled via the Savant Pro App and/or their Pro Remote X2. “When music is playing throughout the living space, you really have no idea where the sound is coming from. There are no visual cues, no aesthetic awareness, just an immersive listening experience that is quite stunning,” Oh explained. The system features amplification with onboard DSP capability, enabling the Nordic Smart Spaces team to fine tune the speakers and subwoofers in each zone to perfection.
Clients Love it!
Invisible loudspeakers bring added value to the discerning client while providing an opportunity for integrators to showcase their unique skills and deliver a magical end result. “Amina invisible speakers are a well-engineered, beautifully manufactured solution that is perfect for those clients who want a superior entertainment experience without any imposition on décor and interior design,” Oh concluded. “In addition to offering refined loudspeakers, Amina supports integrators through the design and installation process with a knowledgeable and passionate team—these folks really strive to help us deliver the best finished product for our customers.”
TSP Smart Spaces
1280 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02138
Michael Oh, Founder & President
Amina Edge5 Invisible Speakers
Amina ALF120 and ALF80 Subwoofers
Lutron HomeworksQS Processor
Custom Lutron Sivoia QS Silent Shades
Savant Pro Remotes
Savant Pro Audio 4 all-in-one music solution
Studio Granda Architects