The CEDIA Awards (Americas) were handed out Sept. 6 in San Diego
Mike Chorney of La Scala was grinning – he’d taken a CEDIA Awards Finalist nod for Best Integrated Home in the Americas region.
Sure, it wasn’t a first-place win, but he waxed philosophical: “Glass is glass,” he said, hoisting his firm’s award.
“And we’ll be back stronger next year.”
He’ll need to be – the competition is tough. Dozens upon dozens of entries had been sifted through and judged on their merits, and on a warm Wednesday night in San Diego, winners were honored on a stage on the deck of the massive, iconic, and breathtaking aircraft-carrier-turned-museum the USS Midway. Giant screens flanked the opening act: three women mimicking the vocal styles of the Andrews Sisters – fitting, since a statue memorializing the LIFE magazine cover of a sailor kissing a nurse on VJ-Day stands near the vessel.
At 8 p.m., TODAY show regular Carley Knobloch and a group of rotating co-hosts from CEDIA’s Board of Directors handed out hardware to the industry’s best – and those winners were both proud and practical. Paradise Theater’s Sam Cavitt, whose firm won top honors for a home cinema project, noted the importance of the trophy when speaking with potential clients: “It helps to let them know we’ve been celebrated for exceptional work.” Nick Mark, whose DC Home Systems outfit also won a home cinema nod, saw the benefits of competition. “It makes everyone strive to be their best, giving everything they’ve got to provide the client with everything they want and need,” said Mark.
Modern Showrooms and Stepping Back in Time
The depth of talent in the CEDIA universe is broad, and member integrators are up to any challenge – as was proven by the crew at Admit One Home Systems, whose client desired a media room that mimicked the look of a luxury railroad car from the era the house was constructed – 1906. The integrator found very early radio gear and speakers, pulled the guts out, refurbished the exterior, and inserted modern electronics. According to the team, the biggest challenge was adapting ancient old rotary switches and knobs to control the modern audio components within. The result: first place in the Best Innovative Solution category.
CEDIA’s judges were equally impressed with the showroom entered by the firm Starpower, a sprawling experience designed to give the end user a look at smart tech installed in nearly every room of the home. Starpower’s Brandi Thompson was thrilled with the win. “It’s amazing – we’re ecstatic,” she said.
Greg Applejohn’s reaction was one of pure satisfaction when his team at Home Concepts won a Best Integrated Home award for a multi-year, 22,000-square-foot project: “It was just great to see all of this come to fruition. Steve Riley of Atlantic Control Technologies channeled a famous fictional San Diegan after his team’s win in the same category: “It’s kind of a big deal.”
Big Wins and Multiple Trophies
A few firms made several trips to the stage; Maryland’s Casaplex had barely finished having their backstage photos shot before they were called back up for a second prize. The team at Land & Sea Entertainment had an especially big night, picking up three trophies: Best Integrated Home ($450,000 and up), Best Documentation, and Best Dressed Rack. The man responsible for that rack, Ken Penner, was overjoyed – but wasted no time in stressing that the project was a true team effort. “It’s fantastic,” he said, then gestured at his assembled colleagues. “And I got to work with these guys on this one for two-and-a-half years.”
The Casaplex crew
For pure exuberance, though, one member of Mexico’s Smartlab team was hard to top. After the firm won a Best Integrated Home trophy for a project that included a 15-seat dedicated home cinema; a spa and a gym with integrated lighting that calls up scenes for every conceivable mood; distributed audio and video; and state-of-the-art security and surveillance systems, Smartlab’s Geraldo Santiago raised his hands to the sky and nearly shouted: “This is the first award for us! Thank you all so much!” Here’s the complete list of Winners in the Americas region.
All of the CEDIA winners – from across the globe – will be published in the upcoming 2017 Awards Yearbook.