How They Did It: The Homeplay Experience Centre

Ed Wenck | Sep 03, 2020

The Homeplay team had a clear mission statement when designing this showroom: They wanted “to create a space that would allow us to show what’s possible when we can be involved in a project early in the design phase. We want our clients and their professional teams to think of us as a key part of the design team and not just guys who fit speakers. We want to demonstrate our technical chops and attention to detail. We want to differentiate ourselves from the competition. We want to raise margins. We want to be pickier about the projects we take on and the people we deal with. We want to open up opportunities to collaborate and work more closely with suppliers and complementary local businesses.”

To do that, Homeplay actually spent more on the finishes and interior design than they did on the actual tech. By creating – first in a virtual format before a single board was cut – a luxury “apartment,” Homeplay truly embraced the word “experience” in the final product.

The Nuts and Bolts

The technology in the Centre includes:

“A 7.4.4 Cinema with a three-meter-wide projection system, multi-aspect masking screen, full acoustic treatments, luxury fabric wall system, Cineak seating, and custom-built twin motorised pocket doors,

An invisible 5.1 media room system, housed within a beautiful custom cabinet with bronze detailing, utilizing a Future Automation moving panel mechanism, Amina speakers wrapped in wood veneer and a Sony 55-inch OLED TV,

An in-ceiling drop-down projection based 5.1 system with a projector inside a ceiling lift and an in-ceiling projector screen, together with an in-ceiling Bronze Triad speaker system,

Thirteen zones of audio demonstrating all manner of speakers from entry-level in-ceilings, to plaster-in Aminas, to Triad Designers, to Triad Landscapes, right through to Meridian In-Walls,

A Lutron Homeworks QS system with over 60 circuits of lighting, virtually all of which is DALI,

A Control4 front end with video distribution to six screens,

A custom Videotree mirror TV in the bar, a pop-up Future Automation TV in the meeting room and an Art-Frame TV with motorised artwork in the bar, and,

A lighting design area specifically designed to show different effects, quality of lights, dimming, and the like It includes a unique and amazing demonstration showing the difference between a 98CRI downlight and an 85CRI downlight. It’s jaw-dropping.”

Additionally, says the Homeplay team, “We also make our design and rack-build area part of our client tour so that customers can see where we craft their bespoke system. It’s beautifully fitted out and allows us to show a bit of our personality -- we even have an aquarium in there.”

A Showroom with an Outreach Mission

Homeplay has used the space to host events for architects and designers – it’s part of their mission to prove to the design/build community that technology integrations can enhance a room, not detract from it. And further to that end, they made a fascinating arrangement: “By far the best deal we struck when creating our Centre was with a custom furniture company who we’ve worked with for years. They didn’t have a showroom, so we approached them and asked them if they wanted one.

“In return for free rent, they designed, supplied and fitted around £200,000 worth of custom furniture. It’s a great collaboration because our businesses are entirely complimentary, and we feed off each other’s clients.”

CEDIA’s judges gave this space the 2019 Award for Best Showroom, EMEA, calling it a “very professional looking showroom that serves its purpose well.”

To see a complete equipment list for this project, see its page on the CEDIA Awards site here: https://cediaawards.org/project/homeplay-experience-centre/.