How They Did It: The Starship

Ed Wenck | Jun 17, 2021


The La Scala crew opened their CEDIA Awards entry for this futuristic stunner by borrowing a bit of dialogue from the opening credits of a Very Famous Show:

“Our continuing mission: to explore strange new systems, to seek out a new way of control; to boldy go where very few have gone before.” Hence, “The Starship.”

While we’re not sure how many of them might be Trekkies, but here’s a sample of what the CEDIA judges had to say about this project:

“One of the best entries in this year’s competition. Such a nice project. Innovative. Lot of amazing lighting. Love that staircase.”

From the electro-chromatic tintable glass to the custom lighting solutions that accentuate the incredible architecture, this job required hours and hours of research and planning to make the home perfect. That attention to detail is one of the reasons that La Scala also picked up a trophy for Best Lighting for this home, a unanimous decision by the judging panel.


Lights, Shading, Starship

As La Scala fills us in on what went into that aspect of project, it’s easy to see why it won:

“We have never been part of such a bespoke ‘total environment’ creation. The LED lighting design for this project was on point. The futuristic lines and cove lighting add to the ‘starship’ theme.

“To create these effects properly, hundreds of hours went into fixture compatibility research. Each lighting circuit in the home was tested for perfect ramping and anti-flicker with various output modules. There’s a trick in which one turns one’s head and monitors potential LED flicker with the side edge of your eld of view, your peripheral vision — we did that. Everywhere. We had to pretend we were the homeowner in various lifestyle and lighting conditions before we would give a room the passing mark. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind lighting showcase.”

La Scala spent many hours of offsite planning with the electrician on this project to ensure that the look and feel of the lighting was completely consistent across this elegant integration. The complex lighting also demanded careful power management in the home.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the work that went into shading here – after all, controlling ambient light is important, too. In taking on the 140 floor-to-ceiling windows, La Scala was “able to take advantage of long room lines and Crestron’s angle coupler shading brackets to reduce this down to 50 motorized outputs. In all honesty it was a tricky shading system to deploy and we must have spent double the time allocated making sure the mitres were perfect on all of the blind boxes. Angled windows — and especially angled couplers — have to be precise to maintain the proper look and function.”


The Other (Hidden) Details

Everything here is brilliantly, strategically placed: “From a design perspective we wanted to keep the interior color palette quiet, which meant minimalizing variations between materials, technologies and finishes,” explains La Scala. “Paint matching all blind box covers, spraying speaker grilles (twice) and selecting matte finish cover plates for wall controls created a visually seamless continuation between rooms.

“The objective was to give the space an appearance that there were no controls at all.”

Those “invisible” controls ensure maximum security, including activating the aforementioned auto-tinting glass and triggering cameras if an intruder is near. Climate control is completely automated here as well.

Add AV, networking, shading, vehicle detection, name it – this is a complete home integration that punches well above its weight class, especially given the budget La Scala was handed. And the “final frontier” gets one more mention from the team: “For Wi-Fi, we’ve got a wireless Ubiquity UAP-AC-LR setup. Hey, speaking of space and all that: Those WAPs actually look like little UFOs placed around the house. Fitting.”

For a complete equipment list on this project, check out their entries on the CEDIA Awards site here and here.

La Scala


CEDIA Member Since 1993