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How They Did It: Wired Life’s Melbourne Experience Center

Ed Wenck | Dec 17, 2020

 

Wired Life had a mission: Build a showroom that was a true “experience center,” and pull it off in a diminutive space that maximized every centimeter

The finished product is a 2020 CEDIA-Award-winning (Best Showroom, Asia Pacific) 100-square-meter space designed to show off residential tech to both potential clients and the design/build community. When an integration firm builds a showroom, they generally proceed in one of two ways: either the room feels like a retail space, full of speakers and lights and gadgetry, or it’s built to mimic a true home environment -- hence the name here.

 

A Real Home Environment

The Wired life team says, “We were aiming to as best as possible provide a true and extensive representation of automation within a real home environment, to better explain what it is that we do and how this can benefit our clients’ lives day to day. This also gave us the opportunity to have architects come in for our presentations (and receive educational credits in the balance). That meant we could walk them through our demonstration and secure additional work through leverage of these new relationships.”

“This was to be aimed at mid to high-end clients including architects and designers specifically; hence the selections of joinery, Basalte switches, and so on. We’re after clients with a minimum of $60,000 spend on an integration project.”

Wired Life decided to collaborate with a lot of nearby partners (architects, interior designers, cabinet makers, light suppliers, and so on) to build on relationships, and leveraged their industry contacts. It’s a real testament to the manner in which the firm has built a trusted network among the other trades. (Note: The showroom’s well-stocked bar likely doesn’t hurt, either.)

 

Running the Numbers

Wired Life outlines the breakdown:

“We were able to secure the joinery at cost. The interior design came in at reduced rates while also gaining a 10 to 20% reduction on costs of any goods they purchased on our behalf. Control4 was provided at 25% reduction. Triad was at 50%. Everything else was at normal cost or 5 to10% reduction at most.”

While the initial budget was a mere $50,000, that figure quickly ballooned – but the overruns proved worthwhile. This showroom – built for roughly $120,000 – has given the firm a return-on-investment of well more than $1.2 million since it was completed in June of 2019.

User controls are a key part of this showroom – it’s designed so that literally anyone can walk in and take command of the space with very little instruction. Whether a potential client is using a smartphone or the sound of his or her voice, the interface options are varied and intuitive. Small, unobtrusive plaques that are feature just enough information are spaced throughout the center, and each neatly explains the “purpose” of just what’s integrated into each living area – and why it’s there.

CEDIA’s judges said this project was, “a lot packed into a small space, and done very well.”

 

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