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Meyer Sound Adds Audio Dimension to Sketch - A Work In Progress
One of the most talked about restaurants to open recently in London, Sketch has wowed diners with its new concept in eating out. Designed as a multipurpose space that encompasses an art gallery, restaurants, patisserie and bars — all of which change throughout the day — Sketch was named to reflect the concept that inspired it, that of a work-in-progress.
Based in a historically listed building that was once Christian Dior's headquarters, Sketch consists of five separate rooms, all of which have been installed with Meyer Sound loudspeakers supplied by UK distributor Autograph Sales. Audio visual systems project manager Ian Jordan created the design. Jordan previously designed and installed a Meyer Sound system into Sketch owner Mourad Mazouz's first London venture, Momo Restaurant.
"Meyer makes exceptional products, and having experienced them previously at Momo, our client knew that they would provide him with the sonic clarity he was looking for, be capable of handling the necessary output levels, and generally offer a cost-effective long-term solution to his audio needs," says Jordan. "We evaluated a couple of other premium products with his musical director, but it was pretty much a foregone conclusion he would go for Meyer once again."
At the heart of Sketch is a 13 meter by 13 meter (1,819-square-foot) multifunctional room Gallery, a video art gallery by day, a restaurant in the evening and a more energetic and lively space featuring both DJ and video entertainment from 11 pm to 2 am. In descending order of size, the other rooms at Sketch are the West Bar, the Parlour, the Lecture Room and Library and the East Bar, all of which feature Meyer Sound loudspeakers.
The Gallery system comprises four Meyer Sound DF-4 Dedicated Downfill loudspeakers, four UPA-1P Compact Wide Coverage loudspeaker and three PSW-4 subwoofers. The PSW-4's compact dimensions were a perfect fit for the restricted recesses that were the only available location for the low-frequency reinforcement.
"The Gallery needed premium sound quality which could potentially reach high SPLs in the later part of the evening," says Jordan. "The client wanted comparable sound to his downstairs Kemia bar at Momo — which also has a Meyer system — but in a much bigger room." Dave Dennison, Meyer's consultant engineer, came over from the United States in October 2001 to do some audio plots, and then provided technical drawings showing where the speaker positions should be to obtain the best coverage in the room.
"But because it's a listed building, we couldn't just put speakers anywhere. By the time the client, the interior designer, the video and lighting companies, the architect and structural engineers had commented on the audio design proposal, it was obvious it wasn't going to be as straightforward as it first seemed," Jordan continues. "Much debate about the repositioning of audio and video systems went on in building design meetings for months until the proposal could be implemented."
The Gallery system had to be self-powered, as space in the building was a major issue. When the system was initially specified, the Meyer Sound DF-4s weren't available. "It was a real bonus when Meyer released the product," Jordan relates. "The UPAs had been tried and tested at Momo and we knew that they performed well.
In the end, they basically adhered to Dennison's original design solution, using bespoke brackets to adhere to the design and structural issues and having the speakers custom-painted white at Meyer's factory to match the Gallery color scheme.
B&H Syscom of Peterborough installed the system, and a SIM System II FFT Analyzer was used for alignment.
The sound in the East Bar, West Bar and Parlour was designed by Jordan and Autograph Sales' Meyer Sound product specialist Roger Harpum. "We looked at the spaces, what their uses would be and the interior design briefs which gave us an idea of what the construction materials were going to be," says Jordan. "Our designs were based on our collective experience, instincts and a selection of products we knew would work well in the individual spaces."
The West Bar installation features eight UPM-2P Ultra-Compact Narrow Coverage loudspeakers and a Meyer USW-1P Compact subwoofer. "My brief here was to lose the speakers," says Jordan. "There's a great sound system in there which you can sure hear but can't see as all the speakers are hidden behind panels in the ceiling and the walls.
"I chose the UPM-2Ps because again they're a self-powered box, and their tight dispersion pattern suited the space. We wanted to get the sound into the center of the room as opposed to deafening the bar staff."
The Parlour — a daytime patisserie that can be hired as a private space during the evening — has been installed with eight Meyer Sound MM-4 Miniature Wide-Range loudspeakers, again painted white, and a Meyer Sound UMS-1P Ultra-Compact subwoofer. "The MM-4s were chosen here to provide a quality sound system with high directivity that would suit low level background music during the day, but be able to handle more significant levels in the evening if required," says Jordan.
Ten MM-4s and two UMS-1Ps provide a discrete background sound system in the Lecture Room and Library, a fine dining room which plays mainly classical music, while eight more MM-4s with a Meyer Sound MM-4CEU Control Electronics unit have gone into the East Bar.
"The space is egg-shaped, so I needed to use lots of point sources at relatively low levels to reduce reverberation," says Jordan. "I was able to achieve this and obtain a good result using the MM-4s."
Sketch is proving a welcome addition to London's nightlife. "It's an extraordinary, off-the-wall place," says Jordan. "It's about the whole experience — not just good food and good service, but a great audio and visual display using the best technology available."