null Vasakronan opts for elegance, wellbeing and sustainability with Genelec

Vasakronan opts for elegance, wellbeing and sustainability with Genelec

Innovative Stockholm co-working space employs Smart IP loudspeaker solution.

Vasakronan is Sweden’s largest commercial property company with a portfolio comprising 170 properties with a total area of 2.3M sq. metres. Arena Sergel in the heart of Stockholm is the company’s most recent project and combines the Vasakronan HQ with one of Sweden’s most modern and innovative co-working locations. To ensure wellbeing at every level, Efterklang – experts in sound design, acoustics and vibration control – were called in to design an efficient and attractive sound environment, which was implemented thanks to a comprehensive Genelec Smart IP solution supported by 4000 Series installation loudspeakers.

Sustainability was one of the leading design thrusts at Arena Sergel; great care has been taken to highlight the building’s history in the interior design concept, where the focus has been on recycling existing interiors as well as upcycling through climate-smart purchases from sustainable production sources. Offering no less than 150 flex workplaces and over thirty conference and meeting rooms plus numerous lounge areas, the impressive four-storey building is also home to Vasakronan’s brand new HQ. Vasakronan’s aim was to streamline their own operation by eliminating their satellite offices and relocating to Arena Sergel which offered more space for the main HQ in a sustainable environment, plus a range of flexible expansion possibilities when required in the adjoining co-working spaces.

This type of flexibility is not possible with standard 100/70v speaker systems.

Wellbeing is another key design element, which is why Vasakronan called on Efterklang to design a sound environment that would support the different needs, functions and flows in Arena Sergel. Efterklang’s Margareta Andersson explains: “The key is a well-balanced interplay between acoustic measures and psychoacoustically anchored sound design. Psychoacoustics is the study of the relationship between sounds and how sound affects us. For example, in the entrance lobby, all visitors are greeted by soothing lounge music combined with elegant scent design. The aim is to create an inviting environment where visitors and co-workers can relax and feel safe.

“Visual themes have also been enhanced with sound design – the sound design in the internal stairwell, which is festooned with greenery, evokes a forest environment with birdsong. Also, the open fireplace effects have been elevated with the sound of fires crackling and the scent of woodsmoke,” she continues. “In fact, there is sound almost everywhere you go, from background music in the social areas to a gradient soundscape in the working areas – which goes from completely silent focus spaces to nature-inspired sound masking in the open flex areas. We have even designed soundscapes for the restrooms for extra wellbeing and privacy.”

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Enabling Efterklang’s beautiful sound design is a comprehensive network of Genelec Smart IP loudspeakers supported by 4000 Series installation loudspeakers. Efterklang worked with AV integration specialists JML-System AB to define the best components to achieve the right results. Anthony Berry, VC and Collaboration specialist at JML, explained that it was a joint decision to specify Smart IP loudspeakers.

“The system covers four levels with over 20 individual zones,” notes Berry. “We used the compact Genelec 4420s in all the main zones – 114 in total – except for two event zones in which we used the larger 4430s, since those areas required more power and the extended frequency range provided by 4430s. We opted for Smart IP loudspeakers for a number of reasons; firstly, they are active speakers which means that there is no need for amplifiers – this is a huge advantage when you’re dealing with high numbers of loudspeakers, as we were for this installation. Secondly, they are powered over Ethernet meaning there were no long speaker cable runs required and there was also no need to have separate power outlets to each speaker. This simplifies installation enormously. Furthermore, as the Smart IP loudspeakers use the Dante protocol and benefit from control via Genelec’s Smart IP Manager software (delivered over the same cable incidentally), we were able to adjust and tune each individual speaker to create uniform coverage throughout the office. We were also able to configure which speakers were located in each zone, or create new zones as needed. This type of flexibility is not possible with standard 100/70v speaker systems but it’s enormously helpful when configuring large systems.”

Genelec’s Smart IP technology proved to be the ideal solution for all sorts of reasons, both aesthetic and technical.

Berry also commented on the challenges and the benefits of a networked audio system such as this: “As with any network-based system it is of course critical that both JML and Vasakronan’s IT provider were on the same page,” he remarked. “There was a significant amount of coordination required to ensure that we had the requisite network ports in the right locations, that the network supported the PoE requirements of the Smart IP loudspeakers, and that all required network configuration was carried out and tested prior to commissioning. In this particular network there is a separate VLAN for all Dante devices and the IT team used dynamic port allocation based on the MAC address profiles of the Genelec loudspeakers. This meant that we could connect any speaker to any network switch port in the building and it would land in the right VLAN, which saved a huge amount of time in the commissioning phase.”

All parties are delighted with the results. “This was a fascinating project, and many parties contributed to its success,” says Berry. “Efterklang provided a great sound design with amazing custom content that is both calming and energising; JML backed this design with efficient coordination and well-planned implementation which has brought Efterklang’s design to life – but perhaps most important was Vasakronan’s willingness and desire to implement such a sophisticated design throughout their office spaces. There’s no doubt that Arena Sergel is one of the most innovative and forward-thinking working environments in Sweden.”

Efterklang’s Margareta Andersson agrees. “We’re very proud of this project, and Genelec’s Smart IP technology proved to be the ideal solution for all sorts of reasons, both aesthetic and technical. As Genelec themselves say, ‘beauty and simplicity on both sides of the wall’ – and they’re absolutely right!”

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