The Savant Experience Center

Located in the Soho district of lower Manhattan, the Savant Experience Center is an actual living space complete with a media/living room, home office, master bedroom, kitchen, dining room and a dedicated 800 sq. foot theater. Close to the Apple store, the Experience Center showcases the latest technologies in home entertainment and control to dealers, architects, designers, industry associations, and prospective clients.

Developers of the only Apple-based home control automation and entertainment system, Savant showcases the marriage of design and technology in this 3,000 square foot facility. (Another 5000 sq. ft. will be built out to demonstrate commercial applications.) The Experience Center enables Savant to showcase a product line that really cannot be fully appreciated in a catalog or website. Some of the highlights include TrueImage Control, ROSIE Surface coffee tables, the company's proprietary OSD (On-Screen Display) technology, Touch TV, and a functional 4X40” LCD display in the home office that displays digital art and signage. The entire space can be controlled by Savant's iPhone and iPod touch Home Automation Application (recently featured in the 2009 issue of Home Theater Design) both locally and remotely.

The entire space functions like a single system due to Savant's automation platform, allowing full control of any audio or video source from every room. For instance, Savant's TrueImage Control turns lights on/off/dim by touching the actual light within a photo of each room. The OSD allows the user to answer the front doorbell, view any security camera throughout the house, change the temperature in any zone, search and play any media content, all without leaving their theater seat or couch—and without even interrupting the movie they are watching.

While the Experience Center was Savant's brainchild, it took a long and impressive list of partners to create this world-class facility, which includes THIEL, NuVision, Runco, Chief, Lutron, Stewart Filmscreen, Continental Seating, Bay Audio, McIntosh Labs, Panamax/Furman, Snell, Middle Atlantic Products, Steinway Lyngdorf, and Steinway Piano. The key design features of the facility are the Theo Kalomirakis Theater, the impeccable interior design by Thom Filicia, the kitchen by Dahlia Kitchen Design, and the lighting by ISP Design.

As if the project wasn't monumental enough, the Center was built within the Singer Building. Designated as an historical landmark, it was necessary to maintain certain features and characteristics of the building. Moreover, running wires throughout an old building created its own set of challenges.

Basically, the space was gutted but the structure remained intact. Savant handled the installation internally with their professional services team of about 30 employees who serve as support for Savant’s authorized dealers. This team worked in concert with the general contractor. “I think we all learned a lot about how to integrate technology into a living space while also making sure everything was aesthetically pleasing," said Craig Spinner, Savant’s Director of Marketing.

One of the highlights of the Theo K theater is the use of all THIEL speakers and subwoofers including the stunning Les Paul Sunburst CS3.7’s finished by Gibson for THIEL and signed by both Jim Thiel and Les Paul. The media/living room features a McIntosh/Snell audio system with a NuVision 65” LCD, however, it's also equipped with a retractable Runco projector and Stewart screen.

"The authentic lifestyle setting of the Experience Center fully demonstrates all that is possible in custom installation today and is sure to become one of the industry's most important and vital design centers," concludes Spinner.

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