Project: Woolshed Restaurant, Bar and Events Venue
Scope: Philips Commercial LCD
Integrator: Node AV
It’s every venue owner’s worst nightmare. A fire. But, providing you have adequate insurance… there’s a silver lining: you can build again, and this time, really get it right.
The Atlantic Group’s Woolshed venue in Melbourne’s Docklands had just such a great misfortune; and made the most of the silver lining with an newly refit restaurant, bar and events venue.
The Atlantic Group runs a number of Melbourne restaurants and bars, but they almost all have an events twist. Events are becoming increasingly reliant on technology. And specialised events venues (like conference and exhibition centres) find it a little easier to stay abreast of developments by wheeling AV in and out. Meanwhile, the Woolshed needed AV infrastructure that would allow it to provide up to date presentation technologies, but also allow it to be multifunctional and flexible
And here’s the commercial rub: if the Woolshed could leverage technology to stage multiple events, simultaneously, in its venue then it’s easy to see how the tech could soon pay for itself. Since the rebuild, Woolshed can accommodate six entirely independent parties in its venue. Each with its own AV. Alternatively, the Woolshed can be booked out for one super event with video and audio piped throughout. Or anything in between.
Node Audio Visual Systems took care of the AV design and install, headed by Tom Connolly and Anthony Sottosanti. It’s a small outfit with many years of collective expertise.
Node AV was able to lead Woolshed management through the process. The result is a deceptively sophisticated hospitality/events system that’s transformed the way a venue does business.
The transformation is clear to the venue’s GM, Duncan Laidlaw, who made this observation: “I started here in August 2008 for a January 2010 opening. So we launched with 2008 tech. By way of perspective, in 2008 I had a Blackberry with a little trackball on it — it was the best phone on the market. Well now we’ve got the iPhone 7 and whatever else is coming out — that’s how far the technology has come and that’s how fast it’s moving.”
There are a handful of technologies that provide the backbone of the flexible solution, and they’re familiar.
- A Crestron DM 16x16 matrix for video routing: there are 10 Philips large-format commercial displays dotted about the venue, while there are video input plates, Foxtel and Nightlife music video inputs.
- A QSC Core DSP provides the ‘anything to anywhere’ capability via the QSC CXD network multichannel amplifiers.
- A Crestron control solution on iPads: Keynote out of Melbourne took care of the programming and the UI is excellent. Venue staff get an elegant whole-of-venue snapshot of what AV is active where.
- Crestron AirMedia: The Rolls Royce of wireless screen sharing takes the heartache out of saying ‘no’ to guests with devices that won’t plug into a display. AirMedia is simple and another reason why Woolshed doesn’t need to call on AV staff.
The rebuild has allowed the Woolshed to buy into one of the largest LCD panels on the market.
Duncan Laidlaw and the Atlantic Group management selected Philips 98-inch commercial displays for the Fireside Room. They’re certainly an impressively large screen, but in the context of the space with its soaring ceiling height, the screen real estate is a must.
The Woolshed is an open and shut case of high quality AV paying for itself, or at the very least, being a commercial imperative.
The last word should go to Woolshed GM Duncan Laidlaw: “The freedom to set the venue up without moving stuff around is amazing. For example, we’ll have a conference that will use the main space and another, they can have the same screen content running throughout, without having to plug into multiple places. Previously we would need to hire AV staff to meet those kinds of demands and it got costly. Now it’s just so easy and less costly to run.”