Founded in 1963, Scandic is the Nordic region’s largest hotel operator with a network of some 280 hotels across six countries. With 70% of their revenues coming from the business travel and conference sector, Scandic is a pioneer in CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) practices, and the majority of its hotels are certified according to the Nordic Ecolabel’s new requirements.
The chain has also won numerous awards, recently being recognised as Sweden’s most sustainable hotel brand for the 11th year in a row by Sustainable Brand Index, Europe’s largest brand study in sustainability. The latest hotel to open its doors is the beautiful Scandic Grand Central Helsinki, complete with a comprehensive Genelec sound system designed and installed by Finnish AV systems specialists, Murea Oy.
Housed in an imposing Art Nouveau building that was formerly the head office of Finland’s national railway company, the listed building has undergone a meticulous two-year transformation that retains much of the glamour and grand proportions of a bygone age combined with every modern comfort. Scandic Grand Central Helsinki is now also the first hotel building in the world to achieve the prestigious LEEDv4 Platinum rating for the project phase of its development. The LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certificate covers a wide range of themes in sustainable construction, and the platinum rating is the highest possible.
Kristian Sahenkari, Partner and Key Account Manager at Murea, notes that the historical significance of the building and the preservation of its former glory was a key element in the transformation from HQ to hotel. “The building has a long history, and part of our brief was that this should be preserved as much as possible. The installation therefore had to be planned extremely carefully from the outset as the Finnish Heritage Agency had to approve all the installation methods.”
Murea installed a total of twenty-eight Genelec 4030 installation loudspeakers and two powerful 4040s across a total of 17 meeting and event facilities of varying sizes, plus the bar area that required a sound system capable of handling everything from low level background music to high-energy DJ sets, plus of course the sacred ice hockey World Championship games!
“Genelec was an obvious choice from the start,” continues Sahenkari. “Firstly, Scandic as a brand appreciates quality, and audio systems are no exception; their meeting and conference facilities represent an important revenue stream and so they wanted the best possible equipment for these sophisticated, highly specified spaces. Genelec sound quality is unquestionable and the smooth lines of their speaker design blend seamlessly with the environment – a perfect combination of modern technology, design and functionality.”
Scandic deployed a pair of compact 4030 loudspeakers – usually either side of the screen – in each of the smaller conference rooms whilst the largest event space – namely the Grand Ballroom – has a pair of the powerful 4040s for music, speech and presentations.
“We decided on the 4000 Series as they are particularly integrator-friendly,” explains Sahenkari. “Their active design with on-board amplification removes the need for bulky external amplifier racks and simplifies cabling for a cleaner installation. The extensive range of mounting accessories was also a big help when designing speaker positions, particularly for the meeting facilities situated on the second floor of the hotel, which have been preserved in their original form. Consequently, they are all protected by the Finnish Heritage Agency who had to approve every step of the installation process, along with the interior designers who had to approve speaker positions from an aesthetic perspective. Working in a listed building adds an extra layer of complexity as you can’t just drill holes and run cables anywhere you like! We must have used five or six different types of mounting fixture across the various spaces – Genelec had the right product for every situation.”
The entire AV system, which spreads across three floors, is centrally managed and processed. Two auxiliary racks were installed for the I/Os as the signal paths are mostly digital via Dante.
“Genelec definitely ticked all the boxes for this installation,” concludes Sahenkari. “It’s a high quality Finnish brand built according to sustainable principles; an extremely important point for Scandic in light of their strong commitment to sustainability. Additionally, the timeless design of Genelec loudspeakers and their ability to deliver crystalline audio quality for decades to come made them the perfect choice. Everyone is happy.”