Battersea Arts Centre
Installing a new sound system into this gorgeous grade two listed building
"STRAIGHTFORWARD AND EASY, NO ISSUES AT ALL. VERY PLEASED! THE GUYS WORKING ON THE INSTALL WERE GREAT!"
Battersea Arts Centre is a friendly and welcoming space for people to experience exciting theatre, visit the imaginative kids play area or relax in the Scratch Bar. From our first visit, we were drawn to the gorgeous grade two listed building.
We were brought in by Orbital Sound to consult on this install at Battersea Arts Centre after quite a few people had done a lot of head scratching trying to come up with the best sound install possible. It’s a gorgeous grade two listed building and so the installation practices employed had to cause no permanent damage.
Half of the building was destroyed in a fire in 2015. Having been sympathetically restored, the building recently reopened and the team wanted a new speaker system for the new bar and entrance space.
Georgina Parker, Capital Project Manager at Battersea Arts Centre explained the building is listed so poses a number of issues for installing. They asked about 5 companies for a quote.
"When James from Flipside came to the site he was very helpful in explaining exactly what he was planning to do. Flipside were sympathetic to the history of the building and understanding of the problems associated.”
Battersea Arts Centre wanted two-lined music systems: one for the bar and one for the entrance atrium area. The same music source needed to be played out of both but with separate volume control. This is all very simple, however, it was out of the question to leave visible cabling or to drill through the structure of the building. Having worked on a lot of unusual structures and being conscious of listed building installation practices, we came up with the idea of linking the two rooms with a single cable run that exited the wooden window frame of the bar and entered via a small breathing gap into the atrium glass roof. Nobody can see the cable run and it meant we didn't need to do anything too complicated or invasive.
In the bar, we installed a Yamaha system comprising of a 10" subwoofer and four 3" full-range speakers from the VXS range. In the atrium, we went with an extremely compact 3" subwoofer and four 1.5" full-range speakers also from the VXS range. The ledge around the atrium stained glass roof enabled us to tuck the tiny speakers away, so it's almost impossible to see them from below. Instead, the sound just rolls down from the window in a rather ethereal manner.
Georgina was very pleased with the install: "A subtle installation that complemented the building, is easy to use and provides good sound quality. It has provided us with an easy to use system and resolved an outstanding problem for which we have had to find temporary measures for months. Operationally, events have improved. And when we go back to a theatre season, it will be great for the atmosphere in the space."
It sounds great in both rooms and has really added value to the venue's offering. In the bar especially, there's a nice amount of low bass for noisier nights and the odd party.
Yamaha MA2120 integrated amplifier
Yamaha PA2030 amplifier
Yamaha VXS10S subwoofer (bar)
Yamaha VXS3FW compact design speakers x 4 (bar)
Yamaha VXS3SW compact subwoofer (atrium)
Yamaha VXS1MLW 1.5” speakers (atrium)