German Gymnasium

  • London
BLU100BLU8v2K-Array KK102

Audio upgrade for London Restaurant

An Innovative Solution for a Truly Unique Venue

Situated in between Kings Cross and St Pancras railway stations, when built in 1864, the German Gymnasium was the first purpose built gymnasium in England. Built for the German Gymnastics Society, it was used as a venue for the first National Olympian Games that were held in London in 1866. The main exercise hall was a grand and elegant space with a floor to ceiling height of 57 feet. It ceased to be a gymnasium before the Second World War and has since been used for offices, storage and as an arts and exhibition space.

The site was acquired by D&D London, operators of prestigious restaurants around the world, who saw the potential for a European brassiere to be created in the high-ceilinged main hall with a restaurant overlooking it. D&D commissioned interior designers Conran & Partners to retain as many original details as possible, such as the climbing rope hooks, to invoke the building’s history.

German Gymnasium – The beginning of the project

We have worked extensively with D&D London on projects including the award winning audio installation at Quaglino’s restaurant. Alex Penn was involved with the project from the beginning. From initial site visits the team were award of the challenging acoustics that the building posed. The audio design in German Gymnasium places multiple loudspeakers throughout the building, positioned so that the listener is never far from an audio source. This close proximity delivers intelligibility without any individual speaker being overly loud. The design team opted to use Bose components for the installation, with the system split into two zones: the ground floor bar; and the upstairs dining area including private dining.

The Ground Floor – Installing Bose MA12 Speakers

Behind the main bar, five Bose MA12 column speakers are mounted, discreetly hidden by a metal grill. Bose MB4 subs are integrated into the central fixed seating unit in the main bar area. In addition, Bose DS40F and Freespace 3 Acoustimass subs are flush mounted within the ceiling spaces.

The First Floor – Integrating K-Array, Bose, and Freespace

For the first floor areas of German Gymnasium, our systems integration engineers mounted two K-Array KK102 column speakers either side of the bar area. The requirement for the installation to be as visually unobtrusive as possible meant the K-Array, with its ultra-slim profile, was the ideal solution for this area, where the mounting point is only a few centimetres wide. Wall mounted Bose MA12s provide the infill for the first floor and again each booth is fitted out with Freespace 3 Satellites and Acoustimass subs, ensuring a subtle and even audio coverage throughout the restaurant.

An innovative solution implementing Acoustimass sub woofers

There is outside seating along two sides of the German Gymnasium building with large umbrellas to provide shelter from the elements. Housed in each umbrella are two Freespace 3 satellites with Acoustimass subs mounted within the planters.

The strength of the Soundweb BLU-100 system

All signal processing and amplification is housed within a single 19″ rack located in the restaurant’s comms room. All amplification units are Bose with custom panel- work and power distribution manufactured as part of the package.

Three Soundweb London BLU100s provide overall system control throughout the venue. The BLU-100 has both analogue inputs and outputs and provides signal routing, equalisation and level control for each connected input source and loudspeaker. Staff at the venue can select the audio source and set the volume for each zone via one of two Soundweb London BLU8v2 wall controllers mounted behind each bar area.

The primary audio source in German Gymnasium is provided by Music Concierge, a bespoke music consultancy service, via a hard disk player with Internet connectivity, which means playlists are updated remotely on a regular basis.

As soon as the German Gymnasium opened to the general public it attracted many reviews in the national media and a host of high profile clients including the GQ Magazine Christmas lunch.

“I believe we have delivered on the German Gymnasium’s brief to install a discreet audio system that is capable of delivering intelligibility even at low volumes. Working with D&D Purchasing Director Paul Jenkins we were able to come up with a system that integrates well with the building and its acoustics. We’ve delivered a cost effective package that is simple to use, unobtrusive and most importantly sounds great.”

Alex Penn – AV Installer

I’m very confident in the outlook for German Gymnasium in London. The building cost is high, so we’re going to have to work very hard to pay that back. But it is classically what we do: taking interesting buildings and bringing them back to life.”

Des Gunewardena – Chairman and Chief Executive.

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