This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
70 l March 2012

installationreport ICELAND Chill-out zone Phil Ward moves in Arctic circles to investigate a very cool culture venue

IF YOU COMEhere in December, expect Iceland to live up to its name. Especially if you’re as near to the North Pole as Akureyri, a picture-postcard port on the north coast only one hour’s flight – or nine days’ expedition with huskies, skis and an indestructible sense of purpose – from Reykjavik. A similarly robust sense of

civic pride has now resulted in a brand new venue called the Hof Menningarhús. It’s part of a decade-long drive towards regional cultural development away from Reykjavik, rubber- stamped by the Minister of Education at the time who just happened to be a former Mayor of Akureyri. At 7,413sqm and clad in local basalt, the Hof’s circular plan bisected by a deep atrium draws all of the creative spaces together with a kind of centrifugal force – a sense of open access to higher things. Menningarhús translates

literally as Culture House, but as well as music, theatre and dance it’s equipped to host conferences, exhibitions and a more or less open-ended range of temporary events. Hof means Temple, the name of the cultural society set up through a private foundation to create and use the venue and whose office

headquarters occupy the second floor of the building. There are two main auditoriums: the 510-seater Hamraborg hall and, with a very flexible 200-seat space, the more modest Hamrar room. The Akureyri Theatre Company and the Northern Symphony Orchestra are both in residence, so acoustic and sound reinforcement facilities had to be of the highest quality. According to Reykjavik- based installation and rental company Exton, which supplied all of the audio, lighting and stage machinery, this has been the company’s biggest project to date outside of the capital. “We had quite a free hand to specify what we thought would be the best solutions,” recounts Exton project manager Gunnar Gunnarsson. “Our client was the municipal buildings department of the town council – experts in schools, swimming pools and libraries but not AV! They took some advice from the theatre group based here, but after we got the tender it was more or less down to us. It enabled us to work very closely with the architects.”

“We’re showing this market the true value of the brands we use " Gunnar Gunnarsson, Exton

Technical manager Einar Karl

Einar Karl Valmundsson and Gunnar Gunnarsson, Exton

Valmundsson says: “The Meyer Sound line array is perfect for the main hall,” he explains. “It’s a pretty long room, so we needed the throw. Exton used MAPP to model the space, and decided to combine the array hangs of nine M1Ds per side with 24 MM4s around the sides as surround fills.” M1D-Subs are also flown in conjunction with the line array; a Galileo 616 is the loudspeaker management system. While an Allen & Heath iLive- T80 can be patched into the Cat5 network at several points to act as a monitor or radio broadcast console – and to create an independent surround mix – a Midas PRO6 sits permanently at the FOH position. “The PRO6 is a dedicated FOH console,” Valmundsson says. “It does everything! We can even use it for monitors from the FOH position at the same time, if the channel count is not too high. Using the VCAs is so comfortable, so user-friendly. It’s the first time I’ve moved from analogue mixers

to a digital one, but it was not difficult to learn. And then there’s the sound… just great. The acoustics here are very controllable using curtains and panels, so it really brings out the best in the sound reinforcement system.” “We do a lot of community-

based venues, with audio, lighting and communications,” adds Gunnarsson. “The important thing is that the spaces are flexible – for music, theatre, speech, conference – because usually it’s the only place in the town built for these purposes. That doesn’t mean that the installations are mobile; many of the speakers, for example, are fixed permanently – such as subwoofers under the stage. That’s why the choice of box is critical. “There will always be some customers who simply look at the price, but in many ways it’s not worth it for us to chase that business. You might end up setting up a system that you know will not perform how they expect it to, even though you have explained its limitations. We specialise in systems integration; we’re not box shifters. We’re showing this market the true value of the brands we use.”

The acoustics are adapted using curtains and panels

Visit us at Frankfurt Messe 21-24th March 2012

“Expanding audio horizons” Hall 8 Stand G94 Demos throughout the show in Room Dialog 9

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84