cover story TECHNOLOGY FIT FOR A PALAZZO: Think ‘Palazzo’ and what comes to mind? A palace fit for an emperor; a palatial mansion where luxury is a given, and where every possible convenience is only a finger-touch away. Palazzo Steyn, on William Nicol Drive, is just that and more. It’s the home of insurance tycoon Douw Steyn, and the first house in Steyn City, the multibillion rand development that is set to become one of the largest and most exclusive gated estates in Southern Africa. Douw Steyn also owns The Saxon, an exclusive boutique hotel in Johannesburg. In 2010 Panavision Evolve automated audio-visual (AV), lighting, and climate control throughout the hotel. This they successfully accomplished using Crestron products, and PROMAG magazine featured the Saxon AV installation as the cover article in 2010 (fourth quarter). When it came to the job of automating Palazzo Steyn with state-of-the-art technology, Panavision Evolve were the obvious choice. Jaco Potgieter was the system designer on the project, and he was backed up by Panavision Evolve’s Colin Sachs (Programmer) and Nicholaas Potgieter (Install Team Leader), as well as Stephen Falke (Interior Designer), and Rupert Denoon (Crestron Regional Manager). For Jaco, and his team, this was the perfect opportunity to “show off the power and flexibility of Crestron.” Their brief as integrators for the 3 000m² property, which is on a 2.5ha stand, included lighting control, climate control, AV, and the control of Roman-style aqueducts that encircle the home. The lighting system comprises around 270 circuits, serving a vast array of lights, including: crystal chandeliers, picture lights, and LED down lights. Keypads were specially fitted with brass cover plates, to match the décor of the house. Touch-screens offer slider control, with pressand-hold user pre-sets, and Crestron’s new smart graphics ensure a fresh and appealing design. Motion sensors, installed in various areas, save energy and simplify control. When the African heat becomes too much for guests, or they are surprised by the evening Highveld chill, they can turn to the closest Crestron touch screen for climate control. Because it’s a big house, the system needs to be powerful enough to handle the complexities of creating different climates in myriad rooms. The Panavision Evolve team installed a 3-Core processor which, thanks to Crestron’s builtin Bacnet integration, provides seamless and simple control. Excessive comfort can give rise to boredom; should this happen guests can, at a touch, activate the AV system. The sheer scale of the Palazzo Steyn AV system demanded a beast of a switcher - capable of ultra-fast digital video/ audio switching, and lossless HD multi-room signal distribution for all types of AV sources. Jaco chose the Crestron 32x32 DigitalMedia matrix switcher, knowing it has the required roar for such a big and complex project. The size of the home also necessitated a multi- 12 PROMAG – first quarter 2014 Crestron's UFO Waterproof Wireless LCD Remote mode fibre-based system. The Adagio 42-zone background music system ensures that music reaches the various entertainment areas: wine cellar, bar, lounges, drawing room, dining areas, patios, gyms, spa and pool. It even reaches the bathrooms, which have been equipped with motion sensors in order to set the right mood for ablutions: Lights! Music! For those seeking a big-screen thrill there are two cinemas, and both boast the ultimate in surround sound: Crestron’s PROCISE™ range. It’s as good as being at the movies. But Palazzo Steyn is not all about transient pleasures; the Roman style aqueducts encircling the home offer the tranquil delights of flowing water. Crestron gives users control of a large system that pumps the water into a dam, creating a breath-taking waterfall. The Steyns, together with Panavision Evolve and Crestron, have created a Palazzo fit even for the most demanding Roman emperor, and certainly fit for even the most discerning overseas guests. As Steyn, the proudly South African founder of Auto & General, said, "My wife and I are looking forward to entertaining our friends and business partners from all over the world at our new residence, while also exposing them to our magnificent country." Friends and partners of the Steyns will also be looking forward to their stay at the Palazzo, where, thanks to the excellent planning and hard work of the Panavision Evolve team, they can expect five star service and entertainment.