One of London Mayfair's most famous and finest dining establishments has received a major £3 million renovation and refurbishment, with a discreet yet powerful audio system designed and installed by SSE Audio Group.
Quaglino's, the iconic 240-cover restaurant and late-night venue was originally opened by Giovanni Quaglino in 1929 and is now owned and operated by D&D London - a long-term client of SSE Installations. The establishment re-opened in October 2014 after a redesign by leading high-end hospitality designers, Russell Sage Studio.
After comparing several different products it was clear that K-array was the outstanding speaker. The system had power, clarity and coverage in a very compact package. The client immediately picked up on that as well. Once installed and set up we were very impressed with the overall result as it delivered far more than we had expected. Its a product we will definitely be installing again.Emma Bigg, Director of the SSE Audio group
The modern new design sees the signature sweeping staircase, balcony bar, main restaurant and mezzanine private dining rooms elegantly restored along with the addition of a
glamorous central cocktail bar and a stage for intimate live music performances. Late into the evening, the restaurant transforms into an entertainment destination, featuring renowned DJs and lounge-style live bands as part of a programme of late-night live music performances and events. As well as the new stage, a high-quality sound system was required to cater for a wide range of demands. D&D London chief executive Des Gunewardena said:
It's remarkable to think that when Quaglino's first opened, Londoners were dancing the charleston and King George V was on the throne. The place has history and I hope that this will be the beginning of a new chapter of fun, excitement and stories for another generation of Londoners.
SSE Installations Director, Emma Bigg explains:
D&D's brief to us specified a sound system that could be integral to the new design rather than detract from it; subtle enough (in audio terms) for a restaurant while capable of delivering the power for private events, live music and DJs. The considerable double-height space in the Art Deco restaurant means the acoustics are challenging, compounded by the close proximity of the neighbours, directly above. So noise management was also key to the design. SSE Audio designed a distributed system with all the speakers positioned just above head height rather than flown at ceiling height. This brings the acoustic energy closer to the listener and means high levels can be achieved comfortably, without having to drive any individual speaker very hard. The main challenge was to find a product with the right coverage and power that was unobtrusive and could effectively disappear into the room design. After comparing several systems, SSE Audio opted for products from K-array as their range is able match the varied requirements at Quaglino's.
For the lower ground floor bar and restaurant, a background music system was required and SSE has utilised a mixture of K-array KK102 columns, KK52 columns and KT2 Tornado speakers plus numerous KKS50 subs hidden in seating and waiter station plinths.
For the more demanding live music requirements, duties hand over to a K-array KR202 system that comprises of four powered 1m columns and two powered 18" subs. This shifts the focus of the music to the stage where a variety of live vocalists or DJs perform. Amplification is provided by K-array KA24 and KA84 amplifiers. For simple speeches and announcements, two custom IO panels, designed and manufactured by SSE, allow the direct connection of a radio microphone to the system, without the need for a console. Since Qualingo's reopened, live performance highlights have included Marianne Faithful, Alexander O'Neal, Beverley Knight and Eliza Doolittle.