Dance House Helsinki
Dance House Helsinki opened last year in Ruoholahti, Helsinki, fulfilling a dream that has been alive and well among dancers for decades. We, Audico Systems, designed and implemented the house's advanced sound, lighting, video, Info-TV, and IT network systems. It is rare to see a performance space like the Dance House Helsinki in Finland, where sophisticated cultural venues of this size are built only once or twice a decade.
Dance House Helsinki comprises two large performance spaces and a rehearsal studio. We worked closely with the client and were responsible for the design of the project with the help of experts. The design team comprised about 20 technical experts, rare in a small industry. In addition to the design, we contracted all the systems.
Our project salesman, Antti Murto, says, "The system designed for Dance House Helsinki is modern: the presentation technology is completely built on top of IT. Everything that can be networked is networked, so very little analog signal runs through the cables."According to Murro, the networked presentation implementation offers excellent possibilities for flexible changes and can be managed with a relatively small staff.
The sound travels over the Dante network from the wireless microphone receivers through the mixers and processors to the amplifiers. All the signal is available where needed, and no separate branching to, for example, broadcasting is required. The antenna signal from the microphones is networked with eight antennas in the halls and lobby, allowing free movement of all microphones throughout the area.
The image moves over the NDI network from Birddog robotic cameras and media servers to streaming, projectors, and image monitoring. Two-channel base stations in the Bandercom radiotelephony system ensure coverage throughout the region and are connected to GreenGo intercoms. Even lighting control from GrandMA3 consoles is networked to MA nodes. Most of the equipment isPoe-powered, so cabling is easy.
Listening to the client's wants and needs is the most important when designing and equipping a sophisticated cultural venue. "Together with the customer, we searched for solutions and products from all product families on the market that would suit the Dance House Helsinki," says Murto.
The expertise used in the project was not limited to Audico either but involved almost the entire top chain of Finnish AV experts. For example, ReimaSaarinen and Tero Hölttä were responsible for the speaker system design. Stanley Lönnquist, Ville Kärkkäinen, and Pasi Manninen were also responsible for the sound, and Pekka Olava for the lighting.
Audico's own team of experts was led by Santtu Sipilä, who thanks the team involved, in particular, Arto Heininen, Janne Raitanen and Jori Luoto, Oskar Krogell, and Risto Lehikoinen. "We are happy to use external experts in addition to our own top experts, as it also improves our own operations and provides the best end result for the client," says Sipilä. "This was a great team effort between the client, vendors, designers, and our own and the country's top freelance experts, installers, and logistics," enthuses Pasi Liimatainen, our project manager. "The schedule was challenging, and the arrival of many products was affected by the pandemic, yet we got the technology installed and configured in time for an unforgettable opening night," says Liimatainen.
Audico's extensive network of experts offers significant advantages. One is a sophisticated maintenance system that allows the customer's equipment to be efficiently monitored remotely by Audico staff. Maintenance plays a vital role in the lifecycle thinking of Audico's system solutions. For example, the company has invested heavily in developing remote monitoring.
The completion of Dance House Helsinki generated great interest in artistic circles, the culture-consuming public, and the audiovisual industry. The latter have praised the technical solutions, such as the GrandMA3 lighting tables, ranked as the best in the world in terms of lighting, and JB-Lighting's ground-breaking, ultra-quiet P12 profile spotlights. However, Antti Murto would like to point out that the technology purchased for the house is only the basic system, which can and should be modified and supported on a case-by-case basis. For example, energy efficiency has also been considered in the design phase by using only LED lighting in the stages and other areas.
The AV technology of the Dance House Helsinki relies almost entirely on transmitting media in data format for audio, video, and information systems. Analog transmission paths have, therefore, been replaced by a network. Dance House Helsinki is Audico's most comprehensive IT delivery for a cultural venue to date.
The old Pannuhalli, now renovated, now meets the needs of high-quality, modern performance. "For example, the ceiling has a thick layer of damping material that reduces reverberation in the space from the entire lane," says PetteriLaukkanen. The Erkko Hall, located on the side of the new Dance House building, is also significantly damped and has a flat spatial scale compared to the Pannuhalli. The D&B Audiotechnik line array sound system and surround system supplied by Audico play an important role here.
"Today's dance productions mainly use recorded music and modern soundscapes. Therefore, the halls are designed for amplified sound. If an acoustic orchestra comes to the performance, this is also mixed and amplified through the loudspeaker system." Although the halls of the Dance House can be used for many different purposes, the design is based on the needs of dance. For example, Laukkanen cites the projection equipment, which allows projections of the size of the entire back wall, for example.
"Dance cannot be staged in the same way as a theatre performance because dance requires space on stage," says Laukkanen, explaining the rigid-sided video technology. Quality has been chosen over quantity across the board. "Even the lighting equipment has been purchased because it suits international groups. An important and somewhat radical decision was that all the lights were LED. The world is going LED, and it is wise to look ahead."
Laukkanen insists that the Dance House offers first-class but affordable spaces for dance, including foreign productions. A very small team can run the house's performance technology. The assumption is that visiting productions bring their own technical staff to the performance. However, visiting productions requires great flexibility and adaptability, both in terms of equipment and facilities. This adaptability is enhanced by a sound system based on the point source principle, which allows for various performance formats, such as an arena format with a tall grandstand that wraps around the stage from all sides.
Everything is new, meaning there is no time lag in the equipment and systems - a daily burden in most of the country's multifunctional and theatre houses. "The great thing about our performance technology is that all the signal transmission moves over networks. Ethernet is a fast 10 gigabit, and the wireless LAN is gigabit," says Laukkanen.
Laukkanen joined Dance House Helsinki from the National Opera, where he has 25 years of experience running performance technology. "Audico was already a good partner in the Opera days, and they have played an important role in the success of this project as well, as the plans were significantly up along the way. For example, it is essential for us that the network designed by Audico is sized for the demanding performance technology. It's also great that there is no gap between the network and the AV technology.
Dance House Helsinki
Sara Kulturhus - Skellefteå
Yle Svenska Breaking News
Scandic Göteborg Central
Anna K Multi-Functional Space
Control Room by Audico Systems AB
Dubai Expo 2022
Our team of professionals is eager to hear from you. Perhaps you have a question about your AV equipment? Do they need to be updated? Or is it a problem at the office in that one meeting room that everyone keeps avoiding? Or something else entirely? Drop us a message, and we’ll promise to help.
We are here for you.