Getting ‘Serious’ About Boa Lounge Upgrade

Serious Audio Video wins 2014 Integration Award in the bars and restaurants category for their work at the Boa Lounge.

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There’s a conventional wisdom that the lowest bidder almost always gets the job, but Serious Audio Video proved with their work at the Boa Lounge that the bottom line shouldn’t always be the primary consideration.

Although owners instructed all bidders to submit proposals of $200,000 or less for the AV and lighting installation at the first New York City-style nightclub in Hoboken, N.J., Serious came forward with a bid of about $350,000 — and was still picked as the integrator.

“They deserved better,” says Serious Audio Video president Casey Johnston.

Indeed, what they got was an upscale dining area that features lighting, entertainment and security all controlled through the Elan g! mobile and desktop application, plus a nightclub space (among the biggest in the area too) highlighted by 90 speakers pumping 30,000 watts of audio.

3 Integrator Takeaways:
1. Bid what you’re worth. Some clients will ignore aggressive bidders, but those who look beyond the bottom line will be satisfied with the results.
2. Take chances. Don’t be afraid to try something you’ve never done, even if the client didn’t ask for it.
3. Communicate with the client. Staying in touch with your customers eliminates surprises for everyone.

3 End User Takeaways:
1. Don’t let bottom lines rule. Price matters, but getting a project you’re proud of matters more.
2. Embrace differences. If your results looks like everyone else’s, why would customers choose you over someone else?
3. Listen to the integrator. It’s great to have an idea of what you want but the installers know what you need — if they listen well enough.

Equipment Highlights:
Digital Signage: PrimeView SmartFilm projection window
Audio & Infrastructure: Community, Crown and Sound Tube
Video/Control: Elan, Lowell, Sharp, Strong and Toshiba
Lighting & Infrastructure: Martin

But what truly sets Boa Lounge apart is the PrimeView “Smart Film” projection window, the first installed in the U.S. The treated glass can be frosted or unfrosted with the push of a button and have an HD image projected against it without glare or loss of transparency.

The 18-by-10-foot window separates the third-floor VIP bar from the rest of the club, adding both a wow factor and a sense of privacy.

Related: Complete List of 2014 CI & TD Integration Awards Winners

The technology used to realize this solution is so new, the directions only came in Cantonese. Serious flew in one of PrimeView’s top technicians from Hong Kong to assist with installation.

In total, Serious spent about seven weeks between January 2013 and St. Patrick’s Day working at Boa Lounge, says Johnston. They used a 45-foot-tall scaffolding to install a Sound Tube chandelier under the watchful eye of the club’s owners, who came over from Tokyo. It’s held up by a ring they bought from the city’s highway department.

“That was very nerve-wracking,” says Johnston. “The good news is we were able to bring the ownership team into our vision. I saw the way the space was and ideas kept popping in to my head. With a heavy focus on design, we were able to walk them through it too. They wanted the wow factor and for the city to feel the place. “I’ve always been someone with a unique eye. I don’t copy other people and I always push the limits.”

Johnston and his team had to build the equipment in a small space on the third floor of Boa, but he’s happy the end results speak for themselves and the customers are so pleased with it.

“We sold this vision and we had to deliver on it,” he says. At the end, Johnston even was able to upsell to add more equipment in the DJ booth in what represented the first nightclub project for Serious AV. Johnston is hoping it won’t be the company’s last foray into that market though.

“I want to get into the business,” he says. “They do $2 million jobs all the time.”

As a direct result of their work on the Boa Lounge, Serious AV picked up at least one other bar installation in the region: Kilroy’s, the biggest sports bar in New Jersey, outside MetLife Stadium in the New Jersey Meadowlands.