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Crestron Electronics, Inc.

Crestron offers the only complete end-to-end solution with a complete line of hardware and software. Crestron not only connects and controls devices; we integrate and automate all the building systems to provide a connected experience. We deliver integrated solutions for audio, video, IP, lighting and climate control making wiring and installations easier and promoting system integrity.
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Technology + Design: Achieving Clients’ Spectacular Desires
Posted on Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Technology + Design: Achieving Clients’ Spectacular Desires

When architects, designers, and integrators collaborate at the earliest stages of a build, the resulting home can be the stuff that dreams are made of

May 21, 2024 - It’s likely the number one request that both designers and integrators hear from clients when it comes to home automation systems: “I don’t want to see the technology.”

Ultimately, though, it’s something of a misnomer: A client absolutely wants to see, hear, and even feel the intended effects of the technology, from the perfect lighting to mood-setting audio to an HVAC system that delivers pure air at the most comfortable temp. What they probably don’t want to see is a “stack of black boxes” — and, as any integrator will tell you, exposed cables are anathema to 99% of homeowners.

What we’ve come to understand is that there are ways to hide tech, there are ways to blend tech into the lived environment, and there are ways to simply make the tech more aesthetically appealing. Striking that balance is the ticket to realizing the result: a marriage of technology and design that creates a true “dream home” for the customer.

JoAnn Arcenal, Crestron’s director of business development, has seen this dynamic firsthand. A notable example was a recent trip to Arizona that incorporated a variety of solutions — including faux finishes.

Matching Speakers to a Wooden Ceiling

“These solutions always work best when they start this conversation: How much technology does the client want, and how much do they need to balance that with the aesthetic?” says Arcenal. In this case, the client was “heavy on both,” she recalls: “This is one of our builder partners, and he knows the value of the Crestron Home OS.” The builder wanted to deploy as many technological solutions as he could while incorporating the natural textures of the desert Southwest, from weathered stone to rich woodgrains.

The builder engaged MARA Interior Design, a Scottsdale firm, which contracted a faux-finish painter. The first order of business was incorporating a wide variety of finishes to the home’s Crestron keypads, from marble to rough concrete to match individual spaces in the residence, and then the painter moved on to the in-ceiling speakers.

“The wood for this particular ceiling had been very carefully sourced,” explains Arcenal. “The builder took quite a bit of time with architects and designers to achieve a perfect look, and any disruption of that natural grain would have been a blemish.” The builder didn’t want to sacrifice a bit of audio quality — a common issue with “invisible” speakers that live underneath a wall — so exposed speaker grilles were a must.

“By collaborating with the faux painter and working carefully with Crestron’s paintable speaker grilles, he was able to match that beautiful and natural grain of the wood without sacrificing any sound quality at all,” says Arcenal.

Elegant Interfaces

Of course, not every project demands quite this level of customization. “We already offer a lot of flexibility for designers,” says Arcenal. “Because Crestron is the only brand that manufactures and engineers every facet of the smart home — including the interfaces — designers know that they have many options.” From basic whites for clean, contemporary homes to metal finishes to the new collaboration with Luhkee and its range of elegant wall plates featuring configurations with all the functions the Crestron Cameo® keypad offers, those options are continually expanding.

That’s especially important as clients look for ways to make the technology match the look of their homes — while a lot of tech solutions have a contemporary aesthetic almost as a “default setting,” one of Crestron’s missions is to create products such as interfaces that are completely at home in traditional or transitional designs. “We’re always striving to ensure that designers and their clients will find the aesthetic they're looking for,” says Arcenal.

For some clients, however, the power of a control system is just as important as the look of the interface. That was certainly the case in a recent Crestron Home Technology Award Winner integrated by the firm QAV (Quality Audio Video). The Denver-area residence picked up the “Best Technology Meets Design” trophy for its balance of automation and aesthetics, as we mentioned on the Crestron blog:

It’s a home whose contemporary lines are never compromised by the smart solutions within. Technology is front and center where it needs to be — in this case, the dedicated home cinema and golf simulator — and completely unobtrusive elsewhere in the project. The homeowner sums up just why this project won the category: “We fell in love with this home’s interior design and architecture. We are blown away with the Crestron system that supports the design of the home rather than take away from it.”

The Lighting Elements

For most of us, the first “control interface” we interacted with in the home was the humble light switch. Lighting control and the luminaires themselves, however, have evolved to create an incredible spectrum of effects, from mimicking the rhythms of sunlight to becoming a literal part of a building’s architecture.

For some, lighting is critical to the thing they’re most passionate about — art, perhaps. A terrific example of just that can be seen in a 14,000-square-foot waterside home in Fort Myers, Florida:

Homeowner Sylvie Acovski has an extensive art collection that’s on display throughout the residence. Those pieces include original paintings, custom-built furniture, and works of glass — in fact, Acovski’s late husband has family ties to The Lalique Glass Art company in France, a firm recognized globally for its luxurious creations.

To help Acovski highlight her collections, Phil Roberts and his team at Phil’s Phancy Programming created a Crestron system that spans 200 tunable lighting zones and motorized shading for the home’s 60-foot glass walls. Controls include beautiful Horizon® keypads programmed for one-touch operation. The result is a stunning presentation that rivals some of the world’s great museums — it’s literally a live-in art gallery.

“The range of what lighting can do is immeasurable,” says Arcenal. From highlighting a painting to tuning the color temperature and brightness to perfectly match a mood or time of day, the role of lighting as a profound union of design and technology can’t be understated — but many clients aren’t truly aware of the possibilities. “That’s where an integrator can help make a huge impact — most customers ‘don’t know what they don’t know,’” says Arcenal.


An element of any lighting system is, of course, shading. But shading’s much more than that, as we noted when we announced this Crestron award winner, which features a bank of windows that offer expansive views of its Adirondack Mountain setting.