PAI Installs Lighting & Sound for new University of Wales Institute SU

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Llanelli, UK based sound, lighting and AV specialist PAI has completed the installation of a sound and lighting scheme for the new University of Wales Institute Cardiff (UWIC) Student Union building, located at the Cyncoed Campus, north Cardiff.

PAI has enjoyed a trading relationship with UWIC for many years, and its relationship with the SU's general manager Mike Davies dates back to the early 1990s, when he was running the main university of Wales Student Union building in central Cardiff.

The new bar and social area - called Centro - is an essential hub of the new building. PAI was approached to come up with ideas for the technical elements required for the two levelled multi-purpose space, which has a capacity of up to 400 people and includes a bar, lounge, dining and performance areas.

They needed a solution that would work for both day and night time usage and be capable of accommodating a variety of uses from comedy shows to conferences, live bands to club nights. PAI's brief included integrating screens from multichannel TV provider SUB TV into the technical scheme.

Logic System was chosen for the main audio components as the brand is ideally suited to this type of venue and a multifunctional environment - in terms of both quality and budget - to deal with live and background sound requirements.

In the lower bar, 4 Logic System IS12 mid tops and 4 B300i bass speakers make up the system.

The upper bar has a seating/dining area just to the side of the bar, and this is fitted with a small periphery sound system consisting of 8 x EV EVID speakers - their neat and compact design and wide dispersion making them perfect for the task.

A BSS Soundweb is used to process and zone audio throughout the space, and is programmed with different settings that can be selected for day and night and various entertainment scenarios.

The sources include SUB TV, a CD player and a DJ set up, and an external mixer can be linked into the system as required.

PAI's team was led by account handler Andy Bonehill and project manager Ross Whitehead, and they worked closely with Swansea based interior designers, Thomas Parry, who created a cool, chic, contemporary look for Centro. The two companies also have a long history of collaborating on projects. The SU president Adam Painter was also involved in the whole process, and all works had to be co-ordinated with those of the university's main building contractor, Wilmot Dixon.

Everyone was keen that the wall with the video screens in the lower bar looked stylish and interesting, so PAI produced the idea of a 'media wall' feature, which involved a custom steel frame designed by Keith Elms and engineered in the company's workshop. The screens are mounted into this.

The lighting design is minimal but precise and was also created by Elms. Rigged behind the screens frame are colour changing LED PAR light fixtures. Another 4 LED PARs are attached to bars either side of the room at right angles to the media wall, used primarily to illuminate a mirror ball in the centre of the room - adding a dash of retro to the ambience.

All the lighting elements are programmed into a Pulsar Masterpiece replay unit.

Andy Bonehill comments, "It's a small installation, but quality and production values were really high on the agenda, to make it a bit classy and special for everyone's enjoyment. Our challenge was to design something imaginative that met the brief, the budget and everyone's expectations - and all these targets were met".

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