Relax. Meet. Work. Create. Think. Yamaha.
When office buildings are vacated, there is always the issue of what to do with them? Some stand empty for years, slowly becoming eyesores. But there are some proactive owners who have more inventive ideas. One example in Amsterdam is enjoying a creative new lease of life, with Yamaha audio equipment at its heart.
On the south-west outskirts of Amsterdam stands a 18,000 m2, five storey building, which had been occupied by former Dutch postal service PTT Post and IBM. When It was vacated, rather than let it decay, owner Bas van Veggel staged a competition with entrants invited to submit ideas for how to best use a large building which is some distance from the busy and dynamic heart of Amsterdam, but close to Schipol airport.
This competition was won by Ricardo van Loenen, who teamed up with Guus Meulendijks to propose using the building for rented office and work space to small enterprises and sole traders with small budgets; facilities to supply food, drink and office ‘essentials’ at low cost and with areas to host events and meetings. Bas was so impressed with the idea that he agreed to work closely with Ricardo and Guus to make it a reality.
B.Amsterdam was born, with its motto Relax Meet Work Create Think displayed prominently over the main entrance.
From the beginning there was a need for AV facilities, so Ricardo asked Harmen van 't Loo of Motiondezign, a Yamaha Commercial Audio dealer, to become part of the creative team, Harmen is now co-owner of the Events department at B. Amsterdam and is responsible for all AV-related activities and the associated equipment.
Harmen is progressively installing Yamaha audio equipment throughout the building. So far this includes 12 DXR10 loudspeakers, two DXS15 subs, an MTX5-D matrix mixer, QL1 digital mixing console, Rio1608-D i/o unit, EXo8 output expander and DCP1V4S wall-mounted control panel in a meeting area on the ground floor and 10 pairs of VXS5W loudspeakers, each with an MA2030 compact mixer amplifier, in meeting rooms.
The ground floor meeting area allows up to 1000 seats to be arranged in different configurations. The requirements of almost every event are unique, so it is designed to be very flexible. Harmen flew the DXR10 loudspeakers - chosen because of their excellence for speech applications - in a matrix from the ceiling. Controlled by the MTX5 and configured so they can be quickly orientated at different angles, this configuration allows only the speakers needed to cover a specific event to be in use.
“The QL1 is installed at a fixed mix position and users love its Dugan auto mixer, which really helps with the difficult room acoustics,” he says. “The MTX5 is controlled remotely via a laptop next to the QL1, making for a very flexible and efficient control solution.”
He continues, “B.Amsterdam also features many small break-out rooms, which are used for meetings and presentations. We found the MA2030 mixer amplifier and VXC5 speakers were excellent for the basic audio needs in those rooms, whose inputs are usually no more than a microphone and a laptop. The functionality is foolproof, they sound good and users are very happy with them.”
Currently the building houses around 200 enterprises, which range from sole traders to those with around 20 people. More than 1000 people use the building daily, a number which is growing rapidly. Ironically, the creative atmosphere that pervades the building has proved attractive to IBM, which has returned to base a small team there.
“It has proved a very successful project and, as the building becomes ever-more popular, the AV budget is growing exponentially,” says Harmen. “Yamaha has great solutions for the building’s growing audio demands and we are currently preparing to install a large Dante network throughout the building for more demanding audio applications. We will also be equipping more meeting rooms and presentation areas with Yamaha audio equipment in the near future.”
As a first phase, he has recently installed two pairs of VXS8 and six DXR8 loudspeakers, plus a Dante-enabled XMV4280-D power amplifier, in additional areas.