The Rival hotel in the chic and bustling Södermalm district of Stockholm is renowned as one of the city’s favourite meeting spots. A building with lots of history, it has remained dedicated to entertainment and hospitality since its beginnings in 1937. In 2002, the complex was purchased by Benny Andersson (yes, that Benny Andersson from the legendary ‘70s supergroup, ABBA) along with two associates, and extensive redevelopment work began to shape the complex into what it is today – a luxury 99-room boutique hotel complete with bars, a bistro and café, modern meeting facilities and a theatre. The latest addition is a brand new bar named after Benny’s faithful Jack Russell terrier; Watson’s Bar offers food and drinks in a vibrant atmosphere with great music at the heart of the experience. A Genelec 4000 Series sound system ensures that the pulse never stops.

Open seven days a week from 11am – 1am except Sundays which has a Monday-morning-conscious closing time of 11pm, Watson’s Bar has rapidly become a favourite haunt for a relaxed lunch, a sneaky afternoon cocktail and of course afterwork DJ sessions. The combination of comfortable, attractive seating areas, cocktails, oysters and champagne, generous opening hours and excellent music has proved extremely popular with hotel guests and Stockholm residents alike. Rival turned to Adolfsson & Partners – a Stockholm-based firm who specialise in delivering turnkey building and interiors solutions – to conceive, design and deliver the new space. AV integration specialists, Hages, were engaged to design and install a fully integrated sound system capable of delivering a high quality, relaxed music experience during the day as well as high energy DJ sessions for the evening crowd.

Genelec loudspeakers had already provided many years of reliable service in the upstairs area of the hotel, so Hages had no hesitation in recommending a system for the new Watson’s Bar based on Genelec 4000 Series installation loudspeakers. “Our challenge was to accomplish a nice, full-bodied sound that would cover the whole of the new Watson’s Bar, from the leafy outdoor terrace through to the bar inside plus the reception and lobby,” says Hages’ Thomas Axelsson. “We decided on a combination of Genelec 4040 and 4030 loudspeakers supplemented by a 7360 subwoofer for low end reinforcement. We had less than three weeks to turn the project around and quite a few space restrictions to adhere to, but I’m delighted with the results, as is the client.”

“Genelec is an ideal choice for this type of installation where sound quality, tonal balance and high reliability are paramount,” continues Axelsson. “Those were the client’s criteria, and Genelec ticks all of those boxes. It’s difficult to beat Genelec sound quality and reliability. Plus there was already an existing Genelec system in the bar upstairs that the client was very happy with, so it made Genelec a very easy choice.

“From our point of view we also wanted the solution to be easy to install, and Genelec 4000 Series loudspeakers are active, which means no external amplifiers to worry about. This is an important point when you’re tight on space – and they also look great in the areas where they are visible. This is

always a priority when architects are involved – they don’t like to see big ugly speakers cluttering up their design!”

However, for the Watson’s Bar installation, the majority of the loudspeakers are completely hidden; five 4030s are concealed behind grilles over wall-hanging shelves down the sides of the bar, and the 7360 sub is neatly hidden in a specially built compartment under a sofa. Four powerful white 4040s grace the upper bar. Zone configuration and DSP is handled by a Bose ControlSpace ESP-880A processor connected to a programmable CC64 interface panel for straightforward, fingertip control of all zones and sources. A DJ output as well as a central music solution is housed in a technical cabinet behind the bar.

Hotel Rival’s CEO Jesper Henryson is enthusiastic about the guests’ reactions to the new venue: “The response we received from guests during our opening week was absolutely fantastic. Both hotel guests and Stockholmers alike seem to have found a common meeting place to relax and enjoy great food and amazing cocktails in an atmosphere of jazz, funk and soul. Welcome to Watson’s Bar!”