Moxy DTLA & AC Hotel

ProjectMoxy DTLA & AC HotelLocationCalifornia, USAManufacturers1 SOUNDArchitectGenslerInstallerAnthem SSL ProductionsSubmitted by1 SOUND

Anthem SSL Productions has built a relationship with Moxy Hotels in the last 5 years, and more recently incorporated 1 SOUND loudspeakers in 2 of Moxy’s latest new hotels.

This new venture was monumental for the franchise, Moxy DTLA is joined by AC Hotel in a side-by-side 37-story tower, with a first-of-its-kind multi-dimensional hospitality concept on one of the floors titled, Level 8.

Anthem was awarded the entire audio integration for this project and chose to take a leap, implementing exclusively 1 SOUND. Angelo Poulos, CEO of Anthem Productions, and 1 SOUND’s CEO and designer Lou Mannarino “put their heads together” to develop an outstanding audio design with special attention to each unique location, particularly those inhabiting Level 8. A project that would end up taking a full year of audio designing and installing loudspeakers, with custom loudspeaker colour changes down to a week and a half before opening.

With about 180 plus loudspeakers, this project utilised about every loudspeaker in 1 SOUND’s catalogue and powered by Powersoft amplifiers, spread across Level 8, the AC Hotel’s Lobby, La Lo La Rooftop space, AC Bar and Lounge as well as the Moxy lobby and Bar Moxy.

The entire complex is networked via BSS Audio HiQnet London Architect with audio signal sent throughout all 34 stories and both towers. Because the two hotels – The Moxy and AC Hotel– are linked so closely, Poulos explains, “We had to integrate the same control system, and to be able to do routing of the music from the lobby to the elevators to the event spaces in there.”

Poulos built custom GUIs for individual areas and on Level 8, they’re all connected. There are remotes on the walls for each room. There’s also significant and specific zoning for different sections. “So when you’re using the GUI on the network, you can control just about anything from it.”

Level 8 is an ambitious concept by the Houston Brothers, consisting of 8 immersive restaurants and clubs that are all connected and situated back to back. Some are relatively straightforward spaces, such as Maison Kasai, billed as an interactive dining experience from a Michelin-starred chef, with deployed WSUB45i (Wall Subwoofer with a recessed French cleat) that hang flush higher up on the walls and with distributed Cannon C6s, and The Brown Sheep, an outdoor rooftop patio-style dining space with audio delivered by a combination of C5s and SUB12s.

Other spaces that are more unique also became more complex with audio. Lucky Mizu, for example, a Japanese restaurant featuring a 40-foot ‘Earth Harp’ that acts as an enormous, immersive instrument across the whole ceiling of the restaurant.

Among the elements are recessed SUB10s that were changed by 1 SOUND Custom Shop to match the wall’s colour and then Cannon C6s. More traditional venues like Que Barbaro, a South American restaurant, have down-firing WSUB45s suspended with threaded rods and 1 SOUND C-Clamp Accessories and C6s.

“The Cannons are soft on the ear and high fidelity,“ Mannarino says, “and there’s an extra octave of low end in the Cannons that allows them to sound full-range in all the locations. The WSUB45 also has unique properties, in that it’s a very fast transient sub, a quick sounding sub, front-loaded, with a big round sound that’s more hi-fi and matches the Cannons extremely well.”

The piano bar required custom wood finish cardioid Tower LCC44 loudspeakers, with booths custom built with a grille opening to hide SUB310s but allow air to push out to not muffle the sonic qualities of the bass.

The standout venue of Level 8 is the Sinners y Santos nightclub, with deployed Contour CT212, a 3-way constant directivity horn loaded point source, as the mains at the dance floor/DJ booth, with distributed Contour CT28s, Cannon C8s as DJ monitors, SUB215s, and SUB2112s.

“This is a phenomenal space, but the project was difficult audio-wise, because the venue houses multiple spaces, all right next to each other,” said Angelo Poulos.

“Given each space is connected, the transitions between the rooms – each environment had different requirements for sound – so attention to detail, sonically and aesthetically, was key,” Poulos continued. The space required both Anthem and 1 SOUND to be highly responsive.

“The harp was a challenge,” Poulos says. “Coming in, we designed what was supposed to be a Japanese restaurant. When they changed the concept to include this huge harp in the middle of the room, it was – well, we’ve never done something like it before. I’m sure it’s been done, but I don’t know to what scale. So we had to move speakers around, make sure the coverage was correct, and change out the subwoofers to accommodate the sound pushed out for the harp.”

Another challenge that arose as loudspeakers were being installed was in the Sinners y Santos nightclub. “They came up with the idea of this motorized boxing ring,” Poulos says, “and I was like, OK, that sounds great, but when you’re lowering a boxing ring that’s 24 by 24 feet and comes down and covers almost the entire area, it messes with all the dispersion of all your speakers, and that was one of the challenges when we started realigning, adding, and moving speakers to be able to accommodate that.”

The changes made along the way required responsiveness and agility throughout the project. “We were signed up on this project five years before doors opened,” Poulos adds. “The concept changed numerous times as the building was being constructed, and when the operator, Houston Hospitality, came in, they started tweaking more in terms of how they wanted to see each space.”

“Given the time frame, we also had new 1 SOUND products that were different from what we’d originally had in the design. For example, we’d originally designed Sinners y Santos with other 1 SOUND speakers, but then a newer model came out, the Contour CT212, which would be a better fit for the nightclub. Even though we designed and specified the original products, we took it upon ourselves to take on the cost of changing to something that we knew would be much better for what they were trying to do,” said Poulos.

System optimisation went through several iterations as the build unfolded. “We have a nightclub, a lounge, a piano bar, a steakhouse. It’s a little challenging to put that all together and ensure you’re not bleeding audio from room to room. That’s why we felt 1 SOUND would be the best selection for speakers,” Poulos says, also pointing to the Moxy’s large outdoor pool area that’s open 24/7.

“There are residences right next door – big high-rises within 200 feet. So that’s when we went to the approach of using Tower LC44s to control the audio and keep it from spilling out of the property, which was one of the big successes of 1 SOUND in the space,” he continues.

Mannarino adds: “The reason we used the Tower Series for that is the cardioid cancellation for the neighbours. Essentially, to get the level for DJs and other entertainment necessary without disturbing those who aren’t at the party, we have LC44s and SUB310s. I created an end-fire array in the pool to keep it tidy, and it works very well.”

“We worked hard with Jonnie Houston, the Designer. He was changing things up to two or three weeks before opening. But, because we build here, we could adjust to his needs.” That’s a core value to the partnership between the two firms and 1 SOUND’s custom shop, Mannarino says, being that there were multiple custom finishes used throughout the project.

Beyond the agility of the loudspeakers and user interface, the needs of this project required dexterity from both Anthem and 1 SOUND in various other ways. “The value of having one brand of loudspeakers is that we, as a brand, are part of the project,” Mannarino says. “If something could be done better, as a brand and a partner, we want to do that.”

1 SOUND and Anthem understood that the project is not over when the commissioning is done and they open, the goal should always remain to do what is best for the space.

Billed as “A First-of-Its-Kind Multidimensional Showcase”, describing the audio design for Moxy Hotel Level 8 in downtown Los Angeles as ambitious is putting it mildly. The 30,000-square-foot dining and entertainment space is, as characterised by Jonnie Houston of Houston Hospitality, “an accumulation of Mark (Jonnie’s brother and partner) and I travelling around the world… bottling up our wildest dreams of experiences that we wanted to recreate. This project was the perfect mash-up to throw it all onto one floor.”

Together, the team created a maze of venues with theatrical moments at every turn. This project was a massive undertaking not just for Anthem and 1 SOUND, but also the Moxy Hotel Franchise.

This is a special project where all parties took a risk and it proved worth it. The attention to audio was uncompromised, “Audio is a big part of what the designer and owners focused on. They didn’t tie our hands at all. That’s rare. And I think that should be mentioned. They trusted us. They knew the outcome. They had a goal.” stated Poulos.

1 SOUND’s custom shop is critical not just to the integrator but to designers/architects as well. “We’re there from start to finish,” says Mannarino. “So, when things change, it’s not a burden on the integrator.”

Angelo Poulos also spoke about how this has assisted him in the Level 8 integration process by explaining, “When we started tuning and seeing how the rooms were being built out, there would be, say, speakers moving to wooden columns. So we ended up calling the custom shop and changing to brown-painted speakers to match the speaker to the wood colour. That was done a week and a half before they were opening up. Three days later, it was shipped to LA, and we had it before the opening. That’s something that could never be done with another manufacturer. That’s the relationship we have with 1 SOUND. We see something we know would be better and turn it around immediately.”

This significant relationship of 1 SOUND and Anthem, can be described as a symbiotic collaboration where each firm is willing to listen to customers and make changes to ensure the final product is precisely what’s required. This is part of why this project has been a major success for the Moxy & AC Hotels and the Houston Brothers.