The Admaja installation in Dubai is one of our most ambitious residential installations to date. At 25,000 sq ft, the newly built luxury residence was of a scale more akin to a commercial or multi-owner installation, providing challenges in terms of integration and processing power. The intricate smart solution we installed accommodates 4 storeys, including a pool, gym, underground parking, and staff quarters, and exceeds top-of -the-line aesthetic and user experience demands in terms of style, luxury, and ease of use.
After updating the existing smart system in our client’s London home, we were brought onto their Dubai project to redesign the smart solution on the high value new build. The client was highly engaged with the design process and technology on offer. He was, at this stage, planning a Lutron solution for Admaja. However, when we showed him the Basalte demo box, he handed us the M&E drawings and tasked us with delivering a simpler, more elegant solution. The system needed to control the full range of services in the property- lighting, cooling, window treatments, security, intercom and music- to the highest standard possible without sacrificing style. We felt confident that KNX was the right choice to fulfil these demands due to its unrivalled interoperability.
After extensive planning with the client, the installation itself was complicated by the restrictions incurred by COVID-19. However, we were able to draw on our extensive knowledge and experience of KNX solutions to deliver the project remotely: programming the system in our UK offices and using remote access servers to tightly manage the installation.
The initial plan was for us to build the system and programme the solutions at home, then ship the components to Dubai ready to install, followed by a team of three who would begin installation and commission once permitted. But with restrictions in place longer than anyone anticipated, we were forced to adapt.
Becoming KNX tutors, we had regular zoom meetings and kept in constant contact with the electrical team on site, provided schematics for the KNX cabling, wrote the whole ETS file, and supervised the installation remotely. In spite of this, we feel confident that we exceeded our clients’ high expectations. In his own words he was ‘over the moon with the install. Even the children find it easy to use.’
Unique Challenges at Admaja, Dubai
Ultimately, what stands out about the Admaja project is that it pushes the limits of what can be achieved with KNX solution in terms of form without sacrificing function. The overriding priority of the project was the absolute premium the client placed on aesthetics and design- but there were similarly high expectations regarding technological capability and ease of use. Further, there were a series of unique demands relating to the project’s location, including the climatic conditions and the inclusion of staff quarters within the property.
The installation we delivered exceeded all of these expectations and the project was executed with the highest degree of efficiency despite the unique challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. We produced a finished product that we feel is an exemplar of the possibilities of KNX technologies in terms of sophisticated integrated smart home design, turning the many obstacles in our way into opportunities for installation innovation.
KNX offered the best, indeed the only, solution for the Admaja project for a number of interrelated reasons. Chiefly, it was the only solution which could provide a high-end, holistic system incorporating the varied and extensive features the client expected – lighting, cooling, window treatments, security, intercom and music- within their demanding criteria for design, where style was sacrosanct.
The property’s sleek interior was so clean and concise that no wall clutter could be accepted. KNX enabled us to install just one keypad per room to control the whole system. Specifically the Basalte Sentido keypad, with its integrated temperature sensor and thermostat logic, allowed even the KNX programmed cooling system to be controlled from a single keypad.
A Lutron system, as had been the clients’ initial choice, would have required separate temperature probes in each room, thereby creating significant wall clutter. The importance of user friendly, accessible cooling was paramount for the project given the searing daily temperatures in Dubai. KNX technology enabled us to achieve this in line with aesthetic demands.
Finally, the sheer scale of the 25,000 sq ft property necessitated a KNX system: in terms of both processing power and the number of modules and keypads required. The solution explored at the outset of the project would have required multiple processors to reliably serve the entire complex. KNX technology was therefore crucial for the smart system to meet the rigorous demands stemming from a combination of the vast scale of the property, the customers’ high expectations of style and substance, and the specific challenges of the local climate.
Functionality and Products at Admaja, Dubai
An ambitious range of services were realised by the all-encompassing KNX system we installed, and a carefully curated selection of KNX products provided functionality and flourishes within every control application.
The clients’ lifelong passion for music put a high performance AV and media system at the top of the agenda. KNX allowed us to control this all on the same system, along with the home cinema solution, using the Basalte Core server. Four Asano amplifiers were paired with Focal speakers to generate the highest quality multi-room sound without compromising on style. The clients’ extensive music library was made accessible throughout the property via the Basalte Ellie keypad. The very same keypad was recruited to meet the significant security considerations of a property this value and size: the touchscreens being interfaced with the alarm system and used for the sight of the CCTV.
Throughout the installation a premium was placed on interfering minimally with the design of the property, so it was key to command as much of the smart system as possible from a single, stylish keypad per room. The Basalte Sentido with its in-built temperature probes was used to meet the HVAC demands of the desert climate, in light of which window treatments were similarly crucial. These were incorporated into the room scenes, which were programmed to change according to the time of day, so the client may walk into the same room, press the same button and see a different result at a different time. Once again, all controlled from the same single keypad.
A benefit specific to this unique project stems from the interoperability of KNX technologies. By using the lower spec Gira keypads in the staff quarters we were able to streamline costs but retain vital access control functions within this substantial section of the property. Gira’s S1 server also proved crucial in delivering the project in spite of COVID-19 travel constraints, giving us secure remote access to the site so we could supervise and oversee the installation in real time. Similarly, the Basalte Live allowed us to programme the Basalte server remotely and access the Basalte user interface at the same time as the client. As such, KNX products were vital to realise the clients’ luxury vision, and even enabled the delivery of the project in spite of travel restrictions.
Winner of the KNX UK 2021 Residential Installation of the Year Award
We are proud to have picked up the KNX UK Residential Installation of the Year Award at the KNX UK annual conference.“The key thing that made this the stand out project is the fact it was done completely remotely “ Iain Gordon, Vice President of KNX UK presented the award to our Founder Luke Newland (using virtual video conferencing magic of course).
“A testament to your abilities as a company and a testament to KNX that remote installations like this are possible”.