A redesign of Aqua, a 17,000-square-foot dining and entertainment space on the top floor of the former Dickins & Jones department store at Oxford Circus, includes upgraded sound reinforcement headed by a variety of Martin Audio loudspeakers.
The venue, comprised of sushi and contemporary Spanish restaurants, a large central bar and balcony/terrace bar, was opened more than a decade ago by Hong Kong-based Aqua Restaurant Group. Having carried out maintenance work there previously, Evolve Install, under the direction partners Elliot Patterson and Robert Stemson, began talks with the management last April/May where the decision was taken to keep the sound system under the Martin Audio umbrella.
Patterson recalls that the venue previously distributed its sound through Martin Audio’s Wavefront Theatre WTUB under balcony loudspeakers and former AQ architectural range, which had served a long duty cycle.
“While the under balcony loudspeakers were fine and still worked well, the client wanted a fresher look and more modern speaker,” Patterson explains. “The venue also had two AQ210 [subwoofers] originally, but one disappeared because of positioning problems, and the remaining one was never sufficient for the size of the room.”
With the redistribution of the space — and removal of the sushi workstation — Elliot’s team had the chance to be creative. They also focused heavily on the terrace area with the aim of uprating the sound system outside for a deeper, warmer sound. This was delivered by specifying four CDD6-WR (weatherized) loudspeakers outside, bolted onto a beam, with an SX210 (dual 10-inch) sub placed in the corner.
In the Kyoto bar area, Evolve specified four of the more powerful CDD10, fixed to the ceiling, along with a pair of CSX212 (dual 12-inch) subs. In the general restaurant area, the nine pre-existing Martin Audio C8.1T ceiling loudspeakers have been reconditioned and freshly painted to match the décor.
While most of the back-end control and zoners remain the same, the amplifiers have been upgraded, while 8-Track Music continues to curate and supply the music playlists based on customer profiling. “While both spaces have their own independent players, we have linked the two rooms together so you can switch between sources. Music throughout is generally background but we have also provided DJ input points both inside and out,” Patterson concludes. “It’s a complete new look for Aqua and during the evening in particular, the sound really comes alive.”