Part of a new terminal extension at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, “Aukio” (Finnish for “square” or “plaza”) is a space designed for travelers to immerse themselves in the sights and sounds of Finland’s landscape, presenting a multichannel soundtrack reproduced by 27 self-powered Meyer Sound loudspeakers.
Aukio is surrounded by a 2-meter-high Samsung 4K video screen — wrapping for 75 meters around the perimeter walls — that displays Finland’s outdoor scenery cycling through the four seasons. According to Joni Sundelin, director of Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, the goal of the project was to “create a showcase through which millions of international passengers will receive their first contact with Finland. The experience of Finnish design, fluency and peaceful nature will leave the traveler with a long-lasting, pleasant memory.”
Quality audio was critical in achieving this goal, principally because short of inserting earplugs, travelers cannot shut out sounds. Therefore, the audio program had to be clearly present and fully supportive of the visuals without being annoying or intrusive. The audio, video and lighting technology package was designed and engineered by Studiotec of nearby Espoo, Finland under the general direction of managing director John-Axel Stråhlman with project management by system specialist Kai Granholm.
“We evaluated options from two other leading loudspeaker manufacturers but in the end we determined Meyer Sound offered the best overall solution,” says Granholm. “Their loudspeakers provide excellent natural sound quality, a wide choice of sizes and a range of rigging options that allowed precise placement and orientation.”
The Meyer Sound complement comprises 16 UPJunior and 10 UP-4XP loudspeakers with low-frequency extension from a single X-400C cinema subwoofer. The UP-4XP loudspeakers incorporate Meyer Sound’s IntelligentDC technology, designed to provide balanced audio signals and 48-volt DC power for the amplifiers supplied from a remote rack mount unit over a single flexible cable.
“The sound of the system naturally supports the effect of the wide, 360-degree panoramic view,” notes Granholm. “The design emphasis is on the natural beauty of Finland, including some very subtle but remarkable natural sounds. For instance, many people are surprised that the Aurora Borealis [Northern Lights] creates audible sound, usually described as crackle, sputter or hissing. The effect on all sounds is remarkable, and overall the airport management has been very pleased with the Meyer Sound system.”
In addition to the Samsung wrap-around screen and Meyer Sound loudspeakers, the complete AVL technology package also includes nine Christie video projectors, a Christie Pandora’s Box media server, and BrightSign media players.
Chief designer for the terminal extension was PES-Architects, with video display designed by Davidson Tarkela Architects in collaboration with Rune & Berg Design. OiOi Collective and Granlund Oy provided concept development and implementation of the presentation content. Tuusmet Ltd. and Visual Element Ltd. partnered with Studiotec on the display installation.