The Baccarat hotel in Manhattan was built from the ground up, and automation design experts from Mode:Green were involved from the starting point to oversee the design and integration of all of the technology in the hotel. Mode:Green was chosen as the integrator because of the complexity of the project, and its experience in the luxury hotel market. The company coordinated the technology from the beginning of the design process and through the end of construction.
The Baccarat was a unique challenge for a number of reasons, including the sheer amount of technology that the hotel wanted to connect, the clientele’s expectations, and the intertwined elements of the project. “A single king room has 23 lighting loads, where a room in a normal hotel would have four or five,” said Mode:Green President Bill Lally. “The Baccarat has 17,000 devices in each room, making it tremendously different than other hotels. First, because of the amount of technology in the room and the expectation of the guests.”
Mode:Green Project Manager Tyler Glass was on-site daily to serve as a liaison between the architect, designer, electrician, general contractor, and lighting designer. “We played a little bit of a consulting role there, always attending project management meetings since the whole install involved a lot of coordination between the different trades: electricians, carpenters, designers, etc. We were there to make sure it all went together,” said Glass.
When it came to planning the technology for the hotel, Mode:Green focused on providing an exemplary experience that was simple to operate for both the guests and hotel management. The company supported the ownership’s perspective in looking toward the big picture of how all of the aspects of design and technology would work together.
Mode:Green designed the systems for the main parts of the building, and the massive amount of technology in each room, where the team also had to problem-solve and redesign aspects on the spot, as building conditions affected the original design during construction. “They give us free range to do what’s best, and we veered from the original design,” Glass noted. “We got involved with looking at different systems that were going into the building and were able to make suggestions for how it can tie together as one streamlined solution.”
Installation and On-Site Support
Aside from designing the system, Mode:Green also programmed and integrated the technology. Drawing on its industry knowledge and experience in other hotels, Mode:Green introduced aspects that the Baccarat hadn’t initially planned, including control over the entire system and all 160 rooms from a single iPad with a custom interface. “A unique feature of the Baccarat is that everything from the in-pool speakers, lighting, spa, lobby, and 28 music zones can be controlled from a single iPad,” said Lally.
Delays in construction are expected, but Mode:Green prevented them on the technology side by assembling and programming it before bringing it onsite. The company also individually tested each room before approving it at the end of construction. “Technology is the last thing to go in. In a typical guestroom we’ll add technology and test it,” explained Lally. “We only sign off on the room when everything goes right, the design and technology combined.”
Upon entering the hotel, guests are met with an audio and lighting experience that enhances the atmosphere without hindering the décor. As they make their way to their room, a hall light will automatically illuminate the doorway, and automatically deactivate a few seconds after the guest enters the room. Each guestroom can be controlled through a customized keypad that can be set to a “Do Not Disturb” mode, which shows a red light outside the door when activated to notify hotel staff. Lighting scenes by interior and lighting designers can also be activated by a smartphone that comes with the room. Guests can also order room service and control automated shades, the music, and the TV that’s hidden behind a mirror with the device.
Mode:Green has created an ecosystem for automation. The hotel staff can control every device in the hotel, but the system is smart on its own. “Lighting scenes run on timed events and can change color, and there’s a conference room with projection system,” Lally explained. “It’s an all-in-one single user interface—all of the devices are on one common network.”
The technology that was added in the final stages of construction is where the big picture came together. Each designer, architect, electrician, and contractor had a vision for a piece of the hotel, and Mode:Green combined them all to create a high-end, easy-to-use system that can match the Baccarat’s luxurious reputation.