A range of Coda Loudspeakers were the choice at Alan Yau's glamorous new London dinner and dance hotspot. Alan Yau is the restaurateur behind Wagamama, Hakkasan and other London dining institutions. His latest and most ambitious project to date is to be found in the form of a glamorous dinner venue in the heart of Mayfair.
As an elite professional in the music industry, his views on the audio systems at Park Chinois are illuminating:
“ The Coda Audio systems at Park Chinois were the perfect choice for the venue; following a comprehensive cost, performance and application comparison, the Coda solution shone through every time. The sonic clarity expressed across a wide range of musical styles never fails to impress - from the delicate tones of a single mic’d harp player to a full scale production from a major recording / touring artist followed by a decibel challenging DJ set, these units can be relied on to deliver every time. "
To call Park Chinois simply ‘a restaurant’ would be to rather understate Yau’s vision of a renaissance in old school values. Across two floors covering 15,000 sq ft, this opulent celebration of food, design, architecture and music is more the expression of a lifestyle than a mere eatery. In creating a substantial venue, where on one floor the evening’s diners will be entertained by a singer and pianist and on another by a seven piece band, the emphasis is on grace, charm and elegance. A tireless attention to detail and an emphasis on quality is a clearly a feature of Alan’s modus operandi at Park Chinois. There is a rationale behind every choice in the development of his ventures and since music sits very much at the heart of the Park Chinois experience, it stood to reason that his team would demand the very best audio provision.
In a visually sumptuous, carefully-crafted space such as this, the challenges faced by an audio integrator would be acute. The task fell to Twickenham-based installer Viba Sound who were invited by Alan’s sound consultant, Mickey Boyle (himself a sound-system legend) to draw up plans. Viba Sound had previously carried out works at two of Alan’s other impressive London developments, The Duck and Rice on Berwick Street and Babaji on Shaftesbury Avenue. Common to both of those venues was the choice of Coda loudspeakers. 10 Coda K4 speakers were used across three floors at Babaji and 18 x K4s and 4 x PW 112 subwoofers were installed on two floors at Duck and Rice. At Park Chinois, the demands for high quality sound reinforcement, aesthetic perfection and flexibility would characterise a tough brief. The range of entertainment to be offered in the different spaces would demand a range of loudspeaker sizes and characteristics. As well as two live music stages, DJs would also play a prominent role at the venue. Peter Kellet of Viba Sound presented proposals to Alan’s team that included a range of brand options. Following the well received installations at Babaji and Duck and Rice, Coda loudspeakers featured prominently in that list. Reaction to another Viba Sound installation of Coda speakers at the prestigious Raffles Club had underlined for Peter that the brand offered powerful credentials
Soon after Viba Sound submitted its proposals, Alan Yau, Peter Kellet and Mickey Boyle boarded a plane to Germany, bound for Coda’s factory in Hannover. Also on board was a crucial member of Alan’s team, art and brand director Moses Kisubika. Moses has filled this role on all of Alan’s projects for more than 20 years and his presence ensured that close attention was paid to the aesthetic aspects of the design. The visitors were given access to the company’s state-of-the-art demonstration facility where they experienced the full range of what was on offer. The demo areas catered for both large and more intimate spaces and left the Park Chinois team in no doubt whatsoever that their journey had been worthwhile. The decision to use Coda speakers was taken there and then.
Peter Kellet of Viba Sound takes up the story:
“When everything was taken into account the Coda range offered the best fit for every aspect of the brief. The entertainment on offer would vary from solo artists, through a live band to DJ sessions, all of which would place different demands on the systems. The emphasis on audio quality couldn’t be compromised but neither could the lavish interiors at Park Chinois, so just as it was imperative that the sound quality and coverage were spot on, it was equally important that the aesthetic of each room was unaffected by what was installed. The job was technically quite complex, there were acoustic challenges to overcome and we had to work around the sometimes fluid requirements of architects and designers, amending things as we went. Of course this made things tricky at times but we were confident that with each twist and turn, the Coda choices that we’d made would provide solutions that were a perfect physical and audio fit. That certainly proved to be the case – Alan and his team are delighted with the results and consider the Coda systems an extremely worthwhile investment.”
More than 40 Coda speakers were used across the two floors at Park Chinois, including more than 30 ultra compact 2-way versatile K4 models, zonally controllable, for general sound reinforcement throughout the venue. The two stages on the ground floor and in the basement area were catered for with different systems, specifically chosen to best suit the nature of the performances and the required ambience. The ground floor stage (primarily for piano/solo singers/DJs) was equipped with 2 x stage-mounted G15 subs, above which 2 x CoRay4 ultra compact 2-way line source column speakers were discreetly mounted on pillars. This combination offered a relaxed clarity for diners during service without losing anything in the way of ‘throw’ during live performances. Opposite the stage at the rear of the dance-floor 2 x G308 full range 2-way speakers were chosen as dance-floor fills. Downstairs, the brief demanded more of a ‘club’ environment and there was greater soundproofing, allowing for higher SPL. Here 2 larger G18 subs were employed for the basement stage (for a seven piece band and DJs) along with with 2 ceiling-mounted D20 3-way point source speakers as front fills. Another pair of D20s was used as rear dance-floor fills. These truly full-range speakers offer fantastic bass response and perfectly met the client’s requirement for a ‘club’ feel.
The Musical director at Park Chinois is highly respected writer, producer and consultant Matt Rowe. Matt has a rich history in the music industry, having worked with and played a significant part in the success of many multi-million selling acts from The Spice Girls to Amy Winehouse. His creative input at Park Chinois is another clear indication of how important customer experience is to the venue. As an elite professional in the music industry, his views on the audio systems at Park Chinois are illuminating:
“ The Coda Audio systems at Park Chinois were the perfect choice for the venue; following a comprehensive cost, performance and application comparison, the Coda solution shone through every time. The sonic clarity expressed across a wide range of musical styles never fails to impress – from the delicate tones of a single mic’d harp player to a full scale production from a major recording / touring artist followed by a decibel challenging DJ set, these units can be relied on to deliver every time. ”
The Independent restaurant critic recently described the Park Chinois experience as “Gracious, theatrical, preposterous, memorable – it’s a special-occasion indulgence like no other. Fabulous, indeed!” Coda Audio is delighted to have played its part in helping to bring to life Alan Yau’s vision for this truly spectacular venue.