Michelin Guide bistro offers a slice of Genelec
Wednesday, 25 October 2023
villaheftyeVilla Heftye opts for an atmospheric soundscape with the aid of Genelec’s 4000 series
Norway - When dining at a Michelin Guide restaurant, the focus isn’t usually on the audio - more often everyone’s eyes are focused on the plates of well-crafted food. However, Villa Heftye - a laid-back bistro in the heart of Oslo - recently took the focus away from revamping its ever-changing seasonal menu to renovate its listed restaurant with a custom Genelec sound system.
Villa Heftye began life as a bank back in 1864. Commissioned by Jorgen Haslev Heftye and designed by Norwegian architect Georg Andreas Bull, it was bought in 2018 by local investor Runar Vatne for NOK 80 million. In 2021 the villa became restaurant Villa Heftye, an elegant yet casual bistro with an emphasis on French-inspired cuisine that uses seasonal Nordic ingredients.
"The brief was to build an audio system with the best possible sound," begins Henning Dyngvold, founder of Appletify who installed the new Genelec system. "The loudspeakers had to look good and complement the design of the restaurant. Villa Heftye is located in a listed building and is also in the Michelin Guide, so the system that we installed had to maintain this high quality. It had to be Genelec."
The system comprises 16 Genelec 4020 installation loudspeakers, along with eight of the larger 4030 models, two powerful 4040 models and two AIW26 active in-wall loudspeakers. This was the combination needed to ensure Villa Heftye could accommodate live performances, while also offering an ambient background soundtrack for diners. "The 4020s were chosen for their compact size and the 4030s and 4040s for their powerful performance at a high event volume. All of this together has given Villa Heftye a crystal-clear audio atmosphere," says Dyngvold.
Genelec’s 4000 series offers premium performance, a choice of 120 RAL colours and round-the-clock reliability, says the manufacturer. “The 4020 is compact and can squeeze into any installation, whereas the 4030 is the natural choice for small- to medium-sized commercial installations. The largest of the family, the 4040 is designed for environments which require higher playback levels.”
Dyngvold continues: "Since the building is listed, we had to take extra care where we were physically placing the loudspeakers. The 4000 series was the perfect choice because the loudspeakers are available in different sizes and custom colours - and there is also a wide range of mounting accessories - which meant we could place them discreetly in the restaurant, without affecting the overall sound. As they’re active designs, they’re also incredibly easy to look after and control. You don’t have to find room for external amplifiers, which is especially important in a building like Villa Heftye where aesthetics are important and space is at a premium."
Villa Heftye is split into four main rooms. The first three are each equipped with four 4020s and the fourth has four 4030s plus two AIW26 in-wall loudspeakers. Control comes from an Allen & Heath AHM 64 audio matrix processor. "Villa Heftye wanted a sound that felt relaxing for their customers," explains Dyngvold. "The AIW26 active in-wall speakers were intended to be used together with the 4030s when there is an artist playing live. In fact, the restaurant now leaves them on all of the time because it gives the background music a warm feeling and improves directivity, making the sound more precise - both at low volume and at event level."
The walls of Villa Heftye are covered with a rich red fabric which improves the sound and style of the system and adds to the restaurant’s aesthetics. The fabric reduces the sound reflections in the room, resulting in a smooth, ambient atmosphere in which the music is clear without overpowering dinner table conversation.
Dyngvold concludes: "It sounds amazing and it’s all thanks to Genelec’s excellent product range. We were able to meet the client’s needs thanks to the quality and versatility of the brand. The restaurant has some of the most talented local chefs, and now its Nordic neighbour Genelec has added to the quality that people have come to expect from the Michelin Guide bistro."

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