Installed Audio

Sami Hedberg goes for gold with Genelec for Helsinki’s Bank 55

Bank 55 in Helsinki district of Lauttasaari is the brainchild of Finnish stand-up comedian and actor, Sami Hedberg, who recently had custom painted gold Genelec 4000 series loudspeakers installed into his new venture.

Formerly a bank that was first inaugurated in 1955 – hence the name – today Bank 55 is a sauna and lounge dedicated to private events of all types, from conferences and meetings to corporate get-togethers or simply private parties with friends and family.

"I’d been dreaming of opening an event space for some time, but I needed to find the right venue – and that takes time," confides Hedberg.

"I finally came across the old bank premises in Lauttasaari which I loved. I bought it in 2016 and have been renovating it bit by bit, all to my own design, ever since." Bank 55 can host up to 60 people at any one time across two floors, either as a single group or several smaller gatherings.

Hedberg contacted Genelec, which conducted a site visit with Helsinki-based entertainment electronics experts Haloradio to assess the scope of the project.

"I had my own ideas, but Genelec actually came up with lots of interesting suggestions of their own as they really liked the space," recalls Hedberg. "In fact, it was partly their idea to paint the loudspeakers gold! I was asking about colours generally, and because I have gold in the logo design, they mentioned they’d produced some gold loudspeakers for a restaurant in Sweden. I asked if it had been done in Finland and the answer was no – but now it’s yes, and they look amazing.

"I see Bank 55 as an extremely high quality venue with lots of beautiful visual elements," continues Hedberg.

"It was important to me that the audio solution matched the quality at every level – both sonically and visually – and that’s exactly where Genelec shines. It was also really important to me that we use a Finnish brand."

Niko Tynnilä, owner of Haloradio agrees: "Genelec is a natural choice when high quality sound is required – a Finnish brand with an excellent reputation. Our first priority was sound quality, so no problems on that score. Our second priority was ease of use, as we needed to cater for a majority of users who may only use the systems once for their special event. We opted for a Heos by Denon multi room system which allows different zones to be grouped together or separated as required, which is extremely flexible – and customers can stream from pretty much any source they like – tablets, smartphones, USB sticks or any other external device. Control is also very easy via the Heos app."

Tynnilä also notes the ease of deployment from an integrator’s point of view. "Genelec is an ideal choice for installation projects," he declares.

"Thanks to their active design, we don’t have to worry about housing or cabling external amplifiers – which saves time, space and even cost. The connectors are designed for easy installation, there are lots of mounting accessories to choose from, and if you want to customise your installation as Sami [Hedberg] did, there are 120 RAL colours to choose from."

Haloradio installed a total of 10 4030 loudspeakers, principally in pairs next to the large TV screens in the two downstairs lounge areas and the ‘office’ area upstairs – which offers dining and seating for up to 50 people with its own kitchen, bar and even a wine room that doubles as an exclusive conference area.

Four of the 4040 models – one pair upstairs and a second pair downstairs – provide sound reinforcement across the whole area, for a more party-like atmosphere once the day’s work is done.

Hedberg is delighted with the final result. "It’s even more than I hoped for," he enthuses. "The look, the sound – everything. The upstairs space works perfectly with downstairs, the systems work really well with the TVs and we can zone everything exactly as we please. The customers find it easy to operate, so frankly, I’m thrilled."

Tynnilä is equally pleased. "This is something of a flagship project for us and we’re delighted it’s gone so well – the collaboration between Sami, Genelec and Haloradio has worked extremely well, and the results speak for themselves. Bank 55 is an absolutely unique place and I have no doubt it will be a huge success."