Finding the perfect piece of AV furniture can be tricky business. For one, you have to make sure you have enough shelving, and that the shelving is spaced correctly, with enough height and width to accommodate your various-sized components. Next, you have to worry about ventilation and, if you are using it for speakers, acoustic transparency. Wire management is also important, as is minimizing errant vibrations. On top of that, there is the little matter of aesthetics that can make or break the deal.
You could hire a cabinetmaker to create the ultimate show-stopping entertainment center. But that can be prohibitively expensive and the average carpenter doesn’t necessarily know everything that goes into creating a “correct” piece of AV equipment. You could scour the estate sales for the perfect midcentury piece to go with your swell living room, only to find you’ll need to drill holes in the back and your gear might overheat for lack of air circulation. Buy a piece of AV equipment ‘off the shelf’ and find out later that it’s too big, too small, too dark, too light, etc.
To get a piece of equipment that is, as Goldilocks would say, ‘just right’, Salamander Designs Design-Your-Own (DYO) furniture allows you to build your own modular design. While DYO has been out for some time, the company just showed it at Integrated Systems Europe in Amsterdam, which reminded me how cool it is. You can choose from a variety of Salamander’s popular solutions, including modular cabinets in all manner of shapes and sizes. You can choose various cabinet and doors, finishes, etc. Play with it to your heart’s content and watch as the price calculator adjusts.
My own creation is pictured above, featuring a Walnut finish, side doors with acoustic fabric on them in case I want to use the cabinets to hide bookshelf speakers, lower doors with frosted glass, aluminum posts, and a nice open spot for a sound bar that I want to show off. The cost of this particular piece is $3,647, which you can see in the upper right-hand corner as you play around with the configurator.
Looking for theater seating? Any custom integrator will tell you that having a configurator like this is a bonus. Figuring out how many seats will fit in a room and whether or not you have the space for features like cup holders, recliners, and armrests can be a bit of a headache. For seating, you can choose from Salamander’s Matteo, Alex, or Talia models. I chose the Alex for its modern lines and because the backs are lower, allowing for unobstructed audio. Once you enter your room size, you can choose from several different arrays, including single chairs, love seats, and other arrangements. You can also play with colors. Again, the running total appears in the top right-hand corner. I chose a basic curved array, all with aluminum cup holders. I haven’t picked a color yet, but you can see I have a lot of options, and can even pick my own fabric as part of the quote. For these seven chairs, I’m looking at around $20K. Add tactile transducers for $139 per seat.
To design your own cool stuff, go to www.salamanderdesigns.com/dyo/designyourown. After you come up with a creation you like, just save it and/or print it out and bring it to an authorized Salamander reseller–you’ll get a five-digit code for easy reference. If you make a change, you’ll get a new code, so make sure to bring in the most recent one.
Look for updates to Salamander’s furniture configurators in early to mid-2000, including a mobile platform for your on-the-fly furniture and seating needs.