Case Study

Shipshape sound

Finding the right base


Creating this new addition to London’s premium events scene has been an adventure 20 years in the making. Wood’s Quay is an extraordinary new building moored on the Thames offering everything from a Michelin standard Tasting Room and a spectacular bar to 140m of private river moorings (the longest in central London). Underpinning all of this and unseen by guests is an AV installation that has delivered the technology required to make sure every event goes off without a hitch.

Woods’ Silver Fleet, the owners of Wood’s Quay, have been a fixture on the River Thames for generations. The company had been searching for a permanent home for its fleet of river yachts in central London for around 20 years. The opportunity to create this base came with the purchase of an old pub boat, The Queen Mary, located just 100 yards from their temporary base at the Savoy Pier. When The Queen Mary was floated away, it revealed a remarkable piece of London’s history.

“Underneath that there was an original Victorian steamship pier,” recalls Kate Woods, Design & Development Director Woods’ Silver Fleet. “It hadn’t been used for 100 years; it was built when Sir Joseph Bazalgette designed Victoria Embankment. It was created for steam ships to ferry people up and down the Thames.”

Going above and beyond


While the pier was understandably in need of some TLC, this discovery presented Silver Fleet with an exciting opportunity. “We got rid of everything, all the stuff that had built up over the years and we put in exactly the same walkway down that there would have been when the Embankment was first built,” explains Woods. “Then we designed this very sleek new pavilion which has gone into its place exactly in the same spot.”

The pavilion was designed with two enclosed wings either side of central area that is open to the river. To the east side, right beside Waterloo Bridge there is a Michelin-level tasting kitchen, while the bar and lounge takes pride of place to the west side.

With Silver Fleet used to delivering a premium experience to its guests while on the Thames, it wanted to ensure this would be extended right to the very moment they set foot upon Wood’s Quay. As such, they decided to enlist the audiovisual experts at Flipside to create a system that would bring out the best in the pavilion as an events space.

“When we first heard about the pavilion project, we knew it was the kind of unique venue that could really benefit from our expertise,” recalls Flipside Managing Director, James Cooper. “We understood exactly what they wanted to achieve with Wood’s Quay and how we could deliver something above and beyond their expectations.”

“Because we were investing a lot in the architecture of the pier, we wanted the AV system to be well-powered and well thought out but also discreet and not affecting the lines of the structure,” adds Woods. “We wanted it to be powerful but discreet and obviously very sharp and high-level because it’s the luxury market that we’re working in and we needed to match people’s expectations.”

Quality delivery


To meet this specific brief, Flipside designed a solution that could give a premium sound yet disappear into the background. “We’ve worked extensively with Yamaha equipment over the years, and we knew they would have the right solutions for the pavilion,” explains Cooper. “With the premium look of their speakers, combined with the powerful amplification and processing offered from their electronics we were able to build the right backbone for the system. We were then able to add in specific solutions from brands such as Apart, Outline and Sennheiser to complete the package.”

The entrance area is covered by Yamaha’s VXC6 ceiling speakers with the same solution used for the tasting area in combination with Apart’s CM20DT. Over in the bar it is the VXS8 and VXS5 surface-mount speakers supported but the VXS10S sub providing the reinforcement. Additional Apart ceiling speakers and a removable Outline Eidos 108 S subwoofer complete the bar solution. Processing is courtesy of a Yamaha MTX5-D matrix while power is via the manufacturer’s XMV family amplifiers. Completing the signal chain are a Sennheiser EW300 G4 wireless microphone set for announcements a Yamaha PGM1 paging mic and an Apart PCR3000RMKIII media player which all serve as sources for the system. Simple control for the end user was another important factor with Yamaha MCP1 and DVP1V4S control panels providing access to the core settings.

“The acoustics in the pavilion are actually pretty good,” says Cooper. “The straw roof which the speakers are installed into provides plenty of absorption, so it was easy to create a controlled, uniform sound throughout the venue.”

The AV system was installed as part of the pavilion fit out project at Tilbury Docks before being moved to its permanent home. And with the doors now open, the Silver Fleet team are very happy with what the Flipside-installed solution offers them. “Traditionally there is so much equipment that needs to be hired in for an event, so it’s really nice to try and reduce the amount that our clients need to book on top of the money they are already spending with the venue,” reflects Woods.

“Everything seems to be working really well and we’re very pleased with it,” she continues. “There is a lovely little architectural feature where you press a button on the oak panelling and you’ve got all the AV connectors behind that. You can just literally push a DJ booth up to it and have it there without affecting the aesthetics the rest of the time.”

Kit List 

  • Yamaha MTX5D processing
  • Yamaha VXC ceiling speakers
  • Yamaha VXS8, VXS5 and VXS10ST speakers for bar
  • Yamaha MCP1 control panels
  • Sennheiser G3 wireless mics