TECHNOLOGY FIT FOR A PALAZZO:
Think ‘Palazzo’ and what comes to mind?
A palace fit for an emperor; a palatial
mansion where luxury is a given, and
where every possible convenience is only
a finger-touch away.
Palazzo Steyn, on William Nicol Drive, is just that
and more. It’s the home of insurance tycoon
Douw Steyn, and the first house in Steyn City,
the multibillion rand development that is set to
become one of the largest and most exclusive
gated estates in Southern Africa.
Douw Steyn also owns The Saxon, an exclusive
boutique hotel in Johannesburg. In 2010
Panavision Evolve automated audio-visual (AV),
lighting, and climate control throughout the
hotel. This they successfully accomplished using
Crestron products, and PROMAG magazine
featured the Saxon AV installation as the cover
article in 2010 (fourth quarter).
When it came to the job of automating Palazzo
Steyn with state-of-the-art technology,
Panavision Evolve were the obvious choice.
Jaco Potgieter was the system designer on the
project, and he was backed up by Panavision
Evolve’s Colin Sachs (Programmer) and
Nicholaas Potgieter (Install Team Leader), as
well as Stephen Falke (Interior Designer), and
Rupert Denoon (Crestron Regional Manager).
For Jaco, and his team, this was the perfect
opportunity to “show off the power and
flexibility of Crestron.”
Their brief as integrators for the 3 000m²
property, which is on a 2.5ha stand, included
lighting control, climate control, AV, and the
control of Roman-style aqueducts that encircle
The lighting system comprises around 270
circuits, serving a vast array of lights, including:
crystal chandeliers, picture lights, and LED down
lights. Keypads were specially fitted with brass
cover plates, to match the décor of the house.
Touch-screens offer slider control, with pressand-hold user pre-sets, and Crestron’s new
smart graphics ensure a fresh and appealing
design. Motion sensors, installed in various
areas, save energy and simplify control.
When the African heat becomes too much for
guests, or they are surprised by the evening
Highveld chill, they can turn to the closest
Crestron touch screen for climate control.
Because it’s a big house, the system needs to
be powerful enough to handle the complexities
of creating different climates in myriad rooms.
The Panavision Evolve team installed a 3-Core
processor which, thanks to Crestron’s builtin Bacnet integration, provides seamless and
Excessive comfort can give rise to boredom;
should this happen guests can, at a touch,
activate the AV system. The sheer scale of the
Palazzo Steyn AV system demanded a beast of
a switcher - capable of ultra-fast digital video/
audio switching, and lossless HD multi-room
signal distribution for all types of AV sources.
Jaco chose the Crestron 32x32 DigitalMedia
matrix switcher, knowing it has the required
roar for such a big and complex project. The
size of the home also necessitated a multi-
12 PROMAG – first quarter 2014
Crestron's UFO Waterproof Wireless
mode fibre-based system. The Adagio 42-zone
background music system ensures that music
reaches the various entertainment areas: wine
cellar, bar, lounges, drawing room, dining areas,
patios, gyms, spa and pool. It even reaches the
bathrooms, which have been equipped with
motion sensors in order to set the right mood
for ablutions: Lights! Music!
For those seeking a big-screen thrill there are
two cinemas, and both boast the ultimate in
surround sound: Crestron’s PROCISE™ range. It’s
as good as being at the movies.
But Palazzo Steyn is not all about transient
pleasures; the Roman style aqueducts
encircling the home offer the tranquil delights
of flowing water. Crestron gives users control of
a large system that pumps the water into a dam,
creating a breath-taking waterfall.
The Steyns, together with Panavision Evolve
and Crestron, have created a Palazzo fit even
for the most demanding Roman emperor,
and certainly fit for even the most discerning
overseas guests. As Steyn, the proudly South
African founder of Auto & General, said, "My
wife and I are looking forward to entertaining
our friends and business partners from all over
the world at our new residence, while also
exposing them to our magnificent country."
Friends and partners of the Steyns will also be
looking forward to their stay at the Palazzo,
where, thanks to the excellent planning and
hard work of the Panavision Evolve team, they
can expect five star service and entertainment.