Travel, Food, Creativity and Genelec Create the Perfect Combo at Italian Hostels

Combo’s modern approach to hostelling has materialised into an ambitious architectural and urban redevelopment project that has already opened its doors in Venice, Milan and Turin and is scheduled to extend to other Italian cities very soon. Here, travelers are greeted by airy common spaces, a trendy bar and eatery, and relaxed workspaces with free wi-fi, as well as several dedicated event, exposition and meeting spaces. There is also music throughout most of the common areas, thanks to a Genelec sound system. This is Combo, a meeting point for contemporary globetrotters, or indeed anyone that just fancies dropping in.

Far more than the hostels of old, Combo bills itself as a cultural hub for citizens of the world, combining hospitality with music. The hostels in Turin and Milan boast their own radio booths, which broadcast full time in the hostels and online, and all sites offer rooms equipped with AV technology to host talks, screenings, live sets, listening sessions, art workshops and more. The AV systems across all three sites were conceived by Italian AV specialists ADVICTED and supplied by local Genelec AV distributor Prase Engineering.

Combo’s reception, restaurant, bar and public areas all boast a Genelec sound system based on the ubiquitous 4000 Series installation loudspeakers. These active loudspeakers were specifically requested by ADVICTED founder Salvatore Brigaglia for their combination of clean Nordic design and characteristic crystal-clear sound, and welcomed by architect Ole Sondresen – whose designs are focused on an all-encompassing, holistic approach to sustainable building. In order to give the musical soul of Combo’s philosophy an eye-catching visual form, dozens of 4030 and 4040 loudspeakers were chosen in black, whilst a number of smaller 4020s were selected in white.

“Genelec was an all-around quality choice,” says Salvatore Brigaglia. “The surprisingly clean and minimalist design, combined with solid construction and impeccable audio performance, enhances the interior design choices and translates the Combo philosophy into sound. Moreover, choosing an active speaker translates into significant cost savings and optimization of the space in the technical rooms. These are crucial aspects in a project designed to be replicated in several locations.”

Across the three sites, ADVICTED utilized a total of 23 compact 4020s, 55 4030s and 41 of the powerful 4040 loudspeakers, all on a dedicated Dante network infrastructure built on X440-G2 Extreme Networks switches and a Biamp Tesira SERVER equipped with a Dante card. Genelec speakers serve all of the conference and multi-purpose event rooms, which are equipped with state-of-the-art AV presentation technology. They also serve as monitors in the radio booths in Turin and Milan, where Combo’s playlist is developed every day by the radio web team and tailored to the time, mood and events of the day.

“The entire Combo audio system is on the Dante network,” clarifies Luigi Schiavone, Combo Project Manager for Prase Media Technologies. “The result is a building capable of continuously changing shape from a technical point of view, with future-proof flexibility and scalability.”

According to Brigaglia, Genelec fits perfectly into the Combo landscape. “Firstly, from a quality point of view, it’s hard to do better than Genelec,” he says. “That goes for audio quality, build quality and aesthetics. Then there is the issue of sustainability, which is important for Combo. We know that a Genelec solution will last for decades, and still sound as good as the day it was put in. They are also made from recycled aluminum for a reduced carbon footprint. As active speakers, they are easy to install, and the 4000 Series models benefit from onboard room response controls, which enable us to optimize the sound in each space. Finally, they are easy to integrate into a multi-site, multi-manufacturer, networked solution with centralized control and monitoring. Combo are thrilled with the results and we are looking forward to rolling out new venues in other Italian cities soon.”