What started with an iPhone has quickly become an iLifestyle. The latest edition to the Mac technology family is the home automation Savant System, which opened its first showroom in Soho this month. The luxury company, which works with a slew of retail partners, will coordinate and automate all of the electrical equipment in your home.
The 7,500 square-foot space was designed by Thom Felicia of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. It is designed like a model home with a working kitchen, living room-dining room, bedroom, bathroom, and office. The space is covered in computer and television screens, which are projected everywhere from closet doors to bathroom walls. The furniture is comfortable and classic, with some modern, sleek accents, resulting in a look that is very ‘suburbs meets Soho.’ When viewing it during the launch party, something about the space felt vaguely familiar. Remember the Disney House of the Future? It’s exactly like that, but trendier.
Using the same touch-screen technology as the iPhone, the Savant System enables you to control almost everything in your home, just by touching a picture of it. So, you can turn off a lamp by flipping a switch, or you can just touch the image of the lamp on the screen of your control panel, and you can scroll through real-time images of the various rooms in your home, which cameras update every second.
The control panels come in all shapes and sizes. In the living room, you can use the touch panel on the wall, a panel mounted on an end table, the screens embedded in the coffee tables (which display artsy screensavers when not in use), and even the television screen.
One of the system’s unique features is that everything can be controlled remotely from your iPhone. Preheat the oven while you’re driving home, turn off the soaps your ten-year-old is watching (you can see what’s playing on the television from your phone), and even check to make sure the kids are doing their homework when you’re out to dinner. It is a little Big Brother-y, but you can control the privacy in various rooms.
At the official launch party, President and Co-founder Jim Carrol enthusiastically gave me a tour of the home. We started in the Savant-style home movie theater, where fighting over channels gains new meaning. The wide screen can be operated with a control panel mounted between seats (think the bridge on Star Trek), a regular remote, or a synced up iPhone.
You can also use the small round spiny remote, which Carrol’s daughter (English major) prefers, even though it does the exact same thing as the regular remote. This English major didn’t quite get the appeal. However, I was impressed with how you can program the temperature to rise five degrees, five minutes into a movie, to accommodate slightly lowered body temperatures.
When I mused that someone with the system may never want to leave their house, Carrol happily quipped, “All your friends will come over!” Either that, or you will no longer be able to deal with the inconvenience of the outside world.
At the launch party, the system experienced slight delay when every control panel in every room was being operated simultaneously. Otherwise, it seemed to run quite smoothly and the touch screens were very user friendly.
iCheck it out for yourself at 88 Prince Street, between Broadway and Mercer. You can also visit the Savant website, but it’s much more fun to iTry it in person.