John Lewis - Odney Club

Nestled in the picturesque Berkshire village of Cookham, is the Bernard Miller Centre - a ground-breaking new conference and training facility owned by the John Lewis Partnership. Designed and built to reflect the latest developments in environmentally friendly construction methods, the centre showcases cutting edge presentation technology from Crestron, designed and installed by Smartcomm.

Key design drivers for the a-v system at the Bernard Miller Centre were the need for system flexibility, seamless integration into the building structure and stylish, modern presentation and conference technology. The ‘Kingfisher’ room is the main ground floor area that can be used as a single large presentation and meeting area, or by using folding partitions, can be divided into three smaller meeting rooms.

One of the main challenges for Smartcomm was to find a control system that could be programmed for all possible room layouts, but could also provide high performance and bullet-proof reliability.

“Crestron was the natural choice for this project.” says Mark Allen, Systems Consultant for Smartcomm.

“We’ve worked with John Lewis for many years - it is a premium brand with very high standards. The kit we install has to be up to scratch. We’ve used Crestron equipment for many years and have always been impressed by the build quality and programming flexibility. These qualities give us the peace of mind that is important when specifying for prestigious projects such as the Bernard Miller Centre.”

In the main conference room and the larger meting rooms touch-of-a- button a-v system control is provided by Crestron’s stylish STX-1700C compact 2-way wireless touchpanel. Featuring a 5.7" active matrix touchscreen and  IsysÒ colour graphics, the unit delivers reliable RF communications for complete freedom of movement. The panels have been tailored to the project’s unique needs and being compact and portable, afford "one-touch" control over the broad range of complex devices and systems installed at the centre. For example; the capability to display of all kinds of data – from system power status, audio settings, room temperature, lighting levels, and much more.


The lighting system uses energy saving measures including energy efficient high frequency luminaires with electronic control gear, infra-red presence detection and is dimmable throughout.

A variable air volume (VAV) ventilation system provides air to the conference rooms, training rooms and coffee area via under floor displacement ventilation.

All building services installed operate automatically. However, they can also be environmentally controlled via the BMS (Building Management System).

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John Lewis has grown from a single store opened in 1864 into one of the UK’s leading retailers. Named after Sir Bernard Miller, the company’s founder, the Centre is in a secluded riverside location in the beautiful grounds of John Lewis’ Odney Club.  To blend in with its surroundings, the Centre features a turfed grass roof, which has its own remote control, rooftop lawnmower! Inside, the stunning, two-storey building offers reception and café facilities, a large main conference area, a number of smaller meeting rooms and a series of training rooms.

A preferred supplier to John Lewis, Smartcomm has a track record of successful store installations for the chain. Working closely with the in-house team at John Lewis, Smartcomm needed a solution that could meet the demand for cutting edge technology whilst incorporating the necessary flexibility. The Crestron PRO2 processor was specified to act as the ‘brain’ of the integrated AV system.

All audio, video, and environmental elements of the centre are accessible through the control system. The power, performance and scalability of the PRO2 allowed Smartcomm to design a system that integrated all projectors, plasma displays, switchers, amplifiers, screens and touchpanels into a single user-friendly, reliable AV system.


"The STX-1700C is excellent for this type of application," adds Mark Allen.“In the small, single rooms and for roaming the large areas, the touchpanel offers exactly the reliable bi-directional communication support and true-feedback that we needed.”

A striking design feature is the grassed roof  and rainwater harvesting system. Rainwater is collected from the roof of the building, channelled through filters then further treated prior to being pumped back into the building. The water is used for WC flushing, irrigation, wash-down, window cleaning and a water feature.