Inside the Crescendo Experience Center in Southampton, at every turn there is amazing technology to discover — though you'd never realize when it's powered off.
In the showroom's bedroom, with the press of a button, a television pops out from under the bed and rises to eye level. In the living room, a painting lifts to reveal a hidden flatscreen television. In the home theater, a hidden projector lowers from the ceiling. And in the bathroom, there are invisible speakers in the ceiling, spackled over, and a television screen in the mirror. All of these devices, as well as the temperature of everything from the pool to the wine fridge, can all be controlled from touchscreen panels on the walls — or from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection.
Crescendo Designs' showroom gives just a taste of what the 10-year-old company can do in a Hamptons house or Manhattan apartment, for home automation and entertainment.
President Chris Brody said his company takes on tasks of all sizes. “Anything from a small job — someone just needing a single television done in small room — up to full house set up in a new build,” he explained. “We’ve done everything from a small house up to estates with multiple buildings on them.”
One thing Crescendo refuses to do is create an inferior home system. Brody explained that potential clients who want to use unreliable technology to cut corners and get the price of a job down are turned away. “We put a lot of emphasis on the quality of the work we do," he said. "It's not just a factory where we turn out job after job and job."
That is not to say that Crescendo always recommends the newest and the most expensive products and technology. “Installing the newest thing isn’t always the best thing," he said, because the technology is unproven and may not stick around.
Brody said that home automation is getting more and more popular in the high-end market, for both new construction and retrofits. “A few years ago it was a small percentage that did the full house control and now it's more of the standard," he said.
Crescendo Designs began on Hill Street in Southampton Village and soon moved to Main Street, with a warehouse nearby. But now everything is under one roof on County Road 39A at the Crescendo Experience Center, which opened in 2011, designed by Blaze Makoid Architecture, of Sagaponack. “This place here just tied everything together,” Brody said.
Brody, whose family moved to East Hampton when he was in ninth grade, got his start in the audiovisual field while he was still a college student, setting up plasma televisions for clients in their homes and running his own Internet companies. “Ever since I was a kid, I was into electronics,” he said.
Now 35 and living in Hampton Bays, Brody is running a 20-plus-employee company that turned a decade old in December.
As the president, he oversees the company and business development, and his brother and co-owner, Mike Brody, 39, the vice president, is in charge of sales, marketing and day-to-day operations.
Chris Brody went to college for accounting, and because there is no school for the kind of work his company does, he has had to learn as he goes. He said it was only recently that trade organizations formed for the field, and it is the product designers themselves that offer seminars on how to install and operate the technology.
Mike Brody worked in telecommunications before going into business with his brother. He said the pace of change keeps them on their toes. "The projects and the technology are just getting more complex.”
Chris Brody said that the business was too busy in December, during the holidays, to stop and reflect on the company's 10th anniversary, but he hopes to have a celebration in the spring.