Cocktails and cameras - Create Security and Hikvision provide bespoke video solution for iconic Dublin venue

When iconic Dublin restaurant and super pub Café en Seine was totally redesigned and refurbished, Create Security Solutions was called in to provide an extensive but discreet video surveillance system, for the protection of customers and staff. Create worked with Hikvision to design and install a network video system that delivered on Café en Seine’s need for a high quality, aesthetically pleasing security solution.

In the very heart of Dublin’s city centre on Dawson Street lies one of the city’s most iconic venues. Café en Seine, established more than 25 years ago in 1993, has long been a go-to destination for Dubliners and visitors alike. And now its legacy continues, with a brand new redesign, featuring several beautiful dining areas and a host of bars and bespoke event spaces – and a unique indoor Parisian street garden, with room for 250 guests for special events.

Café en SeineRenowned for its five-star service, and described as Dublin’s first ‘super pub’, Café en Seine offers an extensive food menu which caters for a range of tastes and occasions. Head Chef Stephen Gibson and his team provide simple, fun dishes, bursting with seasonal flavours, designed for sharing. It’s a high-end food experience in a casual dining atmosphere.

Unsurprisingly, the team at Café en Seine are also experts when it comes to drinks. The cocktail menu has been specially curated by the team behind Crucible, London to “enhance specific moments and experiences within the venue, from the physical surroundings to the music and the service, making each drink memorable”.

The Irish Times says Café en Seine has “been transformed into a sleek, opulent space set over three storeys, in a style redolent of the grandest Parisian brasserie.” It’s a large space, 1,544 sq m in area, with the capacity for approximately 1300 people at a time.

Intelligent monitoring

A project like this is valuable and worth securing. An intelligent video monitoring solution was required in order to protect this innovative new dining experience. To this end, network video security experts Create Security Solutions were called in, and system designers Mark Woods & Niall McDonnell set about devising a system which would address Café en Seine’s specific needs.

Woods, who is Create’s Managing Director, said the system had to be able to deliver a wide variety of results, whilst also blending into the art deco aesthetic of Café en Seine’s redesign. It was required to be able monitor the venue’s till areas, and to record any customer and staff health and safety issues, as well as the conventional function of after-hours surveillance for break-ins or theft.

“At the same time,” Woods explains, “the whole of the network design, the topology, cable lengths and routes, the network video recorder and camera settings needed to minimise the impact on the network’s bandwidth as much as possible.”

Reducing bandwidth load

Café en SeineThe solution Create devised was based on network topology using Hikvision H.265+ encoding technology, to reduce bandwidth loads. Hikvision’s H.265+ is an optimised encoding technology based on the standard H.265/HEVC compression format. H.265+ video quality is almost equivalent to H.265, but uses far less transmission bandwidth and thus also extends video storage recording capacity.

The other crucial factor was “plenty of time”. Time was important, because the system had to be installed simultaneous with all the redevelopment work which was taking place to the premises.

“We had to stay on the same page as all the other workers on the site,” Woods said. “Obviously there are elements of a system like this that can only be installed at the appropriate moment, when contractors and decorators have reached the point that we can put our kit into place. So we needed to keep an eye on their work, and follow-up as they progressed. It meant that we were assembling the system piece by piece – but those pieces weren’t necessarily in sequence, as different contractors worked on different aspects of the premises concurrently.”

As well as dealing with that complexity, Create needed to make sure that they addressed both the aesthetic and practical requirements of the system’s installation.

“We had to ensure that all 127 cameras we installed would blend into the interior, that they’d look unobtrusive and be able to see everything we needed them to,” Woods says. “The challenge we had was to ensure we positioned the cameras in the optimum place to get the best image, while also making certain nothing would encroach on the camera’s field of view. That included speakers, trees, and chandeliers and other lights. Café en Seine’s pretty generously decorated, from the floor to the high ceilings, so this was a fairly complicated part of the process itself.”

Efficient use of space

Create’s Alex Koltunov was lead engineer on the project, and he oversaw the installation of the Hikvision kit. This included the aforementioned 127 cameras, all discreet network mini domes which blend into and complement the interior design of Café en Seine.

The cameras record to four 32-channel network video recorders, sited in a comms room three floors above the diners. In the manager’s office is a 32-inch monitor. Using a mouse and switcher all 127 cameras can be easily and conveniently viewed from here.

“We wanted to ensure that there was a minimum of equipment in the manager’s office, but that full control of the system was still possible,” Woods explains. “It’s an efficient use of the space, without CCTV control equipment dominating the room. Because of this and the system itself, the customer’s really happy with the installation. The image quality is extremely high, the best they’ve seen, and the ease of use and customer friendly software is a fantastic plus.”

Café en SeineDavid Murray, Café en Seine General Manager, confirms the sentiment and satisfaction. “We are extremely happy with the new CCTV system from Create Security Solutions,” he says. “Create have exceeded their remit in providing a high quality, aesthetically pleasing system. We asked that our new CCTV system blend with the new fit out and that has been achieved by Create.

“All areas of our premises are covered by CCTV. We could not ask for better-quality images, and the system is extremely user friendly. From the start of this project Create have worked with us to overcome some challenges with lighting and placement of cameras, and the results speak for themselves.”

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