COURTESY TROPICAL LIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY
Above, the view from the Art and Automation project looking out the fleetwood doors toward the west side of Maui. To the left is the touch-panel screen that is used to control the room. CLICK FOR LARGE
Maui company awarded for luxe house labors
ART and Automation Inc.,
a nearly five-year-old Maui-based company specializing in home theater, lighting and "smart homes" technologies, has won an award from "Electronic House" magazine.
The magazine's Home of the Year competition covers 14 categories including one called, Wow Factor, in which Art and Automation won the silver, or second-place award, as shown in its current issue. It integrated extensive audio, video, lighting and other technology into a new home project.
This is the first time Art and Automation entered the contest, having recently finished the project and casually thinking, "Hmm, it might be worthy," chuckled Paul Bailey, chief executive officer.
He and partner Mike Ruger, president, are former Walt Disney Imagineers who spent eight and five years, respectively, building what are called immersive environments for theme parks. Ruger also designed many IMAX theaters on the West Coast.
"We're both artists and engineers," who independently decided that Hawaii is their "true home, their true calling," said Bailey.
They incorporated the business in Hawaii and are proud it is a local company.
Bailey splits his time on either side of the Pacific, as the company has offices in California. Ruger and his fiancee call Maui home.
In her story, "Electronic House" reporter Lisa Montgomery notes the imagination, collaboration and determination required to, "pile a mountain of electronics into a home without disrupting any of its natural beauty and tranquility."
Indeed, Bailey and Ruger were involved from the start, working with architect Greg Bayless of Farrington Bayless Architects and interior designer Leona Bayless. Dave Stodder Construction built the South Maui home.
"We like to get really involved in the actual architecture and acoustics and work as a client advocate all the way through the entire process," Bailey said. Art and Automation isn't just an installer, he said.
The seven-picture slideshow of the Art and Automation project in the magazine's online coverage is a must-see timewaster or bit of research, depending on one's line of work.
Touch screens that control each environment -- okay, room -- coordinate with the decor.
The work goes beyond fancy-schmancy remote controls and TV screens that drop down from the ceiling or rise from luxurious cabinetry, however.
The bathroom in the master suite has clear windows that turn translucent at the touch of a button, using liquid crystal technology, for instance.
Bailey said it was also worth mentioning that the "bathtub fills from the ceiling."
Talk about a wow factor.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: email@example.com