The Fish Tank

where technology truly meet design!


OUR PROJECT PROFILE CONCERNS A RENOVATION PROJECT IN MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO. The homeowner had purchased the existing home and wanted to modernize it both aesthetically and technologically. The technology design team were given a blank slate and minimal input, as the homeowner’s previous home had little technology to begin with. The design-build team did note that the homeowner had an affinity for fish. And the kitchen, like many homes, was a focal point for the family.

TECHNOLOGY DESIGNER Let’s start with the brothers Nile Jajo and Rob Jajo and their technology team at Avaton. How did you come into the project and where did the concept of the Fish Tank as the kitchen backsplash come from?

NILE AND ROB JAJO The general contractor for this project had recommended Avaton and our team to tackle this challenge, and we happily obliged. Leveraging our automation, audio/video (AV), and security experience to come up with a unique automation solution, and to incorporate it subtly into the overall house design and theme. That is exactly what we strive to do at Avaton. Our love is to create… art products and finish out. Part of this creation is to help further the overall design of this space or take it a step further and help enhance it.

The Avaton design and senior project managers team met with the client to conduct a discovery session, to spark some initial ideas and concepts.

The client had seen a Cameo Kitchen design that was inspired by the talented designer Ariel Muller, and the concept of a ‘digital backsplash’. Kathryn Dougherty of Cameo Kitchens had to show the client the design concept, but it was just that. A concept that Avaton needed to bring to reality.

TD Ariel, tell us about your vision as it pertains to the concept of this minimalist-designed kitchen and how you integrated technology into the design.

ARIEL MULLER Working with Cameo Kitchens to create something truly unique to set Cameo apart was the driving force for us to come up with something special that focused on the latest technology and lifestyle trends. Thus was born ‘Fusion – The Kitchen of Tomorrow… Today!’

We created the initial design concept for Fusion and worked closely with the Cameo and Avaton teams to make the concept a reality. Cameo’s expertise in taking the concept through fabrication and bringing Fusion to life is a testament to Cameo’s excellence. The prototype in their flagship showroom display was then customized as needed for this special custom project.

TD Kathryn, tell us about Cameo Kitchens’ input for this kitchen remodel. These aren’t your mom and dad’s kitchen cabinets are they?

KATHRYN DOUGHERTY I met the homeowner when he and his wife came into the Cameo Kitchens showroom. I noticed them admiring our “Fusion Kitchen” display and discovered that they wanted to do something similar for their own renovation project. I worked as the kitchen designer and coordinated the custom cabinetry layout, materials, finishes, and details so that they could achieve the same look and feel as our display kitchen, but adapted to their space and needs.

The cabinetry that we designed and supplied for this project is very modern. And not just in terms of the sleek styling but also the technology that’s integrated right into the cabinet mechanisms, such as the Blum “servo drive” system we used throughout to automate the doors and drawers. In this project the use of technology went a step further with the inclusion of a “digital backsplash” by Avaton. It really took the expertise of everyone involved to pull it off: the kitchen designer, technical designer, cabinet installer, contractor, and custom installation team.

TD Nile and Rob, tell us about what went into the design for the digital backsplash, or what we’re calling The Fish Tank.

NILE AND ROB JAJO We had learned that the homeowner wanted to have a fish tank, but it wasn’t practical to use actual fish tanks in the design. So we came up with the idea of meshing three Samsung TV monitors together and designing a 3-D graphic experience to emulate a real fish tank, and hence provide the client not just one “Fish Tank”, but multiple digital “Fish Tanks” throughout the house.

The homeowner liked the idea, and now we had to start looking at ways to bring this concept of the digital “Fish Tank” to reality and have it work seamlessly. While still achieving the homeowner’s wish list and enhancing the designers’ concept, and still being a fully functional design to allow either a “Fish Tank” or operate it as three separate TVs. The digital backsplash was a focal point in the kitchen, and we chose to build it on a Crestron platform to provide reliability and customizable design for ease-of-use for the homeowner and all the family members.

A beautiful, practical and easy to use system. It is used as a fish tank across the three screens while listening to various sources of music. Or, the family has the option of using these screens to watch three different sources; for example watching security cameras, a basketball game, and a hockey game simultaneously; and the ability to switch between the different modes, just with a single touch of a button via the Crestron 10” touchscreen installed on the kitchen island.

TD Final thoughts?

N AND RJ Being brothers, we know we both have different strengths we bring to the table, and working together enhances our ability to create unique solutions. Being part of a design-build group is similar in nature as everyone needs to work together and bring their different strengths to the table. It’s essential to achieving a final product that meets the aesthetics the designer wants to achieve, the functionality the technology designer is aiming for, and most importantly the ease-of-use for the client. Working together, any issues that may come along the way can be easily solved when working with one goal and one vision. The client has less to worry about as everyone is working together seamlessly, which saves everyone time and money.

At Avaton, we want you to believe in your ideas. Working together and partnering up with other like-minded professionals, we bring concepts to reality.

Ariel Muller Designs Inc
Ariel Muller

Tel: 905.764.1553 ext. 111
Cell: 416.452.15531

Nile Jajo and Rob Jajo


Cameo Kitchens
Kathryn Dougherty