news - November 2020
A Conversation With Scott Srolis of Salamander Designs
The senior vice president of sales and marketing tells us what’s new at Salamander.
Sharing a moment with us today is Scott Srolis, longtime industry veteran and Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Salamander Designs. Known worldwide for premium quality residential and commercial A/V furniture that’s made in the USA in an all-green, 100 percent solar-powered factory, Salamander takes special pride in designing and fabricating products that enable users to derive the maximum benefit from their electronics.
We’re talking about the intersection of where technology meets design in entirely new ways, and that leads us directly to today’s conversation.
Technology Designer: Welcome, Scott. Please give readers a quick thumbnail sketch of what makes Salamander Designs different.
Scott: I think by now many know our story. About 25 years ago, Salvatore Carrabba began building high-quality, custom furniture for audio gear because he couldn’t find just exactly what he needed for his own use. The key message here is just exactly, as that defines our approach to designing and building stunning furniture that makes the most of modern technology. We can deliver custom-built products based on Modular designs and do it fast—usually within days, not weeks. Each piece is an original and built to last, and is exactly what the customer, designer and situation calls for.
TD: Give us an example of how a Salamander design meshes perfectly with a piece of technology.
Scott: LG is a great example. A couple years back, Salamander was contacted by Mark Major of LG Electronics [Key Account Manager for CI and distribution]. Mark said LG was entering the residential market with a new ultra short throw (UST) projector and were interested in making a special all-in-one, complete furniture solution that would make the most of their very cool new technology and offer dealers turnkey, premium video solutions. The integrated turnkey solution was very important to LG.
At the end of 2018, Mark, along with Joe Columbo, CI Technical Manager and Jon Yu visited Salamander Designs with an early prototype sample of the UST. We agreed to design a specific cabinet just for the LG UST projector and be ready prior to launch, so we could preview them to select dealers for input.
By this time, we had already designed several other projector cabinets, and had developed a successful process. We analyze projector specifications, for example the amount of heat the piece generates in the interior of the cabinet, the projection distance, and more. This is critical to the design. We then position the projector within the media cabinet to maximize the technology performance and provide necessary user storage. We consider end-user interaction and ease of use. This is our passion – how science and design come together.
We first developed a 4-bay solution [shown above]. The LG team loved it and began showing pre-production units at buying group dealer events. Integrators were wowed by the plug-and-play designer solution. Mark Major collected first-hand feedback from integrators and brought the intel to us.
Dealers asked if we could make a version that was smaller and space saving. So exclusively for LG, we went back to the design board and developed a 2-bay size for smaller rooms such as media rooms [shown below]. Now customers can choose from a space-saving design up to a fully loaded, media or theater-room ready all-encased projector solution. The 2-bay system wasn’t even on our radar, but feedback from dealers through LG brought us back to the design phase. The other cool thing is we were able to engineer a solution in literally days and turn out prototypes for testing.
TD: Fascinating. Now, what makes these cabinets so appealing to interior designers and dealers?
Scott: Designers love them because all the technology is neatly hidden inside – a designer’s dream. There are no wires hanging, no wall construction, just a beautiful clean cabinet that matches any space aesthetically and also fully accommodates today’s finest video technology and makes it work best. A technology installation often can “get in the way” of the designer’s vision, and this solution enhances it.
Dealers love them because they make it much easier to install a high-performance LG projector without running wires or measuring distances. It’s custom, but all ready to go. And they can offer storage for media and more. In fact, in terms of sales, this is now our number one projector cabinet.
TD: You’ve had time working with dealers and designers to provide this into countless homes. What’s the best way to sell this seamless solution?
Scott: Selling always begins with listening and then satisfying specific needs. The best way is to discuss the client’s needs and share that we offer customized solutions with a variety of premium finishes, materials, colors, interiors and even custom footing to coordinate with any room aesthetic. And, with the elegant LG solution, it’s a streamlined installation to get a preconfigured, awesome video solution. We fit in any space, yet all the technology performs beautifully. Also, often a client is in a rush to outfit their home. With Salamander, they don’t have to wait for weeks or months – we ship literally in days. And of course, our products are made in the U.S. and always backed by a lifetime warranty.
TD: Now that you and LG have done this together, what’s on the future horizon?
Scott: We have such a strong, collaborative relationship that we’re now in the works on some remarkable, next gen business solutions that take the LG display technology and bring that to virtual and in-person training rooms, offices, medical facilities and more. Here again, it is a beautiful blend of technology and design made to suit the specific spaces.