“It was hard to imagine who might come to see a show of this size in such a remote area,” says Wally. “Little did we know that in just a few years, Phuket would explode with development.”
Robin adds, “The plan was to install a show and train the staff. There were no schools in Thailand offering the technical training required. The show became the school, and we trained 350-plus staff to run it. It was a success, and the systems we installed still operate today.”
Wally attended Carnegie Mellon University, whilst Robin studied at The Bristol Old Vic, both gaining diplomas in technical theatre (lighting, sound and automation). “After the show was running I went back to work in the West End. I immediately realised that London life was no longer for me. I sold everything and returned,” says Robin.
Meanwhile, Wally spent time exploring Thailand by motorbike. He was in no rush to return to his old job of engineering illusions for the likes of David Copperfield.
Meeting up again on Phuket towards the end of 1999, they naively decided to open a bar in Surin named Jazzmatazz. It proved a great success (not financially!) by bringing live jazz to the area.
It was during this time the property market was taking off. It became clear there was a demand for people with technical skills to design and install systems for the high-end villas. New buyers were already using such technology back home, yet there were no specialists here. So AVC was born, and over time has established itself as Phuket’s leading engineering and automation specialists.
“It’s been one heck of a ride!” notes Robin. “Especially during the tsunami, I could have lost my three-month-old son that day as we often spent mornings on the beach. We immediately put our lives on hold and focused on the people around us that had lost everything.
“We quickly started raising money, and within months we had built accommodation for 400 local people. We were relieved; families that had been scattered were now back together. After this, we had the honour of meeting HRH Princess Soamsawali in recognition of our endeavours. Today, we are still in touch with many of those we helped.”
“We are often challenged by the projects here, and we are proud to be associated with the best developments. Our latest work, Blue Tree, has been our most ambitious yet. AVC was tasked with all of the mechanical, electrical and plumbing design, as well as lighting design for all 150 rai,” explains Wally.
“I am constantly amazed at the level of excellence and quality that continues to arrive here in Phuket,” says Robin, “We just completed Twin Palms’ Wagyu Steak House. As lighting designers, we were stunned at the attention to detail and the quality of materials.
“Once people thought you had to compromise because Thailand was not as sophisticated as the West, but we can confidently say that Phuket has the skills to compete with any other world-class destination. We hope that continues for years to come!”
If you are planning the ultimate high-tech home or simply looking for solid, reliable engineering, our team of international specialists is trained, certified and ready to meet your needs. Whether it's a three thousand seat entertainment complex, a luxury villa or hotel, even a temple in the hills; AVC designs and installs systems that are simple to use, cost-effective and enduring. Let AVC add value to your project through Consultation, Consistency and Quality.
Tel: +66 76 615 810
9/76 Moo 4, Bandon Rd. Cherng Talay, Thalang Phuket 83110 Thailand
This article was featured in 'Set Sail', the companion guide published for the Thailand Yacht Show 2020, being held at Royal Phuket Marina. The show is open from 11am to 7pm daily until Sunday (Jan 12), when the show will close at 6pm.
The Phuket News and Live 89.5 are proud media partners of the Thailand Yacht Show 2020.