As anyone who has ever attended it will attest, LDI is for party animals. Every night, exhibiting companies vie to outdo each other with events staged at all sorts of local venues, including hotels, clubs, theme parks, miniature golf courses--you name it. At LDI98 in Phoenix, one of the splashier affairs was put on by Martin Professional at the brand-new Scottsdale nightclub, Axis/Radius.
Actually, half-new is more accurate. Axis and Radius are two separate but joined venues, both under the same management. Axis opened in 1997, and Radius made its debut just in time for LDI. The combination makes for a fairly unique concept in nighttime entertainment, designed to provide an evening of food and fun in one single location.
As designed by architect Michael Kelly and interior designer Jeff Zischke, Axis and Radius are two separate buildings joined by a catwalk on the second floor. According to LD Jorge Valdez, who worked on the project, Axis is a restaurant and lounge, which draws a fairly upscale crowd, many of them from the local sports scene. "They have all kinds of people showing up there," he says, "including Charles Barkley, Michael Jordan, and Mike Tyson. The Phoenix Suns basketball team shows up, too. The restaurant is top-notch, with fabulous food. Then, when you're done with the restaurant and the bar [Axis], you just go next door to the club [Radius]." The music, he adds, is a mixture: "They have different styles every night--Latin night, progressive night, and so on."
Valdez, whose eclectic career includes both designing and programming for television, concert tours, and clubs, was called in by Martin, which supplied the entire lighting package for Radius. "I worked with the owner, Les Corieri, to design what he wanted to see," says the LD. "I went to Scottsdale and programmed for eight days, while the club was getting finished. The opening was the LDI party. The design is mostly mine, but there were a lot of ideas that Les wanted to see as well."
Radius has a number of unusual features built into its design. For one, says Valdez, "80% of the building is glass. You can see the entire club from the outside." As a result, he notes, the lighting design shoots right through the windows, extending the look of the club to the exterior approach all around it. "We laid out the trussing and the lighting around the face so that it would all be visible from the outside." Also, he says, "There are four massive two-story columns on the outside of the building that are lit by the exterior MAC 600s. They look really nice; the columns look like they are framing the club inside."
Inside, Valdez specified a large lighting package, with Total Structures trusses, all of which are automated by a Skjonberg Controls system. "It's a motor system that basically runs off DMX using the lighting console," says Valdez. "You can tell the trusses what height to come in at, and at what angles, all night long." The constantly changing truss configurations alter the look of the club throughout the evening. Most notable is a large circular piece that contains a similarly shaped canvas of latex material, supplied by George and Goldberg. The latex serves as a projection screen for various light patterns as it moves around the room.
Another key design element, says Valdez, is the central staircase, which has been transformed by fiber optics. According to Paul Streitz of Advanced Lighting Systems, the club's supplier of fiber optics, "We took each step and created clear 1/2" glass plates with fiber-optic cable on 1" grids--that's over 650 fibers per step. The glass was treated with a sandblaster to give it some grit," so people standing on the stairs don't slip and fall. "We created an adapter so that all the fibers terminate into eight Robocolor Pro 400s." The design is structured so that one Pro 400 handles steps one and three, the next unit handles steps two and four, and so on. The 400s are run off the same controller that handles the rest of the lighting, which allows the staircase to do strobes, chase sequences, blackouts, and other effects. "It keeps the staircase alive all night long," says Valdez. In addition, Streitz says that Advanced supplied 1/2" solid-core sidelit cable that runs along the upper edges of the glass walkway which links the two buildings.
The lighting package in Radius includes 22 Martin Roboscan 918 scanners, 14 MAC 500s, eight MAC 600s, 16 Robocolor Pro 400s, and eight MAC 250s. "I used so many 918s because of their mirror speed," says Valdez. "I used only eight 600s because the club is not large enough for them; I put a wide-angle lens on them, and used them for wash and strobe effects. I used the 500s because, although their heads aren't as fast as the 918s, they do project the images that I wanted--so the 500s project all over the walls. I used the 250s, a smaller unit, to project on the material in the circular truss; the truss comes down almost to the floor." With all these elements--the windows, the moving truss, the reflective surfaces--a light jockey is able to create any number of multilayered looks. Other equipment includes Jem foggers.
Valdez specified the Martin Case P1 controller to run the lights, trussing, exterior lights, and fiber-optic staircase, an all-in-one arrangement that allows for remarkably unified looks. "I wanted to do it that way because I could control everything, and trigger it all at once. If I trigger a light cue, the exterior columns change with it. Everything matches at all times, which makes it more interesting, instead of having a bunch of controllers running different things. The light jockey there is in heaven, because he runs it all off one board--he doesn't have to run around to three or four different controllers."
Overall, Valdez says about the project, "Les and Liz [Kelly, another owner] were really helpful; they let me do what I wanted and they supported it. Of all the clubs I've done, it was the most futuristic, in the sense that everything was new--it was always designed to be a club," and not a renovated space, as are so many nightspots. "That made it fun and interesting." Indeed, Axis/Radius has rapidly become a highlight of Scottsdale's nightlife scene.