Every building has a story, and these can often have a special scene-setting effect in the pursuance of lively social interaction. Meinl Dance, the latest and hottest new club on the scene Novy Jicin, Czech Republic, is a prime example!
This new, pulsating 600 capacity venue is located in a former nuclear bunker dating back to the days of the ‘cold war' and former Communist era. Concealed behind a seriously impregnable 7.5 tonne front door and 2 metre thick concrete walls, images abound of the days when the concept of 'the big red button' was a hugely more sinister threat than accessing a raft of digital TV!
The club's independent owners Ladislav and Michael Uhlar and Daniel Fojtík approached Robe lighting, the Czech Republic's renowned moving light manufacturer, whose HQ at Valasske Mezirici is just 25 Kms down the road in picturesque Moravia, and asked them to propose a ‘spectacular' lighting and visuals design.
The brief was to maintain the high production values characteristic throughout their other clubs, and make Meinl Dance the must-go destination nightspot in the local area.
Robe's Ales Gill, Anolis's brand manager Peter Kolmačka and Robe Lighting Inc's Entertainment and Leisure Segment Manager David Chesal - all pooled their imaginations, creative resources and experience to come up with an uber design.
It incorporates Robe effects lighting, DigitalSpot projections, StageQube video effects and Anolis environmental lighting.
Fusing all these elements has transformed the once desolate concrete void which had lain derelict for years, used as a general storage and dumping area for the shopping centre above.
Now Fridays through Sundays it is buzzing with the local party-people and trend setters who enjoy a vibrant mix of commercial dance and house music. The entry queues have become almost as eminent as the venue!
The Robe team took designer Jiri Pavlin of Archmaniac's interiors as a starting point for their visuals.
They combine effects and architectural lighting inventively giving colourful and fun results. The club's different areas are delineated with different lighting, while the dancefloor fixtures were chosen to give the flexibility of also being used on stage.
The ceiling height is low, so the design subverts this, creating a strong and eye-catching statement with three sections of Robe's StageQube 324 video panels.
Meinl Dance also has a small stage for live bands and PAs which are often part of the entertainment line-up.
The screen at the back of the stage is covered in a stereoscopic surface for 3D projections, and both 2D and 3D projections are provided from content beamed onto the screen by the two Robe DigitalSpot 3500 DT moving projectors. These are also ideally positioned to provide projection on to performers onstage and across the front of the DJ booth to stage left.
Above the dancefloor are two Dominator 1200 XTs - Robe's hi-tech innovative version of the disco classic! Also overhead in this area are eight Robe ColorSpot 170 moving lights, four around each Dominator.
Towards the back of the dancefloor are four Robe Scan 575s - chosen for their compact size and many features - plus two clusters of four LEDForce 7 RGBWs, and a third above the stage, so twelve LEDForce 7 RGBWs in total.
Eight of the new ROBIN LEDBeam 100s hugely popular for their very fast wizzy effects - are dotted over the dancefloor area, with the effects lighting package completed by two REDBlinder 248s on the stage. These fire into the dancefloor and seating areas and can back-light performers on stage.
The Anolis side of the installation includes nearly 50 ArcLine Optic 40MC fixtures with 27 degree lenses which graze boldly up walls of the main room. These are combined with 18 Twin Wall MC fittings up/down lighters, which utilise two optical systems in this case with a narrow beam angle shooting upwards and a 45 degrees radiating out of the bottom.
The long bar front on the left hand side of the venue is highlighted with 15 pieces of Anolis ArcLine Optic 40 fitted with special asymmetric optics.
The whole installation is a great illustration how flexible Anolis can be, with the factory able to produce custom solutions very quickly.
The special editions were necessary for the long bar to ensure a smooth and even spread of light along its green tinted glass front, and to create cool spikey effects along the bottom.
The chill out zones in the sub rooms and ante-chambers of the main bunker are lit with Anolis in-ground 12s positioned between the main and dividing walls of the booths. These also have bespoke optics with both narrow and 23 degree angles.
The structural panels of a round space-station style bar near the entrance are lit with customised Anolis ArcLine Optic 40s, and the very atmospheric entrance tunnel features a series of wall panels back lit with 60 strips of Anolis ArcLink 4. The various stair and step edges throughout the club feature over 200 metres of RGB strip.
The Anolis and LED elements are powered by over 40 different types of drivers
The effects and mood lighting has two separate options for control - a grandMA Micro console or a PC controller running Robe's CyberCue Control Pro 2 software. As the lighting operator will often be the DJ, it was important to offer a choice of systems depending on their style of show. The StageQubes also have their own stand-alone Media Fusion control.
Meinl Dance has been a massive success, in no small part due to the visual impact of the lighting, which is also a great example of design collaboration and talent from the Robe and Anolis ‘in-house' teams.