No Saints, the leisure group set up by former Luminar boss Stephen Thomas, has added the Wonder brand to its growing portfolio after acquiring four new sites in the south-east.
Known respectively as Wonder Lounge, Wonderland and Wonder Years, the first nightclub (Wonderland) has opened in Sutton, Surrey on the site of a former Luminar Leisure Liquid, which was latterly trading under independent ownership as Kinetic.
Back in charge of the 900-capacity venue, Thomas brought in Dakota House of Design (to work some of the darker elements of the Alice in Wonderland theme into a world of escapism) and Ian Kirby of LED Projects to help animate this surreal environment with a dazzling lightshow. Aided and abetted by installation company Cosmic Electronics, led by Mark Damon, Kirby turned to the SGM catalogue for all his automated beam effects.
The decision was immediately endorsed by the installer. “This new generation of SGM lighting is exciting and interesting, and we can see it going far,” he said.
The lighting needed to be sufficiently versatile to cater for an entertainment programme ranging from comedy to burlesque, contortionists and acrobats to high-octane dance within a multi-role venue targeted at a slightly older age demographic. At the same time guests needed to feel they were interacting within a TV reality-type set.
“I think this was one of the reasons Steve contacted us,” noted Kirby. “We have worked extensively in TV studio lighting, and it's programmes like X-Factor that audiences these days are used to seeing. SGM heads are perfect because they are quiet running, fully featured and produce beams of saturated colour.”
Leading the charge are ten new SGM X-5 white LED strobes — a revolutionary break from the traditional power hungry xenon sources which have survived through generations. Cosmic have mounted two banks of five, firing across from the balcony pelmets at each end, putting out high intensity white light blinders in chase formation.
Mark Damon notes, “These X-5's are just so energy efficient; in fact it would have been impossible to power ten of the conventional strobes, and achieved this chase effect, which is now totally unique. The fixtures themselves are very architectural, neat, low profile, and with the wall plate it makes for a nice neat installation.”
Fixed to the 6-metre diameter circular quad truss are eight of SGM's popular Idea Beam 300's. The beam can be coloured and shaped by applying the vast range of effects provided, including CMY colour mixing system, colour wheel with eight colours (plus white), eight rotary indexable and customisable gobos and rotary three-facet prism. These are joined by six Idea 250 Spots and eight IDEA 575 Wash lights, which also include an effects wheel with beam shaper and frost filter and CMY colour mixing.
Completing the dazzling beam action are 18 SGM Idea Par Leds — but these have an additional duty to perform. So impressed were Ian Kirby and Mark Damon by the monstrous wall coverings, with oversize flower decals designed by Dakota's interior designer, Terri Naylor, that the Par Leds are fitted with barndoors and focused onto these reflective vinyl wall backdrops to animate the graphics and give them extra depth. Different lighting templates are stored as preset scenes in ShowCAD — programmed by Greg McLennan.
LJ, Jenton Hollingum, who himself hails from a theatrical lighting background, is equally delighted with the tools at his disposal. “This is the best lighting rig I have operated and the strobes are brighter than the brightest I've worked with.”
According to Wonderland's experienced general manager, Jay Davidson, the standard of Cosmic Electronics' installation has been first class. “The lighting is phenomenal,” he says. “This integrated technology is capable of delivering a unique experience to a new generation of clubbers, who haven't been exposed to this kind of dynamic before.”
Said Stephen Thomas: “No Saints is on a journey, and having talented people who understand the nightclub market makes that journey more interesting and fun. Wonderland is about pure escapism — and working with Ian Kirby and his team ensured that the quality of lighting achieved all that we would have hoped for and more.”