People love to grumble about the so-called Disneyfication of Times Square, alleging that New York's former capital of sin has become a family-friendly theme park. But reform is not as easily achieved as one might think; consider Barcode, an all-night pool-and-video parlor (recently featured on Sex and the City) dedicated to restoring New York to its status as the City That Never Sleeps.
Barcode is an Australian concept (there are similar venues in Melbourne and Sydney). For New York, the California-based firm Yeager Designs created the original design; the execution and programming, however, were the work of Design One Corporation, located in New York. Design One, founded by LD Christien Methot, is only six years old, but it already has a lengthy project list that includes fashion shows, concerts, restaurants, weddings, and other events.
The lobby of the venue is designed to look like, yes, a barcode (albeit in 3D) with white walls and ceiling backlit by dimmable blue neon sources. Two High End Systems Studio Spot[R] 575s are hung in this area, their constantly moving beams used to attract pedestrian traffic. Ride the escalator up to the first floor, where Martin Imagescans scatter logos over the walls and floor and Diversitronics Star Strobes build the energy with random white bursts. Colored globes of light add to the festive atmosphere.
The elevator drops you off at Barcode, which is for adults only - liquor is served, and there is pool, video games, and ride simulators. Entering the space, you are greeted by a wall in which dozens of "New York" objects, including keys, sunglasses, a guitar, and keyboard, are frozen in plastic and backlit with T8 dimmable fluorescent fixtures; this feature was fabricated by Entolo, the scenic division of PRG.
On this floor, an atmosphere is defined by hard metallic surfaces relieved by smart splashes of color. Martin Roboscan Pro 218s and Imagescans again scour the floors with moving beams. Barrel vaults in the ceiling, covered in Mylar, are lined in neon, with more Star Strobes for flash and excitement. Randomly placed pinspots create patterns on the floor. Elsewhere, the pool tables are lined in blue neon, with blue fluorescent units that accent the walls and the barback area. Other blue accents, in dimmable cold cathode and neon, help accent other parts of the bar. Hanging over the bar area is a series of lucite rectangles (above) in which light from a fluorescent tube illuminates the edges and key words such as "Honor Code," "Genetic Code," "Conduct Code," and others. Methot adds that there are four basic preset looks for Barcode - Daytime, Happy Hour, Early Evening, and Late Evening - with different color mixes to create different moods.
One floor up is Galactic Circus, an arcade aimed at teenagers. The room is filled with various games (pinball, skeeball, and others) and ride simulators, in an atmosphere dominated by circus reds and yellows, with lots of stripes and patterns. Color is everything on this floor - loud, vivid, saturated. Even the fixtures are colorful, with dozens of Uni-Par colored transparent plastic PAR lamp holders blending into the overall color scheme. Also adding to the circus look are Lumisphere Festoon lights hanging from the ceiling. LED lighting also has a part to play: Color Kinetics iColor[TM] MR-16s and C-200[TM] soft-edge beamlights are focused on the central carousel area. Also located around the carousel are circles of neon in purple, blue, red, and yellow, which perform chasing sequences, and a Martin Centrepiece, to add another splash of color.
As on the previous level, randomly placed pinspots create circles on the floor. Throughout the venue, track fixtures consist of MR-16s or PAR-36s from Thomas/ Capri, with MR-16 recessed ceiling downlight and wallwasher fixtures from Reggiani.
Control for the entire venue is provided by the ETC Unison System, which triggers an ETC Expression 3 LPC playback unit. The mixture of standard architectural fixtures and entertainment lighting posed complicated problems: "It meant days and days of programming," says Methot, who adds that the bulk of the lighting was supplied by Fourth Phase.
Having implemented the design of Barcode/Galactic Circus, Design One is also responsible for its maintenance, which requires constant vigilance, as games are introduced or moved around on a regular basis, calling for frequent refocusing of lighting. As long as it exists, Barcode will keep the spirit of the old Times Square alive for a new generation.