Absolut Disco is the toast of Italy's Lake Garda

Unlike many clubs, where the high-pressure scene is marked by plenty of noise, crowds, and in-your-face lighting, a new club, Absolut, located on Italy's Lake Garda, aims for a homey atmosphere. It's a place to unwind rather than run wild.

Lake Garda, located in Italy's northwest, is a popular vacation spot for Europeans (it is relatively unknown to Americans). In fact, there are numerous clubs nestled in the green hills surrounding the lake. In 2001, Absolut was taken over by Massimo and Giampiero Gallina, who set about renovating the venue with the intention of giving it a unique character.

Art director Ezio Amaboldi designed an elegant and spacious interior, with lots of comfortable sofas and dark wood tables. (The effect is more like a giant living room than a glitzy nighclub environment.) The most unusual design aspect is the summer garden, which is lined up with loungers, giving the impression that one has stumbled into an elaborate sleepover party. There's also a gazebo located on the far side of the club's garden; it is separated from the rest of the area by a curtain, making it a kind of de facto VIP room.

This is still a dance club, however, and the rig includes six Clay Paky Mini Scan HPE and four Tiger Scan CC units. These are suitable choices given their compact size, appropriate for venues with relatively low ceilings. The Mini Scans also have a wide color palette and a series of dynamic graphic effects. The Tiger Scan adds other features, including two-color and rainbow effects, to the mix. Outside, in the surrounding garden, CP Color 150-E color-changing units, designed to light facades, monuments, and fountains in outdoor applications, are used to create an inviting atmosphere. These units go through their paces, making slow chromatic changes all night long; the slowly shifting colors add to the atmosphere outdoors. More CP Color units are used to light the gazebo and other locations. Fog is provided by two Clay Paky Golden Fog 2000 units and control is handled by a Pulsar Masterpiece console.

The music at Absolut features a 1970s/80s dance mix on Fridays and a Latin theme on Saturdays. There are plenty of live jazz performances, too. Whatever is featured, the style is low-key. It's a place to drink, chat, listen to music, and lounge in luxury.

Contact the author at dbarbour@primediabusiness.com.