As all dedicated readers of Lighting Dimensions know, Italy is the club capital of the world. Any Italian city of any size has one or more outrageously designed dance palaces. In addition, the SIB show, the official debut spot for club lighting and sound equipment (and carnival for club kids), is held in Rimini, also known as the birthplace of Federico Fellini (two facts which are surely connected in some mystical way).

But if Italy is the world leader in clubs, running a very close second is Belgium. That's right, Belgium. Although most Americans would not automatically think of Belgium as a hot spot for high-stepping nightlife, in fact, the little country is home to an enormous number of interestingly designed clubs. In the past couple of years, a partial list of new clubs to open there would include Bel-Air, Boccacio Dreamland, Cafe d'Anvers, De Molen, Double 88 Saloon, Fuse, Katsu Club, La Bush, La Strada, Le Baroc, Reflex, Scala, and Tropicana. Take that, Italy.

These clubs all feature lighting equipment by Martin Professional. Whatever they are like, none can be as surreal as Club Zillion, the latest Martin project, which opened in Antwerp late in 1997. Located in a former sports complex, Club Zillion is designed to offer clubgoers a bizarre, almost hallucinogenic, experience. Where else can you dance along with two 12'-tall (4m) robots, while synchronized swimmers perform a water ballet in a giant glass aquarium and a huge spider clasps its legs around a moving dance floor? We won't even mention the club's scale, except to say that it can accommodate 5,000 patrons. Clearly, when these people say Club Zillion, they mean it.

Martin supplied lighting and sound equipment to Club Zillion through its local distributor, EVDV. It's a complete package, with JEM fog machines coming into play as well. The equipment is combined to create an often surreal show which has proved sufficiently successful to draw curiosity seekers from neighboring countries, including France, Germany, and Holland (apparently, prices here are quite reasonable for a club in the area).

The lighting package is certainly the most complex aspect of Club Zillion, which brings us back to those spider legs. The main rig for the dance floor is designed to look like an enormous spider; the legs are covered with 14 Roboscan Pro 1220s, 46 Pro 518s, and 152 Roboscan 812s, along with 25 RoboColor Pro 400s and 68 RoboColor II color changers. Any club that fits 5,000 is going to take a lot of equipment.

But that's not the end of the lighting plot. There are 15 PAL 1200s used around the club's two stages, as well as 19 MAC 1200 moving heads; 11 of these are floor-mounted with MAC domes for protection from damage. MACs are also used to provide a sense of movement from the floor. Overall, Club Zillion has something like 227 scanners of different types in use, along with 94 RoboColors, plus such items as RoboZaps and Punishers.

A lighting rig as elaborate as this requires a complex control system. Club Zillion has an array of control equipment that includes a Martin CASE 2 desk, plus an Avolites Diamond desk, a Martin 3032 PC package, and two Martin 2510 controllers.

Other entertainment features of the club include a three-dimensional video system, a laser show, a nightly pyrotechnic display, and a giant motorized propeller that can fill the venue with fog in seconds. The fog is delivered via a JEM Heavy Fog 6500. Other effects equipment includes two JEM HOT 2000 Hydrosonics and JEM pyrotechnics.

With the fog system going full-tilt, patrons get a larger-than-life experience that distinguishes Club Zillion from its competitors on the crowded Belgian club scene. The MACH sound system in Club Zillion is the largest that the company has installed in a club (50,000W); aside from the MACH speakers, it includes amplifiers by Ecler.

Although it is still quite new, Club Zillion appears to be on a roll, having attracted interest from numerous companies wanting to use the venue for corporate launches and fashion shows. In addition, the Flemish TV station VTM plans to host a music series from the site.

With a club of this scale as only part of the overall landscape, it would appear that Belgium may soon be as world-famous as Italy for its nightlife. After all, you can go to all kinds of clubs in Italy, but only in Antwerp can you become a Zillion-aire.

Lighting Equipment (10) Martin1 PAL 1200s (5) Martin PAL 1200s (effects version) (19) Martin MAC 1200s (14) Martin Roboscan Pro 1220 RPRs (46) Martin Roboscan Pro 518s (152) Martin Roboscan 812s (6) Martin Imagescans (19) Martin RoboColor Pro 400s (7) Martin RoboColor Fiber Optics (68) Martin RoboColor IIs (5) Martin RoboZap MSR 1200s (40) Martin Punishers (11) Martin MAC Domes (1) Martin CASE 2 console (1) Martin 3032 PC package (2) Martin 2510 controllers (1) Avolites152 Diamond II desk (1) JEM Heavy Fog 6500 (2) JEM HOT 2000 Hydrosonics JEM pyrotechnics