From beats to bytes, much has changed since Edmond and Garnik Galoostian opened their Covina, CA, nightclub, originally called Wings, two decades ago. So the brother-partners decided that a little spicing up of their establishment was in order. They changed the club's name to Spice and gave it a complete makeover, rehauling everything from the carpeting and furniture to the lighting and bar walls.
“We wanted to draw a more upscale crowd,” explains Edmond Galoostian. “After 20 years, things were looking a little stale. We wanted to upgrade our club to look like the ones we saw in Vegas and Hollywood.”
But the Galoostians didn't want to make any structural changes to their building, which is located along the stretch of Interstate-10, known as the San Bernardino Freeway. At top clubs in Las Vegas and elsewhere, they had seen how color-changing LED lighting fixtures could dramatically impact an establishment's ambience. “Many of the hottest clubs were using LEDs, and they'd have the colors change to create different atmospheres,” says Galoostian. “We realized this would be a great way to give our club a whole new look, without requiring any major structural overhauls.” Thus, the Galoostians decided to make LED technology a central part of their new design. Working with independent installers Michael Rodriguez and Alex Ramirez, the brothers chose a package of lighting fixtures and controllers from Elation Professional.
Included in the package are eight Octostrip LED systems, each consisting of eight RGB color-changing sticks, which are manufactured by Alkalite and distributed in North America exclusively by Elation. The Octostrips are used to splash and change colors on a large stretch of curtains, creating one of Club Spice's more dramatic features, a 150' wall of colored light along the windows that border the I-10 freeway. This display of changing colors can be seen from outside on the highway, as well as in the club, generating much drive-by exposure for Spice.
Inside the club, the LED curtains have the desired atmosphere-enhancing effect, says Galoostian. “We use the LEDs to create totally different moods, simply by hitting a button and changing the colors,” he says. “You can come into the club and the curtain wall will be all red; then we'll shift everything to blue. We can do so much with our Octostrips — strobe, chase, change colors slowly or quickly — to give everything a different look.”
Octostrip LEDs are also used to create a color-changing wall behind one of Spice's two bars, which is located closest to the entrance. The Galoostians installed 3'×4' shower glass panels (purchased at Ikea) on the backside of the bar. “When the lights hit the wall, the whole bar changes colors,” says Galoostian.
The disco area, which features a mix of house, hip-hop, R&B, and some Spanish rock, is located between the two bars. Around its perimeter is a seating area, where eight Elation Focus Spot-250 moving heads are installed, sweeping revolving colorful beams and patterns around the dance floor. “The moving heads are great, because they have so many images and programs,” says Galoostian.
To operate their moving heads, LEDs and other lights, the Galoostians chose two Elation Show Designer controllers. One controller is used strictly for LEDs, while the other operates the rest of the fixtures, among which are four Vision Color-250 static color changers and eight Vision Scan-575 scanners.
The Galoostians also designed an appropriately spicy new logo, featuring the club's name in vivid red letters with a martini glass running through it. The “i” in “Spice” forms the stem of the glass, and its red dot is part of the olive in the martini. This eye-catching logo is projected on the outside of the building using Elation Image Pro-300 gobo projectors.
The renovation project took about two-and-half months, during which time the club remained open. “We remodeled half of the club at a time and kept the other half going,” says Galoostian, noting that this was possible was because the project went so smoothly.
Club Spice held its grand reopening in May, and since then, has been drawing a mix of new and old patrons, all of whom are “really excited when they come in; they love the look,” reports Galoostian. The club is currently open Thursday through Sunday, because the partners want to “concentrate on the best four nights, then see what happens from there.”