American college students may be surprised to hear this, but one new hot club in the UK is a permanent installation at the Leeds University Student Union. The club, named Stylus, is located in the basement of the building. The venue, originally a courtyard surrounded by buildings on all four sides, was filled in to create a four-floor space that includes offices, a bar, supermarket, game room, various shops, and other meeting places, including Stylus, which can accommodate up to 1,250 people. The club is described on the University's website as “a dramatic transformation combining seductive curves, industrial modernist themes, and practical screened areas.”
Technical manager Jon Morris began searching for a lighting rig that was visually appealing and cost-effective; he contacted Promedia Systems, based in Harpenden, England. The firm proposed using Coemar's LX wash and spotlight range. The list was put together by Matt Bate and George Bailey of Promedia, in consultation with Morris. There was no generic lighting in the space at all, which meant that the moving lights have to have maximum range and versatility. The other big challenge was space — Stylus' ceiling height is quite low, even though it was extended by excavating the ground beneath the building.
Bate, Bailey, and Morris assembled a rig that included 10 Coemar Pro Spot LX and six Pro Wash units; both models were designed to offer the features of a professional moving-yoke light in a compact housing (these were in turn supplied by Coe-Tech, Coemar's UK distributor). In addition, the Pro Wash has a 250W MSD light source that was deemed most appropriate for the space. The package was completed by a pair of TAS strobes.
Control is provided by an Avolites Azure 2000 console, which is marketed as offering lots of functionality at a reasonable price. Morris adds he needed a hands-on, easy-to-use product. (He is a fan of Avolites, saying, “They pay so much attention to detail;” also, he and his staff wanted to use Avolites' training facilities to learn the console.) The board has caught on in UK clubs. In London, it is used in Fabric, La Scala, Ocean Music Centre, the Roadhouse, and Hanover Grand; elsewhere, it is used in CODE in Birmingham, and Archaos in Glasgow.
Since opening, Stylus has maintained a Thursday-through-Saturday schedule, with varied events. Tuesdays are given over to Flightclub, the local student house club night. Thursdays and Fridays are also broad-based chart/pop nights, with Saturdays dedicated to a more sophisticated mix of music (the club is also available to external promoters on this night). A popular theme, Brighton Beach, has become a regular fixture at the club, and a house night, Love to Be, is also in the mix. For those looking for more music, Bar Coda, located next to Stylus, is also open.
Morris says that he is totally satisfied with the finished club: “It looks great. For a relatively cost-effective spend, we certainly have the means to produce stunning light shows and plenty of capacity to add fixtures in the future.” Stylus should have a long and happy future as an object of graduate studies.
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