Design firm Visual Terrain used LEDs to create a magical theatrical experience at the Silk Club in the Pechango Resort & Casino.

The Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians has called the Temecula valley in Southern California home for more than 10,000 years, with it being designated reservation land in more recent times. In early 2001, the Pechanga Development Corporation, tribal council and gaming commission broke ground to build the US$262 million Pechanga Resort & Casino complex, completed in June 2002. Silk the Club was added in 2005. The nightclub is self-described as “the hottest nightclub in all of Southern California,” and features a lighting system that creates a “mesmerizing glow” and “warm hues and textures” for its exclusive clientele.

The club’s owners required a dynamic club lighting system that could evolve and change with the facility’s personality over the course of an evening. They also wanted a “wow” factor for the nightclub that would impress visitors and build the “buzz” that would help solidify its reputation as one of Southern California’s most desirable new clubs.

The solution was a fully integrated and programmable solid-state lighting system interlocked with the sound system under the DJ’s direct control. The design criteria included washing the space with all indirect color-changing light to create the sensation that the surfaces were glowing. This was accomplished with floor-to ceiling, motion-sensitive LED light panels and cylinders that radiate with pulsing light. The end result is that the guests entering the club are drenched in liquid color and infused with electrical kinetic energy. Silk the Club is predominantly surfaced in white with black-and-chrome accent. During the course of the evening, as the color-changing light shifts, the movement of the guests is silhouetted against the shimmering surfaces, creating a space that appears to be fluid.

This fully integrated sound and light system enables the DJ to manage the club’s mood, ambience and setting throughout the evening as the night progresses, and when an up-tempo shift in the club atmosphere is detected. At the point at which the DJ would start ramping up the music, he or she simply presses one of four “palettes” of color on a touch screen to adjust the lighting to achieve the desired effect. Integrated control over this dynamic colored lighting system enables the DJ to apply his experience, thereby maximizing the excitement and enjoyment of the evening.

“Above the dance floor, we took Destiny CG luminaires, with their rectangular wash light, and put them on ‘C’ clamps to provide a wash effect on the floor," explains Peter Maradudin, principal designer, VisualTerrain. "Integrated with the brushed stainless steel floor, the CG luminaires created a magical, artistic, theatrical lighting effect in which the blue and red points of light intermingle on the floor to create a dazzling gradation of color to purple. It has to be seen to be believed, but the floor color combination has the impressionistic feel of a Monet or Seurat painting. This effect was not planned for; it came as the result of serendipity, but to stunning effect.”

TIR Systems' contribution to this solution was supplying products from its Destiny Series of luminaires to illuminate four major sections within the nightclub.

The first area is a lobby at the base of a huge rotunda that receives natural sunlight during the day. More than sixty TIR Destiny CV luminaires have been installed behind the glass-walled curve of space, evenly spaced at both the top and bottom of the glass. These luminaires stream colored light down and up, meeting in the middle and providing an even glow to the glass — which stands out during the day and showcases the rotunda at night.

“The front entry rotunda into the club makes use of 35–40 frosted glass panels that are 20 feet high and four to five feet wide. The entire area is about 150 by 20 feet, and in this space we have 60–70 TIR Destiny CV fixtures delivering any range of color and a pattern of movement that is visible from both sides of the glass," Maradudin says. "The fixtures are located at the bottom and top of each glass panel, and provide a smooth gradation of color that changes according to a set program. It’s quite intriguing and provides a unique visual interest to the entryway.”

In another area of the nightclub, white sofas line the walls where Destiny DLs provide columns of subtly changing low-key lighting. These units are recessed into the walls, while their wide optics provide an undulating wash effect on the vertical surfaces. This wave effect is accentuated with the program of light designed to have one color slowly chase the next around the space throughout the evening and into the early morning hours.

In another area, Destiny CVs are positioned behind leather sofas, washing color up the walls in one-foot segments that are independently controlled. The colors, chosen effectively, demarcate private “booths” that become progressively more private as the evening grows older and the lighting becomes dimmer. In fact, these luminaires are digitally programmable and operate at a mere 30% of their top output to deliver the desired low-key lighting effect.

“In the VIP seating areas, we organized strings of CV fixtures for each VIP couch and private area. These were programmed down to one-foot segments, so that each VIP area has its own lighting effect managed by the DJ within the house system," Maradudin explains. "The program is set up for an hour, and then restarts. Of course, by that time the DJ may have moved the system to the next lighting program.”

Finally, above the brushed metal main dance floor, Destiny CG luminaires were hung on ‘C’ clamps to provide reflective wash color on the floor to create a magical aura for the dancers that changes constantly with the music as the club’s mood changes over the evening.

Maradudin used Show Control by Island Systems to develop four different palettes of color-changing programming for both inside and outside the club and are called night 1, night 2, night 3 and night 4. "We have a touch screen the DJ uses to set the mood by changing the lighting as the night goes on, similar to what he is doing with the music," he says. "The Destiny CGs are architectural luminaires, but we find they work very well as theatrical lights in this setting. Combined with the brushed stainless steel dance floor, the ambience and nightclub feel is remarkable.”