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Sound Division Helps Inception Group Recreate Golden Age of Disco

Sound Division Helps Inception Group Recreate Golden Age of Disco
Sound Division Helps Inception Group Recreate Golden Age of Disco

The golden era of Disco, which started in 1970s Manhattan, has now been recaptured by Charlie Gilkes and Duncan Stirling (of Inception Group) in a Soho basement. Renowned for their innovative concepts, Disco is a revival of this important nightlife idiom and features choreographed routines from singers and dancers, as well as nightly live performances from musicians.

Helping to bring this heavily themed venue to life with some inspired LED and discharge lighting that recreates the zeitgeist is the Sound Division Group. Said their MD, David Graham: “LED wasn’t even around back in the ‘70s but the way in which we have mixed it with beam and flower FX represents the idiom sympathetically.”

Design wise, Disco showcases a cool and quirky interior, featuring entire walls of retro televisions beaming out music videos and a nostalgic collection of iconic images of revelers from the disco era. Other walls are adorned by colourful roller skates, nightlife memorabilia, and the bar is even mocked up to resemble a vintage fairground stall.

Designed to capture the spirit of Studio 54, the venue also evokes memories of the days when air travel was glamorous. For on arrival guests are greeted at a Pan Am-inspired lounge where air stewardesses issue boarding passes and check personal items into the cloakroom via an automated conveyor belt before entering the club through an aeroplane door.

Continues Graham: “We have known of Inception Group for a long time and when Duncan approached us to say they were planning to open a 1970’s retro theme club the prospect sounded exciting, as I know they have a flair for creative design.

“At the same time we have built up a reputation in West End clubland for specialist LED lighting design and installation.”

Sound Division looked at the best, and most cost-effective way of highlighting a variety of features, including staircase balustrading, rear wall seating, bar bottle risers and so on with large quantities of LED RGB ribbon tape, but also creating a centre-piece ceiling feature over the main staircase entrance.

The latter sees a series of some 70 x 12in vinyl records at different levels but with the centres bored out and each fitted with a 2W RGB X-Dome LED. The 70 LED’s are individually controlled and programmed to create a vibrant lighting effect

Lighting has also been sensitively applied to the Pan-Am reception foyer, lounge and signage, a world map, and oval shaped ceiling coffers, which have all been lit with the individually pixel controlled, recessed RGB LED ribbon tape.

On arrival into the club itself guests are immediately arrested by a striking illuminated pigeon hole feature, with each of the 15 cells containing a roller skate. Every cell is fitted with its own RGB Pol 40 LED spot — each individually controlled and colour changed by the matrix driver to create infinite chases.

Another design highlight is a peacock sunrise fan, an idea inspired by Duncan Stirling, and turned into reality with 11 individually controlled LED strips in different lengths. It has been brought to life by a total of 30 metres of Pixel Line LED RGB pixel strips, programmed with a number of eye catching lighting scenes. The LED strips are housed behind a smoked glass mirror and are only visible once this feature is turned on which creates a real wow factor.

Over the dancefloor, Inception Group were anxious to recapture the spirit of the early ‘disco’ beam FX, and four Chauvet Intimidator Q-Spot 250 compact moving spots are positioned overhead, along with a pair of Chauvet Obsession LED 2.0 Light Flowers — one under the arches in each of the lounges. Added to this is a Chauvet Megatrix LED Disco Light Effect and Hemisphere 5.1 centrepiece, Positioned in front of the Disco ball-designed DJ booth is a ceiling feature comprising a cluster of further 4 “, 6” and 8” static mirrorballs to help preserve the authenticity.

These beam effects are enhanced by a Martin Magnum 2500 haze machine and punctuated by a Pulsar Demon strobe.

For control, Sound Division specified a state of the art ShowCAD Artist 512 Microsoft Windows based show control software package, with fully configured 17in ELO touchscreen monitors, to drive eight DMX universes — fully supported by ShowCAD’s Rowland Hughes.

However, the client wished to have the house lighting integrated within the ShowCAD control environment and so Sound Division have deployed Anytronics Anyscene 23 Preset Programmable DMX Scene Recall Units — both inside the front door and at the DJ booth — powered by Anytronics dimmer packs. This not only fulfils the request but allows different scene settings, appropriate to changing periods in the venue’s trading cycle, to be enabled.

Summing up, Duncan Stirling said: “Both Charlie and I wanted to create a venue that transcends the entire Disco era, and the lighting was obviously a key element in this process.

“Through the light installations and the efforts of the talented team at Sound Division, our new venue will truly bring the Disco genre to those that witnessed it first time around and to those for whom it will be an entirely new experience.“

David Graham commented: “Disco really needs to be experienced first hand to fully appreciate its colourful and imaginative interior design. It certainly recaptures the spirit of club life in the 1970’s.”

The Inception Group also owns and operates Chelsea speakeasy Barts, 80s themed nightclub, Maggie’s, the acclaimed Bunga Bunga, described as “The Englishman’s Italian Bar, Pizzeria & Karaoke Venue” in Battersea, and Mr Fogg’s, a Mayfair based bar modelled on Phileas Fogg.

31st July 2013

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