The hospitality business is a fickle beast at best and nowhere is that more apparent than in the club scene. How do club owners ensure their patrons' experience is such that they'll want to come back, especially when the club is catering to distinctly different groups?
When undertaking the redevelopment of the Singapore nightclub Zouk, the design team was mindful of satisfying a demanding audience, as well as preserving the existing philosophy that had made the club such a success previously.
Designer Phillips Connor says the solution was to expand on the base philosophy, giving it a contemporary update that was realised as a modular shell that would sit over the existing facade, creating a look that could then be further expanded upon within.
"Zouk has always had a strong organic ethic, so the shell reinforces that, and the forms developed within are a continuation of that foundation."
The design brief called for inclusion of the most innovative products available and these start at the entrance with the use of Italian metamorphosi lighting a three-colour mixed lighting system that projects white light onto surfaces while objects within the space cast tri-coloured shadows in red, green and blue.
Continuing the new design experience, patrons move from the foyer to the main club through a light tunnel. Constructed of multi-layered resinous panels containing hundreds of LEDs, the tunnel is linked to the club's lighting and sound systems, making it an ever-changeable, almost amorphous experience for patrons of the main club.
"As with any club, access needs to be controlled - that's why the entry experience is so important. The lighting system, the tunnel and the rest, all work to build anticipation, to concentrate attention on what is going to happen, not what is happening."
Another factor to consider in the redesign of any club is the historical success of the venue and the potential to undo all that has gone before. In this instance that was particularly true of the venue's Velvet Underground club.
"Although we took that on board, we didn't get too intimidated by it. Zouk, as a brand, is synonymous with innovation, that's what people have come to expect, and Velvet is establishing its own brand identity within that."