Nightclub fitout a haven of tech

by Media Xpose

An exciting high tech fitout, described by a Cape Town nightclub owner as “Lady Gaga in a Lamborghini” has raised the bar on both design and technology standards.

Trevor Mclean-Anderson, the owner of HALO, says that the club has quickly become renowned for its provocative, glamorous, and immersive experiences, offering club-goers a chance to “step into a world beyond”.

Grant Johnson, founder and director of Conduit Interior (, shares insights into the project. “We were tasked with turning HALO from a previously derelict nightclub into a two-storey masterpiece.

“It features the Groove Lounge on the upper level, a premium cocktail and social lounge, and the Main Room on the lower level, a world-class clubbing venue. They both deliver quintessential immersive light and sound experiences, with an interior that appeals to a discerning clientele who seek to amplify their senses in a ‘world beyond’,” he adds.

Upon entering the club, guests are immediately immersed in a double-storey wraparound screen accentuated by one-way mirrored walls. The main route deeper into the Groove Lounge is flanked by VIP lounge areas, including the organic Jungle VIP Area and the electronic Mesh VIP Area, each offering a unique and captivating experience; picture holograms, flying space whales, and ever-evolving screens that slowly come alive over the course of the evening.

Improved flow and accessibility

Conduit Interior addressed previous layout issues by strategically reworking the club’s layout to improve flow and accessibility.

The main bar, a technological marvel in itself, is now centrally positioned, featuring moving displays behind shelves showcasing organic flowing artwork and premium liquor bottles. Mirrors on the ceiling double the volume, creating a mesmerising visual effect, transforming the backbar into a full ‘halo’.

A second entrance leads guests to the Basement Main Room, introducing them through a tunnel of light with a handmade sculptural spaceman overhead. The world-class nightclub atmosphere is further enhanced by a Funktion-One sound system imported from the UK.

The tech, lighting and the audio

Anton Sinovich, a Funktion-One distributor and sound fanatic from Phuture Sound, took exceptional care of everything sound-related in HALO.

“In designing the sound system for HALO, we went out to use the latest technology of the best sound system available, a 100% Funktion-One Sound System. The extremely low bass speakers used downstairs stand out in that they contain the most powerful moving coil electromagnet device ever to be used.”

What also sets the sound at HALO apart from other nightclubs is the ability to hold a conversation while the music is loud, where you can clearly hear the music as well as understand what the person next to you is saying.

Sinovich explains, “This is a combination of having a great sound system that delivers a full frequency spectrum of sound with low distortion within an acoustically treated room that has been custom designed to house that sound system. It often goes unnoticed. If you leave a venue at 3am after listening to loud music with a wide range of sharp frequencies, and your ears aren’t ringing, or your head isn’t hurting, you have likely experienced this synergy.”

Gregg Fox of Supersonic Acoustic Solutions and his skilled team played an integral part in the acoustic treatment at HALO. He explains that certain areas needed sound dampening, while others needed more life and reflection to achieve the desired sound experience.

“Very careful attention was taken acoustically to treat all areas of this space according to what the required use of that space was. For example, the dance floor was treated for extreme comfort at high volume. However, in the bar and VIP seating areas, staff need to hear customers to ensure orders are accurate and service is of a very high standard. So customer orders must be intelligible – a priority.”

Paul Bowling of Eyecom, LED experts who partnered with Conduit to create the visual experience, needed to take the sound system into consideration too.

“When cladding the dancefloor ceiling with TV’s, our challenge was to ensure the highest resolution possible, whilst not forgetting we had to maintain a 50/50 coverage for audio and avoid creating reflective surfaces which would distort the Funktion-One sound.

“Upping the tech bar, every video element in the whole club is controlled by Resolume. Content is mapped to the different displays via two control PC’s allowing total freedom to accommodate international DJ’s and VJ’s,” continues Bowling.

“In theory the whole club can become one huge display or every single display can operate independently giving the operator ultimate control and ensuring a future proof system.”

Avoiding design clichés

Johnson says: “To avoid design  for the bar counter, we searched far and wide to source glass insulation disks from electricity pylons. We fitted each of these with individually programmed LEDs and clad them onto the bar counter.”

Interestingly, The glass discs are the same units used in the construction of high voltage power line pylons. They insulate the steel pylon towers from the high voltage electricity cables, and prevent the power jumping from the cable onto the steel structure.

They were sourced from an electrical supplies company, mounted onto steel posts to make up the front of the bar counter, and then wrapped with the programmable LED ribbons. Each chip in the LED ribbon is individually mapped and so there is full control over this display via the software.

“This is a first for a nightclub in the world,” he adds.

Johnson also emphasised the importance of addressing practical concerns, stating, “While the look, feel, sight, and sound of HALO will be a talking point for years to come, we wanted to ensure that people won’t be talking about issues like overheating or bathroom shortages.”

Conduit Interior demolished and rebuilt the bathrooms, significantly improving facilities and implementing an advanced air conditioning system to guarantee a comfortable experience for patrons.

Sinovich says: “There is typically a tug-of-war that happens in setting up a new venue between what sounds good and what looks good.

“HALO is proof that these two objectives do not have to be mutually exclusive. However, we have yet to see this happen haphazardly or accidentally. It takes a great deal of planning and coordination between sound, lighting, and architectural interiors that surprisingly rarely occurs to achieve the desired outcome of a venue like HALO.”

Johnson adds that Conduit Interior is a proud member of IID, SACAP, and GBCSA.

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