Bottling up the moving image.
By Ceci Valdes-Shaw
Photos by Realisations.net/Nicholas Ruel
120 bottles of screen on
the wall… 120 bottles of screen…
The idea of bottles on a wall is usually associated with grating
childhood chants, but in Las Vegas’ posh Teatro Bar,
the newest nighttime property inside the MGM Grand Hotel,
it’s positively sensual.
The concept of watching evocative video images encased in
individual glass bottles sprung from the artistic collaboration
of world-renowned interior designer Adam Tihany of Tihany
Design, and the team of video specialists at Montreal’s
Realisations. With help from custom lighting fixture builders
Lumid, they conceived and installed a 15’ x 40’
“bottled” video wall inside Teatro.
Tihany’s past projects include hotels, exhibits, and
restaurants all over the world, most notably Vegas’
Aureole, where his four-story wine cellar centerpiece, composed
of glass and steel, pays post-modern homage to the New York
skyscraper. The Realisations team is best known for its work
on the Club World Award-winning video system at Tabu Ultra-Lounge,
also inside the MGM Grand. They created the moving “fashion
imagery” famously projected onto the tables and bar
tops, which helped land Tabu on the cover of Time in July.
Tihany’s creativity and Realisations’ past success
with projectors set the six-month bottle project in motion.
Inserting a video image inside a bottle would not be easy,
but they were determined. “We wanted to create an atmosphere
of the memories and sophistication associated with a drink,”
explained Realisations VP Ron Morisette.
But the team’s first and most desirable screen-and-bottle
prototype, using LCD screens, was unsuccessful. “For
many reasons, we would have preferred to use flexible LCD
screens,” Morisette said. “They’re lighter
in weight and therefore would have been easier to work with.”
But similar to what happens with a laptop computer, the images
weren’t clear when viewed from an angle. A few pounds
later, they decided to use CRT screens instead, which displayed
a unified image from any viewing angle.
Controlled by WATCHOUT video software, a multi-display production
and presentation system for moving image files, the CRT screens
were placed on shelves behind a metal sheet wall, painted
red to compliment Teatro’s décor. The clear one
liter bottles were literally sliced vertically, just behind
the neck to preserve the curve, and inserted into bottle-shaped
openings, precut into the trusty metal sheet. The sheet ultimately
serves as a wall to hide the CRT border, and as a window between
the screens and the front of the bottle, through which the
six different video tracks are viewed.
But 120 bottles weren’t enough. Realisations decided
to throw in a little extra visual effect and installed three
Christie LX45 and four NEC LT260K video projectors, supplied
by Solotech, in front of the bottled wall, projecting more
images onto the already visual-soaked slab.
Teatro at The MGM Grand
3799 Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, Nevada; www.mgmgrand.com
to: Teatro |
A laidback lounge gets industrial
By Seth Ashley
Photos by James Crotty
What could an Air Force base in Utah, a Las Vegas recreation
park, and the new Vue Ultra Lounge in Dayton, Ohio possibly
have in common? All three feature the same futuristic tool
as the heart of their lighting designs.
Commonly used as an industrial architectural fixture, 3M’s
Light Pipe employs the company’s prismatic Optical Lighting
Film, which reflects light from a single source down the length
of a long (up to 64 feet) polycarbonate pipe without losing
intensity. Light Pipes work well in architectural applications
because they create a soft, even wash of light with no dark
spots: This is particularly important to, say, a mechanic
working on an F-16 fighter jet in a cavernous airplane hangar.
But how does it translate in a nightclub setting?
“It looks absolutely awesome,” says Luke Liakos,
owner of Vue and several other Dayton-area clubs, including
Diamonds Cabaret and Total Xposure. “No one else in
the country has used it in this type of application.”
Vue features five pieces of Light Pipe that illuminate a ceiling
cutaway; a 10-foot-wide asymmetrical swath of white that splits
the orange ceiling in two. Martin Architectural’s Alien
02 fixtures provide the light source for each section of pipe,
and bathe the white ceiling in a near-infinite array of colors
thanks to their CMY color mixing capability.
But the Light Pipe isn’t the only thing that makes Vue
unique. An interactive video installation and Liakos’
custom-designed décor add to the one-of-a-kind vibe
that blends the brazen glamour of Las Vegas with the laidback
atmosphere of a hip East Village lounge.
More Stuff, Less Space
When Liakos first decided to open a new club, he set his sights
on an 8,000-square-foot venue that suffered from a parking
space shortage. When neighborhood residents blocked his request
to create more parking, Liakos opted for a smaller 2,300-square-foot
location in a residential shopping center near one of his
adult clubs. Dave Chesal, entertainment and leisure segment
manager of Martin Professional, worked with Liakos to make
sure that, in this case, size didn’t matter.
“Because there’s not a lot of square footage,
we had to pack a little of everything into a small space,”
Chesal says. They agreed not to skimp on the details and to
treat the club as if it was situated in a major market. Liakos
had an initial budget of $200,000, but didn’t stop spending
until he had invested more than $400,000 in his new venture.
“We wanted to spend the money to do it right,”
Liakos says. “When I do stuff, I like to do it right.
I don’t like to half-ass anything, which gives me trouble
The first ingredient was the Light Pipe, a choice that Chesal
calls “an innovation in club lighting.” Liakos
first learned about the product from Chesal at Martin’s
booth at the 2003 Lighting Dimensions International convention
in Las Vegas.
“Luke is a pioneer in the sense that he thought outside
the box and was willing to accept architectural fixtures as
the thrust for the entire lighting design,” Chesal says.
The six-inch pipe segments range from six to 15 feet in length,
and with their continuous 360-degree spread, they light up
the ceiling as well as the crowd below. The Martin Alien 02’s
fill the tubes with light from their 6,000-hour lamps, and
are operated from a LightJockey DMX controller.
Extra illumination is provided by the bar’s recessed
and track lighting, with MR-16 lamps and colored glass lenses.
Chauvet’s LED-filled Color Tubes line the bar’s
liquor tier and make the bottles appear to change color. And
a set of five Martin MiniMAC Profile moving heads broadcast
the Vue logo around the space.
She Sees You, Baby
If the lights don’t stimulate the senses of Vue’s
patrons, add to the mix 13 NEC 42” plasma screen televisions
and a video jukebox. According to Chesal, club video is more
than a craze. “Everyday, from the small lounge in Dayton,
Ohio, to the huge dance club in Houston, Texas, video is a
vital part of the entertainment package,” Chesal says.
“There has to be a cohesive bond between sound, lighting
Camera’s are part of the package too, but at Vue, it’s
not Big Brother who’s watching, it’s Big Sister.
Images from strategically placed lenses in the bar appear
on closed-circuit plasma screen televisions in the women’s
restroom, so the ladies can keep an eye on their guy or scout
for Mr. Right. There’s even a special bar just for the
Custom-designed carpet from Milliken Carpet and furniture
by Grafton Furniture Company unify Vue’s décor
in a complementary blue and orange motif. Granite bathrooms,
marble bar tops, and two fireplaces are some of Liakos’
“It’s a lounge suited for New York or London,”
says Paul Noah, promotions and marketing director for In Your
Face Agency, which handles Vue’s publicity. “Luke
doesn’t screw around. When he does something, he does
it in a big way.”
Despite Vue’s upscale, tech-savvy appearance, there’s
no dress code and everyone is welcome. “We’re
not interested in excluding anyone,” Noah says. “You
might get away with that in New York, but here we want to
Vue even goes out of its way to include the staffs of other
local bars and restaurants with its Wednesday Service Industry
Night (SIN) featuring a prize for the biggest bar tab. And
for those all-night partiers, Vue reopens at 5 a.m. every
Saturday for their Pajama Party, where even the bar staff
wears their bedroom attire.
It might not be Vegas or New York, but at Vue, sometimes it
might feel like it.
1004 Miamisburg Centerville Road
Dayton, Ohio, 45459