The Experimental Club


Mexico's Biosofera makes art out of science

By Elisabeth Gibbons

Who would have thought that the concept behind a science experiment would make for an interesting nightclub? The 1000-capacity Biosfera is a techno-enhanced biosphere, an equally organic and synthetic world inside a visually stunning, dome-centered structure. The club’s original architecture and futuristic details form a perfect team with its up-to-date sound, lighting, and effects systems.

Biosfera is located in the city of Guadalajara, Mexico’s second largest with a population of eight million. With so many people, Guadalajara offers a wide variety of entertainment centers, but none like Biosfera. The club is a success thanks to a combination of many factors, not least of which is the cooperation between its owner, installer, and key manufacturers.

Reluctance Undone
According to owner Roberto Godoy Sing, an entrepreneur in the Guadalajara nightclub industry and owner of two other nightclubs, “We wanted to offer a place for the upscale people of Guadalajara. But in order to attract that type of clientele we needed to create something different, something that nobody else offers. That is how we came with that idea of Biosfera.”

To help with audio as well as the lighting side of the project, well-known installer and designer Alexander Escobar from Audio e Iluminacion Profesional was contacted. He was immediately interested in the project, and chose Martin Professional distributor Wagner Internacional to be the main supplier of gear. Escobar and Wagner Internacional have collaborated before, working together to design and install several other sound and lighting systems in central Mexico.

“When I was approached by Roberto Godoy Sing and he explained the idea that he had about the club, I thought about Wagner Internacional right away, since they are the exclusive distributors for Martin in Mexico,” Escobar explained. “A few months before this I had met directly with executives from Martin, Juan Alegria and Morten Gjotz, who had explained a new [company] concept they call ‘Total Club Supplier,’ by which I could offer my client a single supplier for his entire nightclub – Martin in lighting, Mach in sound, and Jem in fog machines. This has proved to be a big advantage not only for the club owner but also for the installer, since you only have to worry about one supplier and can therefore focus your attention more on the design and installation part.”

While Martin and Jem were established names in their respective industries, Escober was at first concerned about using the less-known Mach. “As far as the lighting [and effects] systems, there was not a single doubt about Martin and Jem, but that was not the case about Mach, since it was a brand new line of speakers in Mexico, and I hardly knew anything about them except that it was the same company as Martin Professional.” But as work on Biosfera commenced, Escober ran across another project for which Mach speakers were specified, and “the results were so positive that I wanted to use Mach in Biosfera as well.”

A New Top
The Mach speaker system installed in Biosfera offers both the uniqueness and quality that Sing desired for his latest nightclub venture. The speakers used include compact M72i two-way near field installation speakers, M125i three-way near field installation speakers, M156i two-way medium-throw installation speakers, and M182i and M152i subwoofers. Mach M20.02 and M20.03 processors support all the speakers.

Mach also provided a number of interesting pieces to complete the audio system, including the Mach M156i top box, used to drive the main dance floor. Hans Madsen, Mach business development manager, explains the box: “Compact size and high output in a non-hornloaded box are key words for the M156i. It is built around two custom designed 15-inch units. They are not woofers, but specially designed low/mid units that deliver 103 dB at 1w/1m. The M156i rolls off below 70Hz and is, as such, a dedicated top-box, but above this frequency it delivers very high output – a solid 134 dB continues or 140 dB peak.”

Painting In Titanium
Last, but definitely not least, came Biosfera’s essentially atmospheric lighting and effects. Jorge Rico, product specialist for Wagner Internacional, collaborated with Escobar on the installation, and tackled all programming. He was excited by the project, but aware of its many unique challenges. “The main part of the club is the dome, which is made of poly-carbon with a metallic structure,” he said. “Because of this, we needed to pay special aesthetic attention to what we were about to install. We needed to install fixtures that would have the same look as the inside decoration of the club, as well as perform in all aspects.” Rico’s solution was “simple” – he installed all MX-4 and MiniMAC fixtures in titanium, and made custom hanging brackets for both the lighting fixtures and the speakers that mimicked the look of the MX-4 bracket. Biosfera also features other Martin lighting, namely the Atomic 3000 DMX strobes and Robocolor III color changers, while Jem ZR33 hi-mass and Jem ZR12-DMX smoke machines provide smoke atmosphere.

Copyright 2002 Club Systems International Magazine
Copyright 2002 TESTA Communications