The warmth beneath ice








 
Three friends collaborate on Las Vegas’ ambitious new free-standing dance club.
By Kerri Mason

      It was bound to happen at some point. How long could three good friends on a similar path – each making their own impact on the nightclub industry; each wielding unique, hot gear; each picking up high-brow clients countrywide – go without working together?
      The project that finally brought Dan Agne (Sound Investment), Steve Lieberman (SJ Lighting), and Alejandro Gonzalez (Kryogenifex) together is Ice, Las Vegas’ newest free-standing (read: not in a casino-hotel) nightclub, owned and conceived by Agne’s longtime friend Ed Williams. The partnership makes sense not only because of the personal relationships involved – each man is emerging as a new leader in his respective field too. Agne is gaining recognition amongst high-profile DJs and clubbers alike with stand-up-and-listen installs like Maze in Miami and Cielo in New York, and recently picked up another hotly contested account, NY’s Spirit. Lieberman’s so busy with new installs (Nocturnal in Miami), and one-offs (Paul Oakenfold at the Hollywood Bowl) that he barely has time for an interview. And Gonzalez’s brainchild Kryogenifex won Best Effects Product at the 2003 Club World Awards, and has quickly become a standard component of truly fabulous nightclubs.

Ultra Sonic
Ice is big on prefixes – it’s a “meta_club,” consisting of “microenvironments” – but its goal is simple: To give Las Vegas a club that’s as fabulous and well-appointed as the others, but decidedly more music-centered.
      Williams knew he wanted the best sound and lighting he could buy, but gave Agne carte blanche when it came to details. “Eddie and I have a very straightforward friendship,” says Agne. “He just said, ‘Danny, you take care of it.’” Agne used the opportunity to bring on Lieberman for lights and Gonzalez for effects, and together with video specialist Vello Virhaus, interior designer Thomas Shoner, and architectural firm Jones-Greenwald Las Vegas, Ice was born.
      To make it suitable for the discerning music lover, Agne spec-ed his favorite sound system – Funktion-One speakers powered by MC2 amps and processed by XTA’s “magic box.” Lieberman crafted an elaborate trussing system and Coemar light rig around his favorite console, MA Lighting’s GrandMA. And to give the club its namesake, Miami’s Gonzalez customized Las Vegas’ only Kryogenifex liquid nitrogen system.
      Ice’s 30’x30’ main floor features a four-point Dance Stack Ultra speaker system (the “Ultra” is for its newly enhanced bottom end), with MC2 amplification on the mids and highs, and Crest on the low end. Agne says that the power and clarity of the Stacks match the room’s intended use (hardcore dancing), while their aesthetics complement its design: “The speakers look bigger than life; like a very extraterrestrial thing just landed,” he says. “They bring that big room into a more scaled size.” And Agne loves his customized XTA DP226 controllers, which he used in each room of the club: “They give sound a very human quality; approachable, sonically transparent, and fluid. They’re precision tools.”

Weak Ceiling, Heavy Truss
      Lieberman’s install wasn’t so straightforward – he had to deal with a ceiling “that could barely hold up the ceiling.” Hanging anything was out, so Lieberman instead built an indoor ground support system usually used in production environments (like an outdoor concert), consisting of a truss rig that climbs up on chain motors. Basically “a roof over the dancefloor,” there are four posts spaced across 50’ x 40’, with a height of 30 feet. A 20-foot circle with eight five-foot horizontal legs (four going out; four going in) sits in the middle of the rig. Everything is powder-coated black, except for that middle circle (in it’s natural aluminum). “If you were to stand it up straight, it kind of looks like a bloodshot eye,” enthuses Lieberman. “It’s really slick.”
In addition to a standard dancefloor system featuring Coemar fixtures (“super, super bright, and fast”), Martin Atomic strobes, and a selection of conventional lighting, Lieberman also supplied Ice with a full-scale architectural package. Uplit LED bottle displays, gel-ed pars and ellipsoidals to break up the darkness and highlight scenic elements, changeable gobos for marketing opportunities, and cove lighting (“not as disgusting as rope light”) treat the club’s every corner to create a unified, sleek experience for the patron.
      All three men report that their first “orchestrated” partnership was overwhelmingly positive, and something of relief from the norm. “It was awesome,” says Lieberman. “We’re all such friends – those guys are my family. Especially in this business, we come across a lot of slime, and to have people you can trust is a blessing.”

Colors, Fabrics, DJs
      But forget the gear, what about the club itself?
“Ice is a metamorphosis; it’s all about change,” says owner Williams, a businessman with a history in video games and travel administration. “It has the capabilities from the exterior and interior to change.” From the Panaflex sign on the exterior of the building that changes every month, to the fabric on the furniture that can be switched in a day, to the series of separate “theme” rooms that offer different nocturnal pleasures, Williams has surely created a chameleon of a club. He’s also incorporated different elements of his favorite clubbing ports of call – the “small” and “quaint” feel of New York clubs; the “warmth” and good service of his former stomping ground, Chicago; the “flamboyance” and “bright colors” of Miami – into Ice’s MO.
      The Lounge is a visitor’s first stop (playing what Williams calls “urban soul”), which empties onto the main dance area (with its cushioned Brazilian walnut floor) and the central bar. Then there’s the Fur Room, a vision in shocking pink latex and yes, fur. Here patrons are treated to “S&M” iconography and mirror-polished panels, plus a full view of the main floor. A suite of cloistered VIP rooms, some with “smart card”-only access, completes the upscale picture.
      Williams isn’t too concerned with booking big name DJs, or competing in the Vegas market simply by doing what everyone else does. “I love Paul Oakenfold; he’s the best. But he’s in Vegas all the time,” he says. Williams is more interested in jocks with more underground cred, like Doc Martin and house godfather Frankie Knuckles (both infrequent Sin City visitors). “Anyone can book big names, but I want big names that are legends,” he says. One look and listen at Ice and they just might come calling.



Ice

200 East Harmon Avenue
Las Vegas, Nevada,
www.icelasvegas.com

Lighting:

46 - Times Square MR 75Z framing projectors
24 - PAR 16 miniature PAR lights
16 - PAR46 NSP fixtures
15 - ETC Source Four PAR
10 - Coemar iSpot 575 EB moving heads
10 - Coemar iWash 575 EB moving heads
8 - Martin Atomic 3000 strobe lights
4 - ETC Source Four 19° photometrics
2 - Altman SKY-CYC-01 luminaires
2 – Martin Magnum Pro 2000 foggers
1 - 175' linear RGB LED lighting
1 - ETC Unison dimming system
1 - MA Lighting GrandMA Lite console


Audio:

Dancefloor
8 - Crest 9001 power amplifiers
4 - Funktion One Ultra Dance Stack
loudspeakers
4 - Funktion One Ultra High 3
4 - XTA DP226 digital system controllers
2 - MC2 T2000 power amplifiers
1 - MC2 T1500 power amplifier

DJ Booth
3 - Technics 1200 MKIII turntables
2 - Denon CD player
2 - Funktion One Resolution 2 loudspeakers
2 - MC2 T1500 power amplifiers
1 - Funktion One Infrabass 12 subwoofer
1 - MC2 T1000 power amplifier
1 - MC2 T2000 power amplifier
1 - Rane MP 2016 rotary DJ mixer
1 - Rane XP 2016 external processor
1 - XTA DP226 digital system controller

Walk Up Bar
3 - Funktion One F88 direct radiating
loudspeakers
2 - Funktion One Infrabass 12 subwoofers
1 - MC2 T2000 power amplifier
1 - Crest 8001 power amplifier

Lounge I
4 - Funktion One Resolution 4 SH
loudspeakers
4 - Funktion One F218 double 18" bass enclosures
4 - Funktion One F88 direct radiating loudspeakers
2 - Crest 8001 power amplifiers
2 - Crest 9001 power amplifiers
2 - Funktion One Infrabass 12 subwoofers
1 - MC2 T2000 power amplifier
1 - XTA DP226 digital system controller

Lounge II
4 - Funktion One F88 direct radiating loudspeakers
2 - Funktion One Infrabass 12 subwoofers
1 - Crest 8001 power amplifier
1 - MC2 T2000 power amplifier
1 - XTA DP226 digital system controller

VIP (Downstairs)
2 - Funktion One F88 direct radiating loudspeakers
2 - MC2 T2000 power amplifiers
1 - Crest 8001 power amplifiers
1 - Funktion One Infrabass 12 subwoofers

VIP (Upstairs)
6 - Funktion One F88 direct radiating loudspeakers
2 - Funktion One Infrabass 12 subwoofers

Portable DJ Rig
2 - Technics SL1200 MKIII turntables
1 - Denon DN 2000 CD player
1 - FBT Max loudspeaker
1 - Rane MP 2016 rotary DJ mixer
1 - Rane XP 2016 external processor


Copyright 2003 Club Systems International Magazine
Copyright 2003 TESTA Communications