Vision, Atlanta



Now Tons of lights, a gear-holding monolith, subs and color decorate the main room. Then (inset): Vision began clublife as a big white space.

A 30-day revamp turned to total metamorphosis.

By Chrissi Mark
Photos by Ben Rose Photography

The first incarnation of Atlanta’s Vision was massive, all-white, and functioned primarily as a single entity: one environment with a lofted VIP area, and one additional DJ booth aside from the main. But this summer, the club’s reincarnation divvyed up its 27,000 square feet into six separate areas. Each has its own brightly patterned design, and its own audio zone. The sound system swelled so much that pieces of the original main system, Electro-Voice Sx250 15-inch two-ways, now serve as DJ booth monitors.

“[The July reopening] was the rebirth, we took it from one level to the next level in clubs,” says marketing director Chris Kappy. “The idea was that Atlanta needed a ‘superclub.’ It didn’t have something that rivaled New York, Miami or L.A. – that was the inspiration.”
What began as a projected 30-day revamp thus snowballed into a five-month sound, lighting, construction and design extravaganza. The building was essentially gutted. And in a group of overachieving A-type personalities, the insistence of designer Scott Waterbury, president of Atlanta Sound & Lighting (, yielded a commanding and uncompromised sound system, and a lighting system that boasts literally hundreds of Robe fixtures.

“We wanted people’s jaws to drop when they walked into the rooms,” says extensively involved co-owner Alex Gidewon. “We think we’ve achieved this with the décor and architectural changes, but even more so with the new sound and lighting system.” Alex, along with brother Michael and a handful of the Gidewon clan, backed Waterbury’s systems demands and – according to Waterbury – “made [the designers] move walls so rooms would sound better.”

Main Room Grandeur
Through a familiar-looking tunnel, lit by 2,000 Color Kinetics LED fixtures, sprawls the main room. Its 10,000-foot, bi-level main dancefloor is divided by the VIP Circle bar, and flanked on the lower level by the exclusive Orange Room.

This red spectacle actually houses a
12’ x 12’ line array.

“We were having problems with the fire marshal with flow,” explains general contractor Nigel Ingleton, of Ingleton Group ( “It wasn’t the fact that we were at the limit; it was that we couldn’t move the people around and it was becoming congested, too many bottlenecks.”

Waterbury’s agenda actually helped fix the problem, as Ingleton and acclaimed Atlanta designer Patti Krohngold created zebrawood boxes to house the EV subs, complete with carpet on top to prevent dancers from slipping, and topped with bouquets on quieter nights. “Now people on the dancefloor have somewhere to set their drinks, but it also allows an opening to be kept,” Ingleton says. “Even when it’s totally crowded you can get to the bathrooms; you can get to the exit. There’s nothing worse than being at a club and you dare not have a drink because you don’t want to go to the bathroom.”

Waterbury built a 12’ x 12’ speaker array for each of the main room’s four corners, comprised of all Electro-Voice components: 16 X-Array XCN compact two-ways, 12 X-Array Xi1152 downfills, two FRi-2082 dual-8-inch two-ways, and twenty 2,000 Watt MTL-2 subwoofers, loaded with two EVX180 18-inch cones each, which he says “will actually flutter your shirtsleeves while standing on the dancefloor.”

But attempts to cloak his creation for the sake of aesthetics led to the usual designer-sound guy run-in. “I had a hissy fit, I just completely lost it,” says Waterbury. “I had moved the system like three times and then finally said, that’s your job. I’m done setting it up. It sounds good, I’m leaving it alone, now you get the challenge. You’re a designer, he’s a contractor: Figure it out. And I couldn’t believe what they did.”

Krohngold and Ingleton created giant, 16’ x 20’ pod enclosures for the arrays, and hung them like teardrops from the ceiling. “We decided if you can’t hide it, let’s just make it bigger and prettier,” says Ingleton.

The other tiff over the main room’s sound? The large dome roof was highly reflective. One day, “I was in an office upstairs complaining about how awful the sound was going to be because of this big arched dome,” Waterbury recalls. When he skulked downstairs, he beheld an answer to prayer: Construction crews were “80% done” with the massive structure that now hangs from the center of the dancefloor, and serves as a room deadener, a housing for lights and speakers, as well as a projection surface. “My mouth was hanging open,” says Waterbury. “Number one, this massive monolith improved the sound of the room, and number two was able to deliver air conditioning to the center of the dancefloor, which had been a problem in the past.”

Upside-down umbrellas and gobos heat the Red Room.

“Full of Lights”
Array pods aren’t all that hangs from Vision’s skies. “If you look up anywhere there’s a big ceiling joist, it’s completely full of lights,” says Waterbury. He attributes the overdose of fixtures to co-owner Gidewon, who rejected Waterbury’s concert-esque suggestions for a more action-packed nightclub design.

“With the budget that we had we could’ve done something like 15 or 20 big lights, or put in 300 of these little [DJ Scan 250’s],” Waterbury says. “It was a no-brainer. You’re going to a dance club, what’s more exciting?”

Vision’s initial lighting system, also installed by AS&L, contained a lot of Robe. The Czech company impressed Waterbury with the quality of their products and service. “The Robe lights were extremely efficient,” he says. “They’re so much brighter than I expected them to be. This DJ Scan 250 is low-priced, but has more features, and is updated with the current needs of new millennium lighting.”

Rounding out the main room are additional high-quality, lower-cost fixtures, like American DJ Rainbow 250 color changers, plus Robe DJ Roller 250 XT scanners and Wash 250 XT moving heads. Martin Professional Atomic strobes provide flash, while an Avolites Azure controller – a fave of AS&L light team Justin Kinard and Chris Mota – keeps it all together.

More Of A Little = A Lot
Above the main room, seven time-delayed EVID 6.2 surface-mount speaker systems – which look just like flying saucers – bring sound to the pink-hued Skybar. This glass-enclosed space allows customers to look down onto the dancefloor, and boasts a ceiling of silver leaf.

In Vision’s other rooms, Waterbury relented to design demands and built speakers into the walls, while Krohngold painted the grills to make them even more incognito. EV DX38 processors provide audio control in every environment. Glass wall separations allow patrons in one room a perspective on the rest of the club, while chrome beads hang over the glass to dampen sound, and to help give the environments sonic independence.

For the Red and Blue rooms, contrasting colors illuminate the theme-colored décor (since like colors would hardly show). Oranges, reds and yellows were selected for the Blue Room, projected by eight DJ Scan 250s and eight Spot 160s by Robe, and controlled by a Leviton NSI MLC16. The room also sports EV X-Array Xi-1152/94 speakers, QRx-218s subs and more of the intergalactic EVID 6.2 speakers to fill its high-backed VIP booths with sound.

In the Red Room, blues, yellows and fiery gobos from 12 DJ Scan 250 XTs complement the motif, while the room’s personal DJ transmits via four flown EV QRx 115/75 speakers and two wall-encased QRx 218 subwoofers. The glass-enclosed Green Room, which faces Atlanta’s main drag Peachtree Street, mirrors that light layout, with more EV FRi-152 two-ways and QRX subs providing sound.

Not Done Yet
In addition to all those lights, Vision also sports a cryogenic system, four large-scale InFocus and Proxima video projectors, plus 60 LG plasma screens (installed by Intellisound, spread throughout the entire club, flanking bars, lining entryways and adding even more motion to Krohngold’s splay of bold patterns, bright colors and twinkling chandeliers.

Another new feature? Smarter use of space. “Before there were VIP areas you had the beauty of having waitress service,” Ingleton says, “but if you needed to go to the bathroom you then had to clamber through a whole crowd.” Now, added to the original 64 clumped stalls in the single central bathroom are additional loos – plus more bars – in every VIP nook and cranny.

And the Vision team is not done yet. Plans are underway for another environment to add to the dizzying maze with the conversion of next door’s former café space into another sound-packed environment of Vision. Perhaps when that renovation is completed the club ought to be more aptly renamed something like Kaleidoscope, Crazy Eyes or at least Double Vision.



AUDIO (selected)
23 - X-Array Xi-1152 downfills
20 - MTL-2 subwoofers
18 - EVID 6.2 speakers
16 - X-Array XCN two-ways
12 - QRx 218s subwoofers
9 - DX38 processors
7 - SxA250 self-powered two-ways
5 - CP3000S amplifiers
4 - FRi-152/64 two-ways
4 - QRx 115/75 speakers
2 - FRi-2082 two-ways
2 - Sx250 two-ways
1 - Protea 24.24M digital matrix

Main Room
80 - DJ Scan 250 XT scanners
12 - Spot 160 moving heads
8 - DJ Roller 250 XT scanners
4 - Color Wash 250 AT moving heads
Elation Professional
16 - Vision 250 scanners
Martin Professional
10 - Atomic 3000 DMX strobes
High End Systems
10 - Studio Spot 250 luminaires
American DJ
6 - Rainbow 250 color changers
1 - Azure digital controller

Blue, Red and Green Rooms
16 - DJ Scan 250 XT scanners
16 - Spot 160 moving heads
2 - NSI MLC128R controllers
1 - NSI MLC16 controller


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Copyright 2005 Club Systems International Magazine
Copyright 2005 TESTA Communications