Silk, Temecula



Silk’s original name was Glow, something which its many lighting elements still do.

A casino club uses light to brand its look.

By Ryan Hammill

When Californians cruise down Interstate 15 with thoughts of exclusive parties and a galaxy of lights awaiting them, their first thoughts turn to any of the Nevada desert’s gambling metropolises.

But at Silk, the newly launched nightclub at the Pechanga Casino and Resort in the desert valley of Temecula, Ca., the fast-paced action and, most assuredly, the lights handily compete with the incandescence of clubs in the Southland.

And with crowds in striking distance from Los Angeles to the west and San Diego to the south, Silk is poised to capture the masses.

Source-less Light
While the strategy of most clubs is to battle in watts and arrays of sound, Silk turned to the oft mismanaged and relegated role of lighting to attract dancers.

Interior design firm Design Development, of Tarzana, Calif., pitched the idea that would eventually become Silk to the owners of the resort, the Pechanga tribe, and brought on lighting specialists Visual Terrain, of Van Nuys, Calif., to execute it. “[Design Development] won the project by presenting an idea called ‘Glow’; they called it the Glow Bar or Glow Club,” says Visual Terrain chief lighting designer Peter Maradudin. “And the thinking behind it was that you would see very little in the way of direct light sources, but everything glowed; the walls, the background. And even though the name of the club changed to Silk, the thinking remained that way.”

“It’s hard to stand apart with a focus on sound systems when most clubs have access to the same components and designers for audio,” says Tom Black, a senior commercial sales representative from Florida-based Island Systems and Design, who managed the installation of the Silk environment. “Our philosophy was to incorporate the lighting and video as the main features of the club, with a premium on the flow and fluidity of visual media.”

With over $2 million invested in both visual and audio installation – around $500,000 going to LED fixtures alone – the number of sensory impacts employed by Silk reaches new clubland heights.

Center(piece) Of Attention
Above the main bar hangs the club’s visual centerpiece: a fiber optic chandelier that weaves over 4,000 strands of responsive cracked-fiber cable into an inverted pyramid. The largest of its kind in the world, the chandelier provides a kaleidoscope of texture and color. It spans the length of the bar area, running through a sequence of 10 small halite lamps to create an array of colors throughout the course of an evening. The eye-catcher was envisioned by Maradudin, with the aid of manufacture from Technifex of Valencia, Calif.

The brushed aluminum dancefloor allows for new light-reflecting possibilities.

LED light plays off the white décor in
the lounge areas.


One of the installation’s major challenges was actually getting the chandelier into the building. After breaking the unit into four pieces and reassembling, the team breathed a sigh of relief. “Outside of creating a design that integrated as well as the total system did, getting the fiber optics up was among the hardest processes we went through,” said Black.

High-Tech High Art
Maradudin didn’t stop with the centerpiece. Along Silk’s entry wall is a preprogrammed wave of coded TIR Systems LEDs along a 24-foot high, 150-foot wide expanse, wholly ensconced by frosted glass. The cascade is no accident, though the manner is which it was employed included a lesson learned.

Maradudin’s first intention was to create the most intelligent of light effects, using motion sensors: As customers would approach, the color of the lights would change. However, it soon became apparent that programming the lighting to coordinate with approaching customers was overwhelming the controllers. “We hadn’t anticipated how much movement there really was going to be out front. So the signals from the motion sensors were essentially driving our control system insane,” says Maradudin. Thus, presets were created to mitigate the flow of visual traffic.

After entry to the club through the wash of LEDs, the icy glow of indirect lights from a variety of sources and surface surrounds strolling patrons.

A dancefloor of brushed steel underfoot provides a canvas for continuous LED fixtures on truss mounts, to act as disco lights without the garishness. “We modified some of these color wash fixtures from TIR, put them on C-clamps and mounted them to the truss. They provide a whole range of color on the dancefloor,” says Maradudin.

The theme throughout the club is of black, white and chrome surfaces providing the stages for the lighting to do its magic. “The dancefloor has this wonderful brushed pattern so that when the LED lights hit it, it looks quite like an impressionist painting,” says Maradudin. “LED fixtures will generate different colors by combining the color of, say a red LED with a blue LED, and so you get purple. But when you see that on the dancefloor you actually get to see the constituent parts of the red and the blue mixing to purple, so it’s like a painting by Monet or Seurat, where they use the little brush strokes or pointillism.”

Other lighting elements help set the mood at Silk, including moving heads from Martin Professional, Swarovski crystal-embedded LED uplights along the bar (by Swarovski Samba), and – Maradudin’s favorite – columns of light, installed by Island Systems in the vestibule leading from the Pechanga casino floor to the dancefloor. With color-coordinated towers shimmering off a stark-white background, the vestibule is “reminiscent to ’60s lighting that can change or become any color you want, with half-tube fixtures moving from top to bottom,” he says.

Panoramic video also figures into the visual scheme of Silk, with high-definition LCD and plasma screens complete with proprietary digital content provided by Digitec Studios of Orlando, Fla. The highlight of the video integration is the curved Stewart LCD monitors located along the entry walk, ranging in sizes from 18 to 40 feet wide. Mounted and programmed to eliminate warped perspectives in relation to their curvature, the screens display custom content to enhance dance or lounge atmospheres.

“The goal with the monitoring and screens was to create a lighting system that had continuity and dynamics throughout the evening, rather than a collection of set pieces,” said Black. “By employing the monitors as a guide into and around the space, we’ve tried to make a visual theme that corresponds with each piece in its proper space.”

Installing the fiber optic chandelier was the team’s “hardest process.”

And It Sounds Great Too
Fleshing out the total club theme is a sound system that matches those in either of the major cities flanking Silk.

The heart of the system is 80,000 watts of sound, projected through a series of over 70 EAW Avalon Series speakers powered by 42 QSC PL-Series amplifiers. The entire system is channeled through BSS Soundweb digital signal processors, with control routed to over 10 Crestron touch-screen interfaces. These make adjusting room sound dynamics as easy as a few presets, and pinpoint-accurate down to the last horn.

A second sound system, composed of L-Acoustics speakers along with more BSS DSP modulation, fills out the sound requirements of Silk’s smaller live stage. This system was meant to “give the room a multi-use capability for small, intimate gatherings for exclusive audiences and live musicians,” said Black.

And whether it’s the intimacy of an acoustic set for a few, or cavernous bass replete with a multimedia extravaganza, it’s sure that Silk can light the show.


38 - LG RU-30LZ50C 30" LCD monitors
27 - LG RU-23LZ50C 23" LCD monitors
12 - LG RU-17LZ50C 17" LCD monitors
9 - LG MU 50PZ90C 50" plasma panels
8 - LG LSS-3200A DIRECTV receivers
8 - Marshall VLCD6.4BNC LCDs
8 - Sanyo LNSW02Z projector lenses
6 - Sanyo PLV WF10 HD projectors
4 - Alcorn McBride Information Station video players
4 - Extron DVS 204 video scalers
4 - Panasonic WVNS324 network color cameras
4 - Stewart screens (curved and flat)
2 - Samsung SIR S300W DSS receivers
2 - Sanyo PLCUF15 projectors
1 - AutoPatch Epica video router
1 - Panasonic WVCU360C camera controller
1 - Panasonic WJNT104 network interface kit
1 - Silicon Optix Image AnyPlace EX video scaler

Speakers by EAW, L-ACOUSTICS, Mackie and Tannoy
Amplifiers by QSC
Processing by BSS
Consoles by Mackie and Midas
Microphones by Shure

18 - Martin Professional MAC250+ Krypton
moving heads
18 - TIR Systems Destiny CV LED fixtures
12 - ETC Source Four 426HID
ellipsoidal fixtures
12 - ETC Source Four PAR EA fixtures
9 - Cooper Lighting H7LVT recessed cans
9 - Martin Professional Alien 05 fixtures
2 - Le Maitre Neutron XS haze machines
1 - Doug Fleenor Design Preset
10 Architectural DMX panel
1 - Lighting Control & Design DMX relay panel
1 - Lycian 1209 Midget Spot
1 - MA Lighting grandMA light lighting console
1 - MA Lighting grandMA replay unit controller
1 - Martin Alien 05 driver
1 - Technifex custom fiber optic chandelier
Lamps by Osram
Dimming by Leviton


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Copyright 2005 Club Systems International Magazine
Copyright 2005 TESTA Communications