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The brief was for a three room venue consisting of a main room, a second room that had a good set up for live events, and a smaller Karaoke venue based on private bookable rooms


concept, untested in the corporate world, but this is exactly what has happened with Project in Norwich. Luminar leisure was the largest single nightclub


operator in the country and had been through major changes. The departure of MD Steve Thomas and the majority of the board marked a new era for the company, unshackled from the ideas of old. The new team wanted to take the company in a new direction. They wanted some venues to be smaller than the large Oceana type venues in their portfolio and they wanted the flexibility to put on live bands, live indoor sporting events, comedy clubs, Karaoke but still to run as a full nightclub with a much more progressive music policy. Luminar were in possession of a large site in


Norwich which had suffered structural problems and had had the entire structural floor replaced. This gave them the opportunity to commission a ground


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breaking scheme based on a much more creative approach unheard of in the corporate world of nightclubbing. Not wanting to work with their usual design teams who may have become bogged down in the old school dogma of the past, Luminar took the brave step of commissioning Matt Rawlinson of Raw Design, a Birmingham based design consultancy, to undertake the creation of the new Venue. Matt has gained a reputation as one of the country’s most creative independent designers and has a varied portfolio of work, ranging from large country estates to nightclubs, high end bars and corporate headquarters, but it was his work with Dance uber Brand Gatecrasher that initially drew Luminar. Matt approached the project in a much more


objective manner than would normally be the case. He wanted the scheme to have a much more transient temporary feel than a standard nightclub design, comparing it more to an art installation piece that had interchangeable features and dramatic sculptural effects. With this in mind the venue started to take shape. The brief was for a three room venue consisting


of a main room, a second room that had a good set up for live events, and a smaller Karaoke venue based on private bookable rooms. The rooms had to interconnect but also have the facilities to stand alone as a separate operation if required, allowing for greater flexibility of operation. Matt wanted the whole experience to be a journey through the space,


each area being progressively more dramatic as the journey continued. On entering the venue the stairwells and


entrance corridors are deliberately stark, the main approach to ‘Project One’ is simply a black stairwell with one single suspended colour changing Dark Space walker light fitting. Through the upper floor entrance doors, the lobby areas are simple and slick. The main area is all black with added detail and drama from back-lit changeable images and recycled theatre spotlights that provide clues and a “taster” of the room to follow, almost like a teaser campaign. The main room is based on the idea of a huge


empty box with layering of detail at end user level. The main space is simply sprayed black leaving all the industrial ductwork exposed. The walls are wrapped in giant images and graphics, giving a level


GS MAGAZINE 37


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