BIRMINGHAM, ALA. -- One of Birmingham, Alabama's most popular clubs recently received a lighting facelift and patrons are now finding nuances they previously overlooked.
Platinum of Birmingham started out as something to do in the evenings for owner Lewall Taylor, known as Tee. “I started in a little house with two bedrooms that I converted in to a club in 1974,” Taylor said. The club caught on as Tee's Place and Taylor periodically added on and remodeled.
During one of the remodels, Taylor tore down one building and added a patio. The patio had a waterfall feature and soon Taylor added a roof so the facility could be used during inclement weather. As his business grew, Taylor put in some club lighting and a sound system. Ten years ago, he changed Tee's Place to Platinum of Birmingham and upgraded the club once more.
A chance meeting with CHAUVET dealer Jack Kelly, owner of Eye Dialogue, led to a complete lighting redo of the now 15,000-square-foot club, which features a variety of music genres, including hip hop, rhythm and blues, soul, Billboard chart toppers and live concerts.
Working 12 to 14 hours per day for eight straight days, Kelly and three of his employees “added a lot of fixtures all over the place,” he said. “They had a 70s vibe with mirrors on one bar and glass block on another from the work done in 2000. We didn't want to take anything away because this is architecture you don't see any more.”
Kelly said he focused on the jazz age style images painted on acoustical panels that lined several walls. Years ago, Taylor hired a woman, whose name he no longer remembers, to do the painting as a way of beautifying panels that were used to absorb the sound. The panels depict impromptu jazz concerts on a street and more formal concerts inside restaurants with patrons sitting at tables watching the festivities and others dancing.
“We used color changes on the paintings and people said they'd never noticed them before,” Kelly said. Continued
He also installed CHAUVET COLORdash Battens, COLORdash Pars and MinWash fixtures to create energy without being overdone, he said. He also installed four Double Derby X lights, which he uses when he wants to wow the crowd.
“The Double Derby Xs have become the favorite lights there.” Kelly said he only runs them once or twice during the evening. “When they light up, they explode and people walk away amazed,” he said.
In the patio area, Kelly brightened up the rock waterfall with CHAUVET Colorstrip lights below and above the feature to brighten the entire area, making the room seem more expansive. He mounted COLORstrips to the ceiling and said they create interesting shadows on the floor.
Taylor marvels that his business has grown from a few invitees to a venue that can accommodate groups of up to 1,200. But, he said, he's never forgotten where he came from or the employees who helped him. “I've got employees who have been with me 30 years or more,” he said. “We are a solid business and treat people right.”
49 CHAUVET Colorstrip
5 COLORdash Batten
15 CHAUVET COLORdash Par
8 CHAUVET MinWash
4 CHAUVET Double Derby X
2 CHAUVET 20-inch Mirror Ball
96 LED Cove Lights
2 Recessed LED lighting systems
1 Windows-based controller