Excellence Awards 2017
Spice Market Melbourne

Spice Market: Melbourne www.spicemarket.net.au | Lighting Design by Najafi Design Group

Spice Market Ultra-Lounge And Nightclub

Spice Market: Melbourne is a theatrically designed ultra-lounge and nightclub found within the lower level of the Grand Hyatt Hotel in the heart of Melbourne's Central Business District. This incredibly detailed venue re-launched in March 2016 and features over 10,000 pixel-mapped LED's integrated into automated flying scenery as well as Australia’s first permanent nightly artificial snow show.

Spice Market: Melbourne started out life as the incredibly well appointed bar and lounge attached to the critically acclaimed MoMo Restaurant, spearheaded by restaurateur and nightlife experts Geremy and Dean Lucas and internationally award-winning Chef Greg Malouf.  After a triumphant twelve year run, Geremy and Dean decided to close MoMo and focus their efforts on Spice Market, relaunching it as an ultra-chic mezze and lounge. After another incredibly successful four year run, they once again decided to refresh their venue and in the fall of 2015 contracted Najafi Design Group to re-envision their space in Australia for 2016.

During the initial concept meetings, Geremy challenged the NDG design team to create a unique and interactive lighting installation that would wow and engage his patrons while subtly and masterfully integrating into his intimate and carefully refined environment. During his initial site-visit, lead designer, Sohail e. Najafi, noted the incredible detail found within Spice Market’s lavish scenery and décor appointments. Artifacts and genuine antiquities are displayed throughout the venue, rich fabrics and stonework dress each wall, and dozens of artisan-crafted bird cages dotted the space.

Despite initially toying with the idea of replacing all hanging elements with a modern motion orb lighting system, Najafi decided to keep the bird cages, 32 over the main dance area and 12 over the main bar, and breathe new life into them through the integration of thousands of pixel-mapped LED’s carefully retrofit into each cage. Additionally key cages were flown via DMX-driven automation hoists custom engineered to NDG spec by Pittsburgh Sandbag & Hoist Company. 

Next, the NDG team added a matrix of 2400 pixel-mapped ENTTEC LED dots over the cage installation to provide a stunning backdrop against which the “dancing” animated cages could pop. All of this was then programmed to push a wide gamut of stunning visual effects and graphics ranging from beautifully subtle color flows during early evening cocktail and tapas service to “blow the roof off” animations that charge the venue with massive amounts of energy during late-night club operations.

Aerial effects, bottle service presentation table shows, and performance area key-lighting is completed by a system of Chauvet’s incredibly compact Intimidator Spot LED 350 automated fixtures.  At only 15 inches tall, they allowed the NDG team to place them anywhere within the intimate venue without fear of encroaching on the patrons’ space.

Providing color and texture effects in the private club lounges are over 6 dozen miniature theatrical LED fixtures from Gantom Lighting & Controls. These extremely small, fully DMX-capable fixtures no larger than a D-size battery or 35mm film canister were hidden within each lounge to provide coordinated dynamic color, texture, and key lighting of the seating and table areas matched to the venue’s atmosphere and energy level. Included among these is the world’s smallest gobo projector, the Gantom iQx, measuring only 90mm long.

Completing the experience, Najafi decided stay away from traditional special effects in favor of something that had never been permanently done before in Australia. Having worked extensively with evaporative snow machines from CITC FX on theatrical productions in the US, Najafi decided that gentle snow flurries and vigorous blizzard torrents would not only enchant Spice Market’s audiences, but appropriately accompany the venue’s exotic Himalayan theme. Specifying CITC’s Little Blizzard Snow Machines and Extra Super Dry Snow Fluid, the effect dazzles audiences each night without wetting or staining clothing or floors and was enthusiastically welcomed by the club’s operations staff.

Lighting Control for the automated and LED fixtures is operated by an ETCnomad EOS System running a bespoke Magic Sheet interface leveraging over 350 macros running almost a thousand lines of discrete code. All 10,000 RGB LED pixels are controlled by a Madrix 3 LED Control System networked through 3 ENTTEC Pixelator 48-Universe Pixel Drivers. The custom automation system features a fully independent emergency stop override system with active braking, active intelligent system monitoring, and an operator presence control system.

Adjacent to the main venue is Cleo’s Lounge, the original site of MoMo. This space received extra special treatment with a bespoke Swarovski Crystal linear chandelier that extends approximately 100 feet, contains 25,000 individual crystals, and features over 1800 pixel-mapped LED’s along its entire length allowing for gorgeous sweeping color effects controlled by a secondary Madrix 3 System.

Selected Gear List:

  • 64 Gantom DMX RGBW Flood Miniature LED Fixture
  • 16 Gantom iQx Miniature Gobo Projector
  • 13 Gantom Precision Z Flood Miniature Fixture
  • 2400 ENTTEC 30mm RGB LED Pixel Dot
  • 130 meters ENTTEC RGB Pixel Tape (60 pixel/meter)
  • 3 ENTTEC Pixelator 48-Universe Pixel Driver
  • 13 Chauvet Intimidator Spot LED 350 Automated Fixture
  • 12 Pittsburgh Sandbag & Hoist Custom-engineered DMX Automation Hoists with Active Braking
  • 2 CITC FX Little Blizzard XT/SP Snow Machine with Super Extra Dry Snow Fluid
  • 1 ETCnomad EOS 1024 Output Console System
  • 1 Madrix 3 Professional 64-Universe LED Control System
  • 1 Madrix 3 Basic 16-Universe LED Control System

Design and Construction Teams:

  • Principal Lighting Designer: Sohail e. Najafi of Najafi Design Group
  • Associate Lighting Designer: Joshua Cuellar of Najafi Design Group
  • Architectural Lighting Designer: Nathan Thompson of The Flaming Beacon
  • Lead Architect: Kas Makohon of Lukas Partners Interior Architecture & Design
  • General Contractor: Empire Design & Construction Pty Ltd
  • Electrical Contractor: Walker Electric Pty Ltd
  • Product Suppliers: Barbizon Australia and 4Wall Entertainment Lighting
  • Client: Geremy and Dean Lucas of Grandco Hospitality Group Pty Ltd

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