London, UK – America’s legendary Flipper’s Roller Boogie Palace has landed in London, offering fun-seeking skaters an AV-rich, club-like experience. Billed as ‘the world’s best rink’, its West London location is decked out with no less than 10 LED screens, five projectors and 200 Lucenti Tubes, all driven by Hippotizer Boreal+ MK2 Media Servers which were bought by the venue owners.
With the original Los Angeles Flipper’s known and ‘Studio 54 on wheels’ due to its disco soundtrack and famous faces, and the more recent New York Rockerfeller Center revival resetting the party tone, the London incarnation has big shoes to fill. The new two-storey, 34,000-square-foot space is able to welcome 2,500 people per day, and is set up as a live music venue and bar-restaurant in addition to the rink.
Rigged around the main skating area are a number of screens, LED walls and projections, enhancing the visual feast. The projection surfaces are roller blinds made from Carbon Black, a new fabric with carbon fiber nanotubes woven into the material. This is a black projection surface and with the blinds over the stunning windows gives the option of allowing natural light to flood the venue or have the blinds down to give a more immersive visual experience. Lucenti LED Tubes are rigged in triangle formations above the rink which run alongside club-like lighting and a slamming sound system. The interiors were designed by independent design studio, 93. Production design was delivered by nVisible, headed by production designer, Tim Dunn, who brought Digital Insanity’s Richard Bagshaw in to program the media server solution with client-created content, working with Will Harkin, Technical Project Manager at Creative Technology.
“From the moment I was approached to help with the creation of Flippers Roller Boogie Palace London I knew Hippotizer was the right product to give this club what it needed to set it apart from other venues,” says Harkin. “The vision was to create a system that could serve media to 16 unique screen destinations around the venue day in and day out, but also allow an operator to manually manipulate content in time with the music to give a dance party feel to the club nights held at Flippers every Friday and Saturday night.”
Flipper’s is now offering regular DJ nights, celebrating spinners who speak to diverse skater communities. Evening tickets are sold as a club night, with the only difference being that dancing is on wheels.
“It’s quite incredible how much the Boreal+ MK2 is actually doing,” says Bagshaw. “It’s driving a lot of pixels, to a lot of screens, as well sending pixelmapped video to the LED strips and DMX triggers to the lighting console to keep the looks changing with the video timelines. It’s performing really well, most often from lunchtime to 10pm most days and until the early hours on weekends. It’s impressive.
“What’s also been really helpful is a new feature in Hippotizer v4.8 - Preset Timelines - allowing us to create looks and save them as either layer or mix presets and then create timelines in Timeline Plus using these pre-saved looks. This also makes updating looks really quick and easy as you just have to update the preset and this cascades through the programming.”
“The Hippotizer’s ability to map the LED lighting strips using PixelMapper to create the unique chevron design ceiling lighting system the runs the length of the venue was another defining factor in choosing it,” adds Harkin. “I am really impressed with the hardware specifications and performance of a Boreal+ MK2, but most of all the dedication and support we received from Green Hippo with the delivery of this project.”
The team designed the Hippotizer system to be able to drive live content to the screens – for instance streaming coverage of sporting events – and there are also cameras rigged around the rink which can feed live action skating into the Boreal+ MK2 and onto the screens.
“Another key aspect is that all of the visual content timelines can be triggered from a Streamdeck controller,” says Bagshaw. “When there isn't a professional media server operator, the team can simply choose whether it's the timeline they want to run, or a live feed, and they’re ready to go. They just press play and it runs the selected content on the desired screens, in any location or either floor. In turn, that content also triggers the lighting cues, based on the points of the timeline. The Boreal+ MK2 is a monster - it needed to be that to provide the power that we needed to be able to run it all.”
Flipper’s Roller Boogie Palace was originally founded in the late 70s by Ian ‘Flipper’ Ross, and the London version is headed up by his daughter, Liberty Ross, entrepreneur Kevin Wall and the singer, Usher. 93 Founder & Creative Partner Tim Hubbard said of Flipper’s in an interview with Design Week: “You can't help but be overwhelmed. When you've got brilliant digital content, brilliant brand, great sound, great music, great lighting, great interiors, good drinks, great service, an amazing experience of a fantastic rink. And then you see all those people, that community coming together in that space. It's a real energy.”