Online Exclusive: Creating Space For Future Lighting And Sound Additions

It has been a pleasure working with Benny and Travis, owners of Trebenzios Lounge and Restaurant in Wilmington, NC. I have never seen clients take so much pride in their work. They transformed a three-story retail store into a chic restaurant and ultra lounge right in the heart of downtown. The highly stylized and open layout is well planned and executed.

The architectural structure of Trebenzios is long and narrow. The narrow passages, numerous staircases, frequent architectural curves, and open site lines from the first to the third floor suggest the marketplace of an ancient city. The owners built much of the structure themselves, spending years personally designing the unique architectural layout of Trebenzios. They created the large columns, a myriad of coves, and the thematic curved walls, crafting natural chi energy throughout the space. The meandering design has the stamp of individuality that only time and personal attention can achieve.

The 15' ceiling makes the entry area feel airy and open. To the left, a row of Color Kinetics iColor Cove MX wraps around the columns and curves down the walls line. Although the room seems well lit, no lighting is visible. The color-changing wall wash provides a comfortable light level for the entire room. Looking back toward the entrance, a large alcove glows from several iColor Coves with two small speakers singing to the patrons below. To the right a long bar, dressed in red, is lit from below with recessed fixtures shimmering on the metal façade. Above, a color-changing fiber-optic star ceiling sets the backdrop for inverted stemware holders suspended just above the bartender’s view. The shimmering glassware accents the long smooth wall flowing atop the winding bar. On the far end, the DJ booth stands like a watchtower atop a small bar. The first step to the DJ booth conceals a single 18" sub elegantly framed with a staircase, which becomes both part of the décor and a functional part of the space.

Up the staircase to the second floor, a small dance floor spans the open space like a bridge connecting the first and third floor. Four scanners caress the ceiling and skirt the top of the dancers creating an exhilarating yet intimate mood. Three subs are strategically placed underneath the benches to deliver the most prevalent thump to the dance floor. The four tops are placed between the second and third floors crossing the dance floor. The system maintains a high energy on the dance floor yet allows comfortable listening levels in the dining areas on the floor above. Sitting top the watchtower on the first floor, the DJ booth is set eye level with the second floor allowing the crowd to communicate from all three stories of the building. As the records spin, patrons can catch the eyes of the DJ giving hoops and hollers for their favorite song.

The dance floor has two more staircases continuing upward on the right hand side of the building. One leads to a dinning and cocktail lounge that looks over the dance floor. The second staircase leads to the VIP room giving its clients full access to the club. VIP guests who choose to join their friends on the dance floor take a short flight of stairs landing them in the middle of the party. The VIP has a private bar protected by a one-way mirror that allows a complete view of the entire club including the second story dance floor and the third story dining room. The room has a back entrance up two flights of stairs from the front door, giving customers complete privacy within the club. With numerous celebrities passing through Wilmington for feature films and television shows, the ability to maintain anonymity and throw an exclusive private party without shutting down the entire club is sure to be an asset.

Beyond the clarity of sound from the EAW system, the rich hues from the Color Kinetics LEDs, and the seamless merging of interior design and technology, a plan for the future has already been set in motion. Without giving too much away, provisions for additional video, sound, and lighting have already been made. Multiple audio zones, lighting coves, and projection locations have already been prepared for the next several phases of Trebenzios. In the nightclub industry change is essential. If a nightclub stays the same for too long, the club will become outdated and empty. With careful attention to trends and strategic changes in the venue, Trebenzios’ honeymoon period will continue with the natural buzz of improvements and revitalization. Infrequent diners and partygoers will have a reason to return and rediscover the club over and over. The friendly and welcoming staff at Trebenzios will greet them with open arms. Their successful metamorphosis will leave everyone in awe.

Trebenzios has already upped the standards for lounges in Wilmington. Beyond that they have already planned their future transformations saving costly architectural modifications and keeping the buzz in the community through steady growth.

Jack Kelly is president of Eye Dialogue based in Charlotte, NC. For more information, visit

Lighting Equipment
Color Kinetics iColor Cove MX Powercore
iPlayer2, Color Play, and Keypad Controller
American DJ Accu Scan
American DJ Par64 LED
Martin Lightjockey

Sound Equipment
Architectural Acoustics Digitool MX
Pioneer CDJ800
Pioneer DJM3000

Suggested Articles:

Meet David Stewart, a production manager with an important mission.

Happy 4th of July y'all ... see what's on the online menu this weekend.

The San Jose Vive, in partnership with LJ Productions, has installed a d&b KSL system