Las Vegas is all about re-invention, and not only for celebrity careers. Three months ago Hakkasan Group unveiled its latest incarnation at Caesars Palace, one year after closing the mega-famous Pure nightclub — and guests can’t stop raving about the lighting!
[dropcap style=”letter” size=”52″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#24e2d6″]A[/dropcap]lthough Caesars Palace® broke ground in Las Vegas nearly 50 years ago, it has always stayed current. For the past 10 years, it housed one of the biggest draws in Sin City: Pure nightclub, which was originally financed by the unlikely trio of basketball star Shaquille O’Neill, songbird Celine Dion, and tennis pro Andre Agassi.
Not surprisingly, Pure immediately became a magnet for young Hollywood with such frequent guests as Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, plus rappers and sports figures. When it debuted in 2002, Pure set the bar for an over-the-top nightclub experience with its lush décor spanning 36,000 square feet, a spiral staircase connecting two levels, and a 14,000-sq.-ft. outdoor terrace overlooking The Strip.
In February 2014, London-based restaurateur-turned-hospitality company Hakkasan Group acquired nightlife and entertainment company Angel Management Group, which operated Hakkasan’s eponymous nightclub at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, as well as Pure nightclub at Caesars Palace, the WET REPUBLIC Ultra Pool at MGM Grand, plus HQ Beach Club and HQ Nightclub in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
In May 2014, Hakkasan Group President Nick McCabe announced that Pure would close for extensive renovation and would re-emerge with a new name and concept on the same site — with even more square footage.
Exactly one year later, the Hakkasan Group unveiled its mega-million Omnia nightclub with a Grand Opening party in April that attracted celebrities Sean Combs (P. Diddy), Naomi Campbell, and Sarah Hyland among other guests.
Tapping the Right Team
The Hakkasan Group knew exactly who to bring onboard when it came to translating their new vision: the award-winning New York City-based architectural and design firm Rockwell Group and the award-winning New York City-based lighting design firm Focus Lighting, both of which have previously collaborated on many renowned hospitality projects.
The goal was to merge both classic and modern design. To that end, Focus Lighting’s team employed innovative lighting techniques that would highlight the venue’s old-style theatrical features.
“The biggest challenge with this project was creating a memorable experience in a space filled with memorable experiences,” notes Paul Gregory, Founder and President of Focus Lighting. “The competition in Las Vegas is exciting — between Cirque du Soleil shows, [concerts,] and all the nightclubs and hotels that are in competition for your time; the competition is bigger than it’s ever been. To create something wonderful like Omnia is a great opportunity.”
Building the Vision
The completed project spans 75,000 square feet and is composed primarily of a main club with a private luxury lounge and a rooftop garden terrace. Focus Lighting’s approach was to create an opulent and dynamic experience throughout the space. A short hallway lined with LED light strips contrasts with the soft pink fabric shades, ushering guests into a dimly lit room of mirrors.
The first impression is deceptively — and intentionally — serene for the main club, which welcomes guests with an exhilarating combination of theatrical and architectural lighting design.
“[We wanted] an entry experience of candlelight [with] quiet drama and beauty that then explodes into a high-energy club,” Gregory recounts. “It’s a wonderful example of how to create a memorable experience. We worked hard on every aspect of the club, and each emotion that would be created.”
Massive coves and traditional chandeliers in the main club’s ceiling are lined with LED strips that can be color-controlled from the DJ booth. “Each cove is accented with a line of low-voltage lighting inside to create an even more beautiful decorative environment,” he says.
Individual banquettes surrounding the dance floor are integrated with programmable LED strips that provide a sense of intimacy among club-goers. LED strips placed below the main bartop accent the gold façade while LEDs integrated into a wall of mirrors add a candle-lit effect. To maximize impact, extensive mock-ups were created, resulting in the reflective matte and gold tiles that line much of the main club’s perimeter walls. Light reflected from the walls provides a balance between the club’s gigantic, contemporary chandelier and vast architectural features.
“It’s all about creating memorable views: the first view in the club shows the wrapper of all the LED screens with a one-way mirror cover over the top of all the LED panels,” Gregory explains. “This allows the club to be reflected infinitely in those panels when they’re off, and for them to be an exciting – but muted – part of the architecture when they’re on.”
This is not so easy. “Every surface has been considered and treated — including the finish on the movable grand chandelier,” Gregory notes. “How much of [the chandelier] was black, how much of it was silver; each of those were considered with our input to create this wonderful club.”
Although Omnia has only been open to the public for a matter of weeks, there is a recurring theme to nearly all of the customer reviews on Yelp: the custom chandelier is a must-see.
“The focal point of the club is the huge chandelier that moves up and down,” reads one review. “The rings move independently of each other, and it shines bright-colored lights all throughout the club. It is worth coming here at least once to check it out. There are LED walls throughout the club as well.”
Another customer raves, “It’s just beautiful and entertaining. It’s like you’re in a whole new city. I [became] more focused on the décor than dancing and drinking. I’m very impressed with the pyramid lights that move up and down in the center of the dance floor.”
Other customers express similar sentiments. “The hype is real and you better believe it. Let this place transport you to a different world as it abducts you to a nightclub scene that’s out of this world. From the moving LED chandelier that almost resembles a spaceship, posh décor, and relatively easy-to-navigate lay-out, I was definitely impressed by what this can offer to the always growing nightlife of Vegas.”
Another reviewer states, “Okay so now onto the chandelier…I could stare at it all day and night because of the awesome lights. The chandelier moves with the music and smoke comes out if you’re standing on the dance floor. The light show on the chandelier is pretty amazing and they have [Cirque du Soleil type] performers dancing/suspended in the background.”
And still more customers raved, “The set up in here is insane: top of the line sound system, the very best DJs, creative laser shows, aerial acrobats, but baby, you haven’t seen anything yet, wait until you see the UFO spaceship LED chandelier they have on the main floor . IT IS BANANAS. Truly the most epic thing ever! Breathtaking!”
So what is this crazy chandelier design all about? “Omnia’s kinetic chandelier was born out of an effort to create an opulent and cutting-edge Las Vegas experience that could physically and conceptually stand the test of time,” Gregory explains.
The chandelier was designed and manufactured by the theatrical lighting firm Tait, which is headquartered in Pennsylvania, but has offices in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, London, China, and Japan. The firm specializes in creating stage sets using scenic design, LED integration, show control, and automated rigging.
The Omnia’s chandelier weighs a total of 22,000 pounds and is composed of eight rings, the largest of which is 32 feet in diameter. To provide a balance between the chandelier and the rest of the club’s lighting aesthetic, Tait consulted with the Focus Lighting team to design the chandelier’s outer skin and to strategize the placement of LEDs throughout its rings and in the crystals hanging from the center. “The goal,” according to Gregory, “was to have the ability to transform the space entirely, with just the flip of a switch.”
In a city where entertainment is continually over the top, it is a noteworthy feat when the lighting design is what enthusiastic nightclub goers are raving about.