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Miami, USA

LIV nightclub sits at the heart of the historic Fontainebleau Resort, which recently underwent a $1 billion refurbishment to make it one of Miami’s top destinations.

Creative firm Seed Design were charged with rejuvenating the club, giving it a world-class, contemporary look whilst at the same time reviving the venue’s glamourous heyday when the likes of Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack pals took to the stage. The club was part of the original 1954 resort designed by Morris Lapidus and features an impressive 88-foot domed ceiling. As a starting point, Seed Design (Vincent Celano and Gonzalo Bustamante) worked with Focus Lighting (headed by Paul Gregory) to created an impressive lighting scheme for the dome, embedding it with 585 Color Kinetics iColor Cove MX linear LEDs and adding a wash from 300 Colorblast12 fixtures hidden around its perimeter. The lightweight linear LEDs were fixed to the existing roof structure before being ensconced by a special acoustic treatment. Controlled by an e:cue Media Engine 2 alongside five e:cue Butler compact DMX output devices, the ceiling can strobe, colour-change or even act as a giant low-resolution video matrix. The complete system can be operated using a touch screen running e:cue’s Action Pad or via an e:cue fader unit in the DJ booth.

The main space also features glowing stair risers and framed VIP booths on the mezzanine. Classical chandeliers create a visual connection to the warm sparkle of the backlit VIP frames and add a touch of elegant contrast to the modernist space.

All architectural lighting has been pre-programmed and, using an e:cue excite+ DMX interface, can be triggered by the house MA Lighting console.

Though construction started early in the year, it wasn’t until the middle of 2008 that the heads at Fontainebleau settled upon Miami operator Dave Grutman to take charge of the club. With LIV scheduled for a September opening Grutman, wasted no time in ensuring the look and sound of venue would be world class. Having worked on the Miami club scene for many years, Grutman had very definite ideas about what sound system he wanted and who he wanted to install it. He put in a call to Dan Agne of Sound Investment.

“I’d worked with Dave Grutman in the past and he’s a big fan of both our company and Funktion One,” says Agne. “He knows he can count on us and he also knew he was going through a very precarious situation with trying to get this club open in time.”

Although a sound system had already been specified before Grutman joined the project, he was adamant that Funktion One be used instead. Understandably there was some resistance from the club’s financers, but together Grutman and Agne convinced them that it was the right route to take.

The club’s classic aesthetic meant Sound Investment were asked to hide the speakers as much as possible. This posed a challenge for Agne and the team; there were only two points on the ground floor where speakers could be placed: under the banquette seating and under the DJ booth, both at opposite ends of the room.

“We had a massive territory to cover with just two points of bass so our approach was to use F221s stacked two high and make them responsible only for sub-bass, so it would penetrate all nook and crannies,” says Agne. “It’s the only speaker I know of that could have kept up with that demand because it has such a tremendous amount of output. You get a frequency range that directionally you have a hard time pin-pointing – and the bass bins were hidden too so you have this warm sub-bass permeating the room and carrying the physical signature of the sound.”

The addition of F215s – hidden below the VIP terrace - delivering the bass and mid-bass and AX88s providing the mid-highs, makes for a great sounding room.

A removable railing allows the rear VIP level to be converted into a full stage, which turns LIV into a fully functional live performance venue. Above this stage, where visuals were not such a concern, the team installed two clusters of F215s and Res 4s.

It was Dan Agne who suggested Grutman contact Steve Lieberman of SJ Lighting to take over responsibility for the club’s theatrical lighting. The two had worked together on a range of past projects, including Prive, Mansion NY and Rok Vegas, and Agne knew Lieberman could deliver in the short time available.

“We put everything else on hold, put a whole package together and slammed out documents for them in under two weeks,” says Lieberman. “I would say it was probably about three months from me entering into the contract to finally pulling the trigger and beginning the process of putting the system in.”

Working closely with Seed Design, Lieberman’s lighting scheme worked to enhance the decadent, high-end feel of the venue. “We tried to keep the club very clean, giving them lots of layers of effects without anything being overly obtrusive to the architecture,” he says.
Aside from Focus Lighting’s iCove LEDs, no fixtures could be hung from the main dome. As a solution, a spider-truss, curved to the same radius as the ceiling, was installed to act as the main hanging point for much of the theatrical lighting.

The primary moving light fixture used was Elations Design Spot 575E. “Just this past year I’ve started using Elation fixtures,” says Lieberman. “They’ve really stepped up their quality of manufacturing on this particular series of fixtures and they’re now using dichroic glass reflectors, so the output’s really clean. They’re just feature packed and at a very good price point, so I was able to put in probably 30% more fixtures than if I’d used one of the other major manufacturers with the same features.”

As well as Martin Pro Atomic strobes the truss features, at its centre, a ring of GLP Impression LED wash lights. “That light is super fast, super light, super bright and low power,” says Lieberman. Power reduction was a major concern for LIV. Before Lieberman was drafted in, the original lighting package included 96 channels of dimming and a lot of 208V circuits. At the request of the electrical engineer SJ Lighting eliminated all dimming but for eight circuits, used for audience blinders.
“Everything else I replaced with the Elation Opti Tri Par which is an LED parcan, but what’s nice about it is that it’s a tri colour node, so you don’t see that RGB mix, you just see the colour that you want so it looks a lot sexier… and I was able to put 25 of them on one circuit,” Lieberman says.

Further fixtures – Elation Design Spot 300Es and Martin Pro Wizards – were installed around the balcony area. “The Wizard is kinda nice because it gives you a nice mirror ball effect which breaks up the traditional moving light beam, so it gives you a good little sparkle to the room – it’s just another layer - something else for the operator to play with,” remarks Lieberman.

For a final flourish, the team installed a 3W white light DPSS laser from LaserNet.
“That laser is amazing, it really makes the club. With typical pump lasers five years ago you could barely see the thing, now all of a sudden this laser is just slicing through the air with really clean optics. It’s just an amazing piece of equipment. I’m really happy with it.”
With such a tight deadline, it was a race to get everything installed in time, and Lieberman is quick to praise Miami-based Idesign (Len Rowe, Eric Carosiello, Javier Lopez, Nestor Thomas, Christine Wilhite and Brian Baron, headed up by director Michael Meacham) for pulling out all the stops to bring LIV in on schedule and helping create what is a truly top-notch club. Simply put by Dan Agne: “I think it’s one of the nicest venues I’ve ever seen - it’s amazing.”


300 x Color Kinetics Colorblast12; 585 x Color Kinetics iColor Cove MX; 1 x e:cue Media Engine 2; 5 x e:cue Butler control; e:cue fader unit; e:cue excite+; 22 x Elation Design Spot 575E MSR 575/2; 8 x CLP Impression 350W LED; 5 x Martin Pro Atomic 3000 DMX 1500W MAX-7; 25 x Elation Opti Tri Par 70W LED; 4 x JEM ZR33 Hi-Mass; 4 x TMB ProCan 4-Lite; 4 x Elation Design Spot 300E; 4 x Martin Pro Wizard Extreme; 4 x Elation DLED60 Strip  LED; 1 x LaserNet Scannerpro 3W White Laser; 4 x Doug Fleenor DMX512 isolated splitter/amp; 1 x  Christie LX500 projector;  1 x Coolux Pandoras Box Media Server; 2 x Tascam DV-D01U; 1 x Crestron Crestron IsysTPS-15; 1 x Crestron PRO2 Professional Dual Bus Control System; 1 x Crestron Crestron AV2 Economical Dual Bus Control System; 6 x Crestron C2COM-3 3 COM Port Control Card; 2 x Crestron C2ENET-2 Dual Port Ethernet Card; 1 x MA Lighting grandMA light – compact multi-media control; 1 x Mid-Atlantic The WRK Series 19” gangable enclosure; 1 x Mid-Atlantic PTRK Series Portable Racks; 2 x Mid-Atlantic 115 Volt Rackmount Power Strips; 2 x Mid-Atlantic PDT Series Thin Power Distribution

MAIN DANCE FLOOR: 8 x Funktion One R4S-C three-way mid/high loudspeaker; 6 x Funktion One F215 folded horn mid-bass loudspeaker; 4 x Funktion One AX88(A) two-way mid/high active loudspeaker; 4 x Funktion One F221 folded horn subwoofer loudspeaker; 4 x Powersoft K8 amp; 1 x Powersoft K6 amp; 2 x MC2 T2000 amp; 2 x MC2 T1500 amp
STAGE: 4 x Community iHP3594 three-way full range trap box loudspeaker; 4 x Community iLF218 vented double 18 subwoofer loudspeaker; 1 x MC2 T1500 amp; 3 x Crest Audio Pro9200 amp
UPPER BOWL: 16 x Community I2W8 two-way loudspeaker; 7 x Custom loudspeaker Front-Loaded Subwoofer; 7 x MC2 T1500 amp; 2 x MC2 T2000 amp; 1 x Powersoft K6 amp
LIBRARY: 6 x Community I2W8 two-way loudspeaker; 4 x custom front-loaded subwoofer loudspeaker; 1 x MC2 T1000 amp; 1 x  MC2 T2000 amp; 1 x Powersoft K6 amp; 2 x Community iHP1599 two-way mid/high trap box loudspeaker; 1 x Crest Audio CD2000 power amp; 1 x MC2 T1500 amp; 5 x Pioneer CDJ-1000; 4 Technics SL-1210MK5; 2 x Pioneer DJM-800; 1 x FBT MAX-4a powered 1”/12” powered loudspeaker
PROCESSING & CONTROL: 1 x BSS BLU32 -8AIx8AO networked digital audio I/O expander; 2 x BSS BLU80-0AIx16AO networked DAP; 1 x BSS BLU10 networked remote control touchscreen; 2 x BSS BLU-8-BLK networked programmable remote; 4 x QSC AD-CI52ST flushmount loudspeaker; 1 Crown Audio CTS4200AUSPCN amp






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