In Hollywood, entrepreneurial brothers Jonnie and Mark Houston are reinventing the nightlife scene from bottle service nightclubs to cocktail-focused themed venues.
They currently operate a number of nightspots including the Cuban rum bar-themed La Descarga, the atmospheric Paris-themed Pour Vous and the Hollywood Piano Bar.
Their latest incarnation is No Vacancy (1727 Hudson Av., Los Angeles, California), paying homage to Old Hollywood with a historic renovation of what the bar once was – a Victorian period house built in the early 1900s.
While other venue concepts have been inspired by trips abroad, No Vacancy is closer to the hearts of the twin brothers who grew up in the neighborhood.
“We restored the house as much as we could and brought it back to life with every little detail from the knobs to the antique wallpapers from the 1930s,” notes brother Mark in a recent interview. “The redesign and restoration was a history lesson of LA and its culture throughout the years. It feels like you walked into Old Hollywood with classic cocktails and old-school entertainment, incorporating a wire walked and tight rope act.”
When creating a club concept, the Houston brothers strive to create an experience. They reach out in their designs to provide a cultural sophistication creating, “a vibe and an experience,” says Houston, “which incorporates design, a great cocktail program and entertainment that take you out of your everyday life.”
To accomplish the fusion of audio and architecture, they called on Los Angeles-based Solid Design Audio, who had worked with the twin brothers previously on their Pour Vous club.
“This year the Houston brothers gave us a little more freedom to create a sound design to match what they felt would become their signature venue, and as a result ours as well,” says Solid Design principal Phillip Jordan. “This is an install we can be proud of.”
Jordan opted to integrate the small-profile RCF TT051A active speakers, coupled with the small footprint of the S8015 subwoofers which allowed them to easily conceal the speakers.
“RCF’s excellent design quality appealed to the client and the TT Series product cannot be matched for sound quality at any size,” says Jordan speaking of the design consciousness of eliminating the unsightliness of loudspeakers in the venue while still providing the foreground audio ambience. “We wanted a surface mount speaker that with the low ceiling would not be visually obvious, but would still be intelligible and loud yet allow listeners to still be able to talk to each other.”
Jordan notes, “The TT051A with DSP processing can accommodate the veering styles of DJs and handle whatever you put through it. What is amazing about the TT051A is the 5 ½” two-way cabinet it able to produce frequencies down to 65 Hz.”
And with the low-profile footprint of the S8015 (a 15” bass reflex subwoofer that’s only 12” high), “by cutting into the seating we were able to make the sub virtually disappear into the design and at the same time create an impressive warm punch.
The system design includes an Ashly 24.24 zone system with sequenced Furman ASD120 power distribution. Each zone can be sourced by four DJ input locations. And each area – outside, upstairs bar, downstairs bar and dance floor – can be controlled independently. Power distribution allows the bar manager to sequentially activate each zone dependent on the use of the venue on any given night.
Solid Design Audio is a team of designers and sound engineers who have become known for their focus on quality, design, creativity and precision in their club designs. The Pour Vous project they completed last year was voted one of the 10 best new bars in the U.S. by the CNN.com Eatocracy blog site. Located in the center of the new cultural revolution for quality design in venues sweeping the country, the design and integration company is at the forefront of nightlife venue engineering.