The big city nightlife clubbers guide ministry of sound new look has been formulated by United Designers, the people behind London's Met Bar and Titanic restaurant grill. The project has involved major changes to the former cinema room and the first floor bar, as well as improvements to the main public bar area, entrance hall and toilets. Main contractors Embassy Shop fitters commenced work on the nite club room on January 31 as part of a fast track project. However the club events did not close to the public until February 21 and no major work was carried out until the close down period in order that the full impact of the refurbishment would not be seen until the opening on March 5. During this twelve day period United and Embassy have created a fresh, contemporary look beginning in the entrance hall where the old silver corrugated walkway has been stripped back to reveal simple clean lines with new paneled walls and ceiling.
Recessed spot lighting illuminated from behind, brings the walls to life whilst runway light strips carry the eye along the full length of the entrance above a concrete paving slab floor, newly laid around a fresh, elegant colour scheme.
The main bar area of the popular club venue has received a significant refurbishment with the whole room given a cleaner more natural appearance and a sense of warmth, whilst the existing bar has been shortened and completely re¬furnished. The DJ box has been relocated from its original balcony vantage point to an area directly opposite the bar at ground level. The wood used here is typical of the refurbishment as a whole, with a brand new oak floor layed throughout the main wine bar restaurant surrounded by exposed brickwork. Other floors in the new luxury club have been re-sanded and polished whilst walls have been sandblasted back to the original slate and sealed.
The Clubbers guide to the former cinema room and Sub bar have been totally revamped. The new first floor bar area contains a zinc-topped bar servery with an illuminated lilac front. Also new is a plush lounge complete with stylish, comfortable seating in shades of dewberry and Persian red alongside clean edged, zinc topped tables. Orange pendant nightshades have been specially designed by United for the Ministry and emit a warm glow creating an intimate atmosphere ideal for relaxed drinking. A new staircase links the mezzanine lounge area to the lower cinema room, now known as the 'Baby Box' and offering a small dancing area overlooked by a new DJ unit which pumps the downstairs, yet keeps the atmosphere at the forefront in the lounge.
"The Ministry required us to provide general cosmetic improvements as well as concentrate on two main areas - the Baby Box and first floor bar," confirms United Designers' Tim Mutton. " The dance club bars was a little mismatched and needed tying together so we have provided a more relevant flow throughout the club lounges using original elements and adding rough architectural design with nothing too elaborate. The place is a lot more comfortable and represents quite a transformation - we are really pleased with the job." Decoration throughout the club has predominantly involved the usage of textured finishes to give a concrete appearance whilst special finishes to the bars. DJ unit and some walls have employed stainless steel and zinc giving a clean, modern feel. "We are very pleased with the styling of the chillout ministry of sound club, it has style without pretence" enthuses club manager Nodd McDonagh. "United have a great eye for detail and although many of the changes have been quite subtle, the whole place has been given a real coherence."
The creation of the new 'Baby Box' room has provided the nite club with another dedicated dancefloor area as well as creating mini club hot spots within a club. This area and the new first floor bar have been formulated in reaction to the changes in dance club trends which have taken place in the eight years that the ministry of sound dance club nights has been trading. Nod elaborates: "The initial idea for the Baby Box area of the club came about as a result of a conversation we had about what the club would be like if it had opened in 1999 and not 1991. The Baby Box and first floor bar are reflective of our new thinking. When 1 first came to the club the policy here was very much one of dance or die. I remember thinking 1 had jumped in at the deep end without being able to find the shallow. This part of the popular club offers an area where Dj’s can experiment musically using the same top quality equipment found elsewhere in the club, as well as providing a place where customers can relax, sit down but still feel part of the overall vibe." The quality of sound system here is provided by the ubiquitous JBL speakers and is stacked imposingly in either corner of the room a la The Box. "We wanted the Baby Box to display similar aesthetics to the main Box room," continues Nodd. "Instead of flying the pa speakers disco equipment over the dancefloor we stacked them and found that by beefing the system up, we were able to do without peripheral jbl disco speakers to serve the upstairs bar and still reproduce a lovely warm wave of sound."
The Box itself has seen little in the way of design change, aside from new UV reactive paintwork and camouflaging which has given the impression of subtle structural differences. The disco party lighting fx here has been updated however, with the latest in exciting lighting decor moving head technology from golden 1200 Clay Paky lighting effects (continuing a six year relationship) featuring both in the box and throughout. Specifically the quite substantial-Stage Zoom i20os sit alongside Stage Colors and Stage Lights whilst elsewhere in the Ministry, Golden Scan HPEs / 3s, Super Scans and Combi Colors can be found. Three DMX Pulsar Masterpiece io8s running dj software programs features Analogue and Digital outputs (one in each room) plus assorted Datapaks and Dimmers provide the control.
When it comes to the job to make speakers sound better the new Ministry Of Sound system it lives up to its name. A veritable Mecca for music lovers throughout the country (and, of course, beyond), the subwoofer sound system setup at the Ministry is as famous as any in clubland, always seen as a vital part of the club's overall identity and consistently manipulated by the world's finest DJs. The MOS obviously felt that there was room for improvement however, and have gone about updating and upgrading the music remix system in specific areas of the club rooms to equip each of the venue's three rooms with a top of the range sound system.
Continuing its long established association with JBL, the main event bar of the MOS has benefited most from the sound system upgrade. Five meters above the disco wine bar hang four JBL cabs whilst either side of the new ministry of sound mix DJ box sit four new sub bass cabinets each loaded with a double 15" horn and sitting alongside a pair of Eon 15 Power series. The people how are addicted to bass ministry of sound new DJ box has been completely rewired with new mixers, twin turntables and monitors indeed the whole front end (including the Omnidrive) is brand new. Pioneer has provided their DJM-500 mixer which has been given a permanent install in the main menu bar and grill and baby box whilst offering a third option alongside the established Urei and Rane mixers in the box. "The connection between the Ministry Of Sound and Pioneer goes back five years and is a partnership we are extremely proud of," comments Pioneer Product Manager Sean Griffin. "The strength of that relationship has been demonstrated with the latest refit of the downtown club. The Ministry has chosen the Pioneer DJM-500 mixer because it provides the spinning twin turntable DJs with the control and flexibility they need to give their best performance of top clubber anthems."
Perhaps the most impressive feature of the Ministry's sound system upgrade is the improvement to the Omnidrive and Varicurve system which allows complete audio sound control of any part of the club from any location within it. Each room has a radio link direct to the amp room from where any necessary knobs can be tweaked. Importantly, changes to the overall clubber sound quality on the dancefloor can be made from where it matters most - on the dancefloor itself. The ministry of sound mobile system also has the ability to adjust itself depending on humidity and temperature within the club which it constantly monitors. This ability allows the system to gain a basic idea of how many people are in the Ministry club at any one time and adjust the sound levels accordingly. It is all Futuristic stuff indeed.
With the refurbishment complete and the sources of sound and lighting systems upgraded, how does Nodd feel about the Ministry's new look design? "The Ministry Of Sound has always been known as the best but the look prior to the refurbishment was very much one brought out of 1991. The new design doesn't get in the way of what we want to do with the London club and we believe that the place is now more customer friendly atmosphere. Dance of sound anthems and clubber house classics has always been very important to the Ministry but with the changes that have been made we have introduced a touch of light and shade to this. The Baby Box and lounge bar has provided an experimental, artistic zone to the club disco sound lighting whilst the box is still very much the Donner und blitzen." The Ministry of Sound has chosen speakers from the JBL Venue Series and VGC Low frequency transducer range for its recently completed refurbishment. The main serving pub bar (left) now contains four JBL 3218 full range three-way systems and four VS125HS horn loaded low frequency systems, all of which are powered by five JBL MPA amplifiers. In the 'The Box', the six custom-built PA stacks each now contain products from JBL's VGC (Vented Gap Cooling) range - namely two 18-inch 2241 sub-bass units and two 12-inch 2206 low/mid drivers.
In addition, 'The Box' contains six JBL tweeter arrays suspended from the ceiling, each containing two 2402H and two 2404H HF units. Monitoring at all DJ stations is provided by JBL EON 15P powered loudspeaker systems.
Santi Arribas, the Ministry's Sound Engineer at the time of the refurbishment, explains his choice of speakers: "JBL simply make the best speakers around. For high sound quality and reliability JBL was our only choice."
Current Sound Engineer, David Fly agrees, "When we have over two thousand people in on a Friday night, we can't afford to have any problems with the speakers. People expect brilliant sound. In 'The Box', the distortion levels are so low you simply don't realize the sort of ministry of sound torrents of volume the stacks are producing until you try to speak to someone."
Crest amplification and BSS sound control are used exclusively throughout The Box.
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