Situated in London’s trendy Kingly Court (behind Carnaby Street), Michael Newton’s new boutique members club Bureau combines the best of design. It may have a capacity of just 80 but Newton, and his general manager Patrick Fogarty, wanted a state-of-the-art technical infrastructure, as befits London’s oldest club site — and that included JBL loudspeakers.
Control series loudspeakers were specified and installed by Colin Pattenden’s CP Sound, who were introduced to the project by leading leisure designers Satmoko Ball, with whom they also worked at another top members club, Volstead.
Bureau mixes luxury with classic modern furniture under its vaulted arches, and the loudspeakers co-exist — physically and aesthetically — alongside the Swarovski crystal chandeliers.
At the same time Colin Pattenden knows that basement venues bring their own acoustic idiosyncrasies, and since Bureau would be used for record company showcases (as well as by DJ’s, working in the highly-specified raised booth), versatility was high on his agenda.
CP Sound realised that all their requirements could be met within the JBL Control Contractor series of surface mount components (and floor-mounted subwoofers).
The venue has been designed into four separate sound zones: the central dancefloor, the seated area to one side, the sumptuous VIP booths and the toilets. The music is distributed using a four-channel zoner.
Four JBL Control 29’s are flown over the main dancefloor area, reinforced by two floor-mounted JRX118S bass bins, in special hand-built enclosures.
These were specially made by Nottingham-based joinery company, Interwood, to Satmoko Ball’s design, and are clad in American Black Walnut veneer with a hardwood lipping. The speaker grille material was supplied by Colin Pattenden — and is the same cloth as used on the original Fender Twin vintage amp, which CP Sound were able to source.
In the general seating lounge are three Control 28T’s (transformer versions) and in the VIP alcoves are a pair of Control 25’s. The toilets are equipped with a pair of Control 23T’s, while the DJ is treated to top reference monitoring thanks to the Control 28.
“The amount of bass we’ve supplied adds warmth, so that the sound really leaps out,” says Colin Pattenden. “People want the bass to be kicking and this really does.” However, he acknowledges that there has to be thresholds and system protection, and he has ensured that the amplifiers have built-in clip control.
The installer was aware that working on the site of the legendary Tatty Bogle Club the heritage needed to be respected. “The beauty of the Control 29’s is their physical profile – and mounted sideways we can compensate for the low ceiling height.
“We have delivered a polished sound for a polished club in an extremely cost-effective manner — and it is every bit as wonderful as they expected.”
Patrick Fogarty echoes this view: “It’s great to have loudspeakers with the brand recognition of JBL. We had Universal Music in recently for a showcase and they said the sound was awesome.”
At the same time the venue itself will be geared towards’ members preferences, and a continually updated music playlist takes account of members’ tastes, via a DJ operating until 3.30am.
Members’ musical preferences are stored on their cards and logged onto a central database; they provide their favourite music, genres and artists, and once they have clicked in on any given night, the DJ will incorporate these selections, which will make up his playlist.
“People ask about our music policy but it depends entirely on who is in on that night.”
Michael Newton will next turn his attention to upgrading the Bar Red opposite on Kingly Court, which he also owns.