Another World: HALO Nightclub in Cape Town

WORDS Gina Dionisio PHOTOS Supplied

Conduit Interior has orchestrated a technologically advanced haven at HALO Nightclub that offers an immersive sensory experience. 

Cape Town’s latest nightlife sensation, HALO, is a space that seamlessly marries cutting-edge technology with a luxe design aesthetic. Designed by Conduit Interior, a local design firm known for its captivating concepts, HALO offers club-goers a chance to “Step into a World Beyond”.

“We were tasked with turning HALO from a previously derelict nightclub into a two-storey masterpiece. It features the Groove Lounge on the upper level – a premium cocktail and social lounge – and the Main Room on the lower level, a world-class clubbing venue. They both deliver quintessential immersive light and sound experiences, with an interior that appeals to a discerning clientele who seek to amplify their senses in a ‘World Beyond’,” says Grant Johnson, founder and director of Conduit Interior.

The entrance to the club is enveloped in a double-storey wraparound screen accentuated by one-way mirrored walls. Each area of the club offers a unique and spellbinding sensory experience with holograms and ever-evolving screens that slowly come alive throughout the evening.

A secondary entrance to the Basement Main Room opens into an illuminated tunnel with a handmade sculptural spaceman suspended overhead. Conduit Interior reworked the layout of the original space to improve flow and accessibility. “The main bar, a technological marvel in itself, is now centrally positioned, featuring moving displays behind shelves showcasing organic flowing artwork and premium liquor bottles. Mirrors on the ceiling double the volume, creating a mesmerising visual effect, transforming the back bar into a full ‘halo’,” explains Grant.

The atmosphere of the nightclub is elevated by a Funktion-One sound system imported from the UK. Anton Sinovich, a Funktion-One distributor and sound fanatic from Phuture Sound, took exceptional care of everything sound-related in HALO. “In designing the sound system for HALO, we went out to use the latest technology of the best sound system available – a 100% Funktion-One Sound System. The Funktion-One’s new F124s extremely low bass speakers used on the downstairs dance floor stand out in that they contain the most powerful moving coil electromagnet device ever to be installed in a loudspeaker. We are thrilled to deploy it for the first time on the African Continent at HALO,” he says.

What also sets the sound at HALO apart from other nightclubs is the ability to hold a conversation while the music is loud; you can hear the music and still understand what the person next to you is saying.

Gregg Fox of Supersonic Acoustic Solutions and his skilled team also played an integral part in the acoustic treatment at HALO. Certain areas needed sound dampening, while others needed more life and reflection to achieve the desired sound experience. “Very careful attention was taken acoustically to treat all areas of this space according to what the required use of that space was. For example, the dance floor was treated for extreme comfort at high volume. However, in the bar and VIP seating areas, staff need to understand customers to ensure orders are accurate and service is of a very high standard. People like to be heard properly, so intelligibility was a priority,” says Gregg.

The sound system was also a consideration for LED experts Eyecom, who partnered with Conduit to create the visual experience. “When cladding the dancefloor ceiling with TVs, our challenge was to ensure the highest resolution possible, whilst not forgetting we had to maintain a 50/50 coverage for audio and avoid creating reflective surfaces which would distort the Funktion-One sound,” explains Paul Bowling of Eyecom.

Grant adds: “To avoid clichés in the bar counter design, we searched far and wide to source glass insulation disks from electricity pylons. We fitted each of these with individually programmed LEDs and clad them onto the bar counter. These LEDs interface with media units on the ceilings, providing a complete immersive sight and sound experience. The use of pylon hardware in this way is a first for a nightclub in the world.”

“There is typically a tug-of-war that happens in setting up a new venue between what sounds good and what looks good. HALO is proof that these two objectives do not have to be mutually exclusive. However, we have yet to see this happen haphazardly or accidentally. It takes a great deal of planning and coordination between sound, lighting, and architectural interiors that surprisingly rarely occurs to achieve the desired outcome of a venue like HALO,” says Anton.

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