Docked at Skeppsbron in Malmö harbor in Sweden, the vessel M/S Prins Bernhard is the after-hours place to be in this southern port city – not to sail the waves of the Baltic Sea mind you but for a highly memorable nightclub experience.
The 70 meter long ship, which serves as a leisure and entertainment gathering place for up to 600, houses two top-end restaurants, several bars, a sun deck, a VIP lounge and the popular nightclub Under, recently outfitted by local company Informationsteknik with a dynamic lighting package that includes a customized LED wall made up of Martin Professional’s new flexible LED string, FlexDOT™.
On the map
Informationsteknik, the main contractor for lighting and sound who handled design and installation for the entire ship, was contacted last May by Prins Bernhard’s owner who sought to do something ‘really special’ in order to put Malmö on the map as far as nightclub installations.
“We came up with the idea to design a nightclub concept with an LED wall as the main visual element,” says Håkan Hansson of Informationsteknik who project-managed the installation. “We said ‘no moving heads, no smoke machines - forget about all those solutions that have been done in nightclubs in the past.’ We wanted the visual look to come from a media server so that the DJ could easily change themes and scenes. It is a new way of thinking and a totally new experience for the audience.” After lighting tests were conducted by Informationsteknik, the client gave the go ahead.
FlexDOT LED wall
Informationsteknik chose to use Martin Professional’s new FlexDOT LED strings to create a customized LED video display. FlexDOT is a lightweight string of intelligent, full color pixels. Each pixel consists of a bright RGB LED driven by its own processor and individually addressable for independent control of color, special effects, and animation.
Surrounding the Under dance floor on two sides is a FlexDOT LED wall approximately two meters high and ten meters long. Custom-fitted into a wooden wall are 100 FlexDOT strings, each string approximately two meters in length. The wall contains a total of 2,100 individually controllable FlexDOT pixels spaced at a distance of 10 cm.
“With regards to the total design, including the construction of the wall, and in order to make an economical and practical solution, it made sense to use FlexDOT,” Hansson comments. “It gives a lot of advantages for a lot of applications, wherever there are space issues for example. The size of the pixel is very small but the light output is fantastic which means you can use it in small areas. The ability to custom-make an LED wall gives lots of possibilities. It is also a system that is simple to set up. You don’t need a lot of boxes; it’s ready to run.”
At 2.5 candela per pixel, light output from the FlexDOT wall is remarkably high, filling the room with color. Illumination even reflects off the wood-paneled ceiling and wooden floor to make the entire room glow.
“The quality of the light from FlexDOT is quite amazing. The color balance is very nice and it looks nice even if you are very close to it,” Hansson says. “It performs very well showing moving images. When we put in the content, the quality of the movement was very good, for the client as well.
“All nightclubs in Malmö have visited Prins Bernhard and are talking about the LED wall. This is exactly what the owner wanted.”
Graphical content for the FlexDOT LED wall - some of it custom produced - comes from a Martin Maxedia Compact™ media server, a user-friendly tool for media composing and playback that houses a vast library of media content – video clips, still images and integrated animations.
Because Prins Bernhard caters to a variety of special events like corporate presentations, the Maxedia Compact, which is located in a technical room in the basement of the ship, allows the atmosphere to be customized at the touch of a button. Control is handled via a PC-based Martin LightJockey™ which is connected to a touch-screen in the DJ booth. The lighting atmosphere in the various zones of the club can be easily changed from there. A sub touch-panel in the bar area can also be used to control the ambiance. Hansson calls it “not only a flexible control solution but safe and easy as well.”
Alien LED Downlight
The FlexDOT LED wall is not the only source of dynamic lighting in Under. Mounted in the nightclub’s ceiling are Martin Alien LED Downlights that work in conjunction with the FlexDOT wall to create a unified, complementary lighting design. The Alien LED Downlight is a plug-and-play recessed LED downlight with RGB+White color mixing designed for accent lighting in colored or variable white light.
Recessed in the wood paneling of the 2.5 meter high ceiling, the Aliens, spaced about 1-1 ½ meters apart, add to the dance floor illumination and wash floor-to-ceiling white leather booths. They provide ambient lighting to walls and tables, and even wash liquor bottles in a variety of hues in the club’s central U-shaped bar. More Alien LED Downlights are used in an adjacent ‘launch’ area (entrance foyer) to give the entire space an integrated total-design concept. The launch area has a separate touch panel for control.
Hansson sums up, “The client wanted a high end, unique solution with a lot of impact and power, yet it had to be easy to use. The technology we have incorporated is advanced but it is a design that is both functional and easy to manage. It adds value to the solution and is one that the client is happy with.”
100 x Martin FlexDOT™
82 x Martin Alien LED Downlight™
2 x Martin LightJockey™
1 x Martin Maxedia Compact™