9 minute read

In Brief: Dragonfly & Blackbyrd

Photos: AllIs Amazing



Lifestyle operator, ISMAYA Group is a leader in its field of conceptualising and designing entertainment outlets. With more than 90 properties in the portfolio - from Dubai to Jakarta - which includes restaurants, lounges, nightclubs and festival experiences, it is important that each is unique to retain the success story it has established since its inception. One of the latest additions to the line-up is Dragonfly in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It is the second establishment of the same name from the group, and its older sibling opened in Jakarta back in 2004. Dragonfly Jakarta has undergone a number of renovations, in 2008, 2012 and 2015/16 - the latter lead to the venue winning the

mondo*dr Award for best nightclub and global winner in 2017. With the new Dragonfly in Kuala Lumpur, the idea was to retain the DNA of the original, but with the addition of the BlackByrd restaurant and lounge. The concept has evolved to encompass a whole evening of entertainment. Located in the heart of the city, atop the Naza Tower, Dragonfly and BlackByrd wrap around the top floor, offering spectacular views of the Kuala Lumpur skyline. The idea is that guests arrive for dinner at BlackByrd and are served by Michelin star chef, Jason Tan, who is a culinary veteran with over 10

years experience in French dining. Describing his cooking style as ‘gastro botanica’, diners are presented with Jason’s interpretation of comfort food, all of which are essentially flavours that South East Asians are familiar with. After dinner, guests move through to the BlackByrd lounge, where they can enjoy a cocktail among the hand-crafted wood and rattan interiors. Patrons finish their journey in Dragonfly, where they are treated to a state-of-the-art lighting concept and a high-end sound system that resonates throughout the space. Having not worked in Malaysia before, ISMAYA Group teamed up with local

company, FSA360 for this project. Managing Director, Jeremy Lim takes up the story: “During my travels to Jakarta and Bangkok, to name just a couple of places, I had noticed a certain restaurant concept, which I felt was missing from Kuala Lumpur. I thought there was a gap in the market for it, so with the help of ISMAYA Group, I set about creating this concept with my own unique spin.” The space Dragonfly and BlackByrd occupy was previously used as offices, so it felt quiet cold in terms of atmosphere and featured double height ceilings. “We didn’t feel that was the right ambience for the restaurant so we worked hard to get

the vibe right, and everything else evolved from there,” Jeremy continued. “The idea was to create something comfortable that the people of Kuala Lumpur haven’t experienced in the city before.” This was everything from the furnishings, to the F&B, the décor and the technology - to ensure the ambience in each area was just right. ISMAYA Group employs more than 4,000 people across its outlets, making it a truly successful brand, so Jeremy knew the bar was high for this project and set his aspirations accordingly. ISMAYA Group already had technology partners from the first Dragonfly in Jakarta, and although they were kept informed of the new project and produced a tender, in the end both ISMAYA Group and Jeremy decided that a local company onboard was the best choice. Having a local supplier that can provide local support when needed was an important factor, and is why Motifv8 was brought in to design and install an audio system throughout.

Co-owner of Motifv8, Sham Iskhandar saw the space in December last year. He had an existing relationship with Jeremy as his business partner, Ben and Sham’s business partner, Henry have worked together on festivals in the past. So, while they look after the live events side of the businesses, Sham and Jeremy take care of the installation projects. Sham explained his approached: “We used EASE simulation to demonstrate our plans. We needed to provide an intuitive and competitive design, and we also proposed a system that had not been installed anywhere else in the region - the Void Acoustics Nexus 6. It’s the first system in Malaysia and, of course, new clubs always like to have a UPS and something to brag about.” The Void Acoustics Nexus 6 cabinets are hung either side of the DJ booth, which sits at one end of the elongated room. The radical styling of the Nexus 6 was born from the innovative internal layout of its transducers. The four-way Nexus 6

consists of no less than 20 high power drivers, housed in a sculpted fibreglass enclosure. Sham said: “It could be described as a line array but in a single enclosure.” The Nexus 6’s are supplemented by three Void Acoustics Stasys Xair high output, double 18-inch horn-loaded subwoofers housed under the DJ booth, which extend the low frequency response. “Because the room is quite long, we have deployed a few delay loudspeakers that provide the high SPL and energy throughout the club. Similarly on the dancefloor, we had to choose the cabinets that gave the headroom they required,” Sham continued. Here, the Void Acoustics Venu Series was selected, 14 Venu 12 passive two-way surface mount loudspeakers and four Venu X reflex-loaded dual 12-inch subwoofers, as well as another Stasys Xair subwoofer at the back of the room. The Venu Series offers flexibility as they can be mounted vertically or horizontally and are also easy to install with their Easy Hang wall

bracket. The VIP section, next to the DJ booth, has its own loudspeakers and subwoofer, to ensure the clientelé occupying that area are experiencing the best possible sound. The DJ booth itself has a monitoring system too, comprising two Void Acoustics Venu 12’s and one Venu X. Amplification for the club space comes from Void Acoustics’ Bias units - four Bias Q2’s, two Bias Q5’s and one Bias V9 - with Armonia software, as well as an external processor from Bose, the ControlSpace ESP-4120. “We had some challenges with the roof structure. We had to tame the low-end frequencies, so there was no rattling on

the roof. There is also a lot of wooden material used for the décor, which offers a warm ambience, but it did pose some challenges for the audio. We overcame this when we tuned the system, and again, it included taming the subwoofers and the low-end frequencies,” Sham furthered. Audio elsewhere - in the BlackByrd restaurant and lounge - is a mixture of Void Acoustics and Bose. The lounge makes use of four Void Acoustics Venu 10 cabinets and two Venu 215 subwoofers powered by two more Void Acoustics Bias Q2 amplifiers. While the restaurant boasts six Bose FreeSpace DS 16SE and four Bose FreeSpace DS 100F surface mount loudspeakers running off a single Bose

PowerShare PS604A amplifier and a Bose ControlSpace ESP-880 processor. Five Bose ControlSpace CC-16 zone control panels are also installed around the venue, so each zone has its own volume control and is able to switch music sources when required. Jeremy said of the audio installation: “The service Sham provides is very different as he understands the nightlife scene and the business model, as well as knowing what the operators need. You need someone who is energetic and dynamic, and when dealing with someone like me who doesn’t fully understand technology, I need to turn to someone I can trust. “I can turn to him and say, ‘Sham, I want

“We used EASE simulation to demonstrate our plans. We need to provide an intuitive and competitive design, and we also proposed a system that had not been installed anywhere else in the region - the Void Acoustics Nexus 6.”

to hear the sound like this or that’ and he can instantly interpret what I mean. Or, I can say, ‘I don’t want to feel this shake from the subwoofers’, and he can identify which frequencies need to be altered. I consider Sham more than a system integrator, he is a business partner, as he has been with me throughout this entire journey.” Sham echoed his sentiments: “For me, with all the projects I undertake, I develop an attachment to them. I want to ensure the customer is really happy with the end result, so I will address and fix any concerns they have. I will work with them to establish a long-lasting relationship.” When it came to the lighting element at Dragonfly, ISMAYA Group and Jeremy were keen to replicate the iconic LED mapped ceiling from the Jakarta venue, so LEDsCONTROL was invited back to recreate the lighting design. Managing Director, Rebeca Sánchez Pastor takes up the story: “We converted the original design, but adapted shapes and quantities. We also updated certain lighting elements

to the latest technologies, which allowed us to keep the original essence, but adapt it into this new space.” The ceiling comprises more than 200 individual controlled panels, and each individual light box is a pixel in the MADRIX software. “The way we use LEDs is mainly for pixel mapping in low resolution applications,” Rebeca continued. “From the beginning, MADRIX software was made for that. When others were focussed on the high pitch LED screens, our German friends were steps ahead of what pixel mapping meant. After almost 15 years, I can say, it’s one of the most powerful tools for this kind of installation.” The panels span across the full ceiling in the club space. It creates a rather enveloping effect for the audience, especially with its Dragonfly wing graphic effects. There were a lot of panels to setup and install, and the schedule was challenging, but the local team worked together with our team leaded by LEDsCONTROL partner and executive producer Miquel Clot made sure

everything was completed on time. Rebeca furthered: “In general, here at LEDsCONTROL, we develop the content accordingly for each individual venue, dependent on how the night evolves music wise and guest interaction. Earlier in the evening at Dragonfly, we have created an intimate, warm environment pitching the venue as more of an ultra lounge. However, as the night progresses, and the music evolves and people want to dance, we change the lighting design to encourage that. Over the course of the evening, an experience is created, which we hope entices people to come back.” In addition to the panels, a selection of intelligent

lighting fixtures and effects have also been installed at Dragonfly. The inventory includes Clay Paky Axcor Spot 300’s, Martin by HARMAN Rush MH6’s, Martin by HARMAN Atomic 3000 LED strobes, Elation LED blinders, as well as hazers from Look Solutions, fan machines courtesy of Antari and CO2 jets from Magic:FX. Additionally, there is a four-metre by three-metre LED screen that serves as a backdrop in the DJ booth, and more than 2km of RGB LED strips. An Avolites Tiger Touch II controls the lighting fixtures and effects, while the LED screen utilises a Resolume software package. The venue opened in preview mode only at the

end of April, this was to ensure everything was just right before opening officially. Jeremy said in the lounge and restaurant, this was mainly about service, wanting all serving and waiting staff to provide the best experience for every guest. During the preview period, he was confident his objectives and goals were met. Dragonfly was a more complicated beast, and as with any high-end nightclub, fine-tuning can take some time. But, after two months of finalising the details, the venue as a whole has gained a number of high praise reviews and has become a hotspot in the capital city.

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