Gatecrasher has created an “ultra-glamorous and super-sexy” new club in Watford
All memories of troubled nightclub Area in Watford, Hertfordshire, have been wiped away with the site’s new incarnation as the luxurious, stylish Cameo. After fighting took place outside the town centre club during the August 2011 riots, it struggled to shake off its tarnished reputation until last year the police called for its licence to be revoked. Its operator Gatecrasher took action, closing the club for two months and investing about £1million into transforming it into a completely new venue which, according to managing director Simon Raine, is “ultra-glamorous and super-sexy”. It reopened in January with a party attended by the likes of Hugo Taylor of Made in Chelsea and I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here.
Cameo is aimed at people “in search of high-end opulence with a credible twist”, according to Gatecrasher. Inspired by Miami superclubs, it has over 30 VIP booths across its three rooms, LED lighting effects, bottle-to-table service and four new bars including one specialising in champagne and another in cocktails. A new sound system has been installed from Opus Audio, supporting big club nights such as the eclectic Supersonic Vague on Fridays and student night Let’s Play Dirty on Mondays. PAs in the opening week included The Prodigy’s Rob Holliday and drum and bass chart-toppers Redlight and Dread MC. Saturday nights is I’m in Miami Beach, a big party night with performers, special effects and stunning visuals such as CO2 cannons and confetti explosions.
To create the opulent new interior, Gatecrasher turned to leading bar and club designer Matt Rawlinson of Raw Design, who has worked on other Gatecrasher clubs in Leeds, Nottingham and Sheffield as well as Bed in Watford. “In the past, it was an old dance venue with not a lot in it so we set out to inject some softness and comfort into it,” Matt says. “Clubbing has changed. People want more comfort and don’t want to just listen to DJs. They want something more.”
The venue’s three rooms have each been designed with their own identity, with changes to layout to improve flow and minimise sound clash from the different music in each space. The main room has been broken up with a bar in the centre and booths around the edges, with shiny black upholstery and small illuminated white tables. It has stunning new colour-changing LEDs across the ceiling, creating special effects throughout the night.
Another room has been dubbed the Red Room, with red booth seating, champagne tables, rose-patterned wallpaper, red tables carved with a rose motif, and illuminated poser tables with deep-buttoned upholstery on the sides. A new bar has been built at one end and a DJ booth at the other, with more LED effects on the wall behind.
The third room is called BoutiQ, with skull-patterned carpet on the walls flowing down onto the seating. Contrasting with the hard wood and tiled flooring, the carpet has a fantastic impact on the acoustics of the space. In the ceiling are two alcoves with LEDs for more visual effects. “The overall effect is to make the club feel a more up-to-date party space,” Matt adds.
The new club has been well received, with top DJs such as Radio One’s Zane Lowe lined up to play. “At Cameo, there will be an extraordinary night every night,” Gatecrasher’s Simon Raine promises. “Thirty VIP booths and a jam-packed dance floor invite clubbers to have a truly awesome party.”
46 The Parade, High Street, Watford WD17 1AY
Tel: 01923 281505
Who did it
Design: Raw Design
Wall carpet: Ege Carpets
Lighting installation: Cannock Electrical
Sound system: Opus Audio
Upholstery: JD Upholstery
Contractor: Ashley Shopfitters