Moka, Crawley

Luminar has created a modern new club in Crawley town centre in West Sussex

After being closed for nearly a year, the 1,100-capacity Liquid and Envy club in the heart of Crawley in West Sussex has been transformed into a modern new venue called Moka. Launched last October, the £750,000 investment is part of Luminar’s revitalisation of its clubs around the UK after new management took over in 2011. “The site had been closed by the previous owner and was underinvested,” says Tim Howards, head of marketing and central operations at Luminar. “We refurbished the club taking into account local demographics and used inspiration from new designs and technology for the interior décor. This gives the venue an up-to-date and edgy feel while retaining the comfort and style that our clubbers demand.”

The new concept was developed with bar and club specialist Design At Source, which has created striking interiors for the likes of Gatecrasher and Luminar in the past. “The brief was to wipe the old Liquid and Envy slate clean and make the most dramatic change possible,” says Design At Source director Stuart Trett. “Even though the recent years have been relatively quiet in terms of nightclub development, with a few notable exceptions, things have moved on a lot elsewhere and clubs need to catch up if they are to survive.”

They wiped away the curves of the old venue and created a series of spaces and experiences, breaking up the large main room visually while retaining the theatre of a big-volume club. Design At Source has worked on improving the whole customer experience including a new logo and external signage. In the entrance, the pay desk and cloakroom have been moved to a mezzanine, “allowing internal queuing space and making the anticipation of entry part of the build-up rather than a wait to get in”, Stuart explains. The views into the main room are intentionally obstructed to add more interest when entering.

A combination of high-tech and retro design in the main Moka room comes from large-scale digital wallpaper and hand-painted ultraviolet graphics which, Stuart says, is “shunning the lazy use of ubiquitous colour-changing LED lighting for bold red and white statements”. He adds: “The old concept of a central dance floor is broken up, with the extensive new seating and stage areas rising straight off the dance floor – rather than pushed to the edges – merging the dancing, seating and drinking areas into one space.”

However, an LED batten light sculpture forms a focal point over the dance floor, ensuring the space is “big and bold, up tempo and maximum impact”. The dramatic 3D ceiling starburst used 120 of SGM’s LT-100 LED pixel tubes measuring one metre each. Click here for more on the lighting scheme.

A smaller room, called Vista, is a complete contrast with an intimate rich gold and black design and luxury booths to create a chic space with a more exclusive feel overlooking the main room. The VIP bar is sponsored by Russian Standard vodka, whose brand ambassador Tatiana Petrakova has provided staff training covering the taste and production of vodka. The menu features classic, freshly made cocktails, served long or in one of the bar’s novelty drinking vessels. They include a Piña Colada in a hollowed-out coconut, a cream liqueur-packed Calm Monkey in an engraved coconut shell and a rum-based Bahama Mama in a long bamboo cup.

The club has been designed to be flexible to accommodate different nights through the week, including a special night for staff from nearby Gatwick airport on Tuesdays. “Moka has been well received and is trading above expectations,” Tim adds.

Moka, Station Way, Crawley, West Sussex RH10 1JA Tel: 01293 738638

Who did it
Design: Design At Source
Electrical contractor: Haddow Electrical
Sound: CVA
Specialist lighting: Technical Arts
LED lighting: Led-Lites, SGM
Main contractor: Sanderson
Signage: NSI
Soft flooring: CD Northern
Loose furniture: Abbey Leisure Furnishings
Drapes: AM Contract Curtains

First published in the February 2013 issue of Bar magazine.

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