OMA’s Klymax nightclub is designed as a “sonic sweet spot”

Architecture studio OMA has collaborated with DJ Harvey on a nightclub at the Potato Head resort in Seminyak, Bali, where optimized acoustics and a sprung dance floor take the experience for partygoers to the next level.

Following the completion of the resort itself in 2020, OMA went back to work with the Potato Head Design Studio on the interiors for Klymax, which are acoustically treated to turn the entire dance floor into a “sonic sweet spot”.

Nightclub with teak paneling and a seating area with built-in leather chairs
OMA has completed the Klymax nightclub at the Potato Head resort in Bali

English DJ Harvey Bassett, better known as DJ Harvey, also contributed his knowledge gained from forty years of experience in nightclubs.

He wanted to “distill the most unique and important elements of the world’s most important parties and venues – past and present – ​​into what he considers the most rewarding nightclub experience imaginable,” the design team explains.

“At Klymax, sound comes first,” the team continued. “It just so happens that when building a space to present the music in the best possible way, the design is visually appealing.”

The built-in leather chairs match the warm brown tones of the wood paneling
Built-in leather chairs on one side of the dance floor match the warm brown tones of the wood paneling

The club’s walls and ceilings are clad in teak veneer, perforated with more than 2.6 million holes that help “tame wandering frequencies” by preventing the sound waves from reflecting and altering the audio.

The panels are placed on top of equally perforated plywood sheets and a layer of Rockwool insulation, creating a buffer for the 20 centimeter thick concrete exterior walls.

A disco ball of one meter in diameter hangs above a sprung dance floor
A disco ball of one meter in diameter hangs over the springy dance floor

A 208 square meter sprung dance floor, similar to that of London’s Ministry of Sound, is designed to reduce fatigue and stress on dancers’ joints.

The technology, also found in ballrooms and basketball courts, consists of four layers of a wooden lattice structure with 50 millimeters of foam between each intersection.

Speakers mounted on concrete pads that absorb vibrations
The speakers are mounted on concrete pads that absorb vibrations

Klymax’s audio engineer George Stavro worked with fellow engineer Richard Long, who was responsible for the sound at legendary Manhattan venues Studio 54 and Paradise Garage.

“It is a classic disco nightclub system, based on a blueprint established in New York clubs in the 1970s,” the team said.

To absorb vibrations, the speakers sit on an 11-centimeter-thick concrete padding that is also designed to be separated from the sprung floor to prevent rattling.

“Rich, refined and impeccably detailed, the system creates a huge sonic sweet spot, presenting the music exactly as it was meant to be heard, with every nuance intact – perfectly tuned to optimize the audio experience,” said the team.

Dark nightclub with red laser lighting
The lighting was designed in collaboration with Tokyo’s Real Rock Design

A floating DJ booth soundproofs the dance floor so the music doesn’t penetrate, while a reflective pond on the Klymax roof also prevents sound from leaking through the roof.

Lighting was designed in collaboration with Tokyo’s Real Rock Design, the same studio behind Japan’s Rainbow Disco Club festival.

Red-lit stairs lead to the dance floor
Red-lit stairs lead to the dance floor

At one end of the room is a raised lounge area with leather chairs, while in the center a three-foot-diameter disco ball hangs from the ceiling.

The club also has a “muted bar” where cocktails are served on tap to avoid the noise of shakers and bottles.

Concrete room with red lighting
The building has concrete outer walls of 20 centimeters thick

Throughout May 2024, DJ Harvey will take part in a month-long artist residency at Potato Head, which will include several late-night sets at Klymax, as well as a curated program of film screenings, surfing and mindfulness sessions.

A line-up of international residents and DJs including HAAi, Dave Clarke, Sophie McAlister and Jonathan Kusuma are also scheduled for the nightclub.

A bunker-like entrance to a nightclub
The club is accessed via a bunker-like entrance

OMA completed the Potato Head Studios resort in 2020 as part of the Desa Potato Head village in the Balinese resort of Seminyak.

The company has previously lent its expertise in nightclub design to a pop-up venue for fashion brand Miu Miu through its research arm AMO. And in 2017, the studio unveiled its design for a shape-shifting new venue for Ministry Of Sound, which won a competition in 2015 but was demolished shortly afterwards.

The photography is by Tommaso Riva.

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