Santa Monica, CA / Completed 1999
Social Mixer: This 3,000 square foot interior investigates the nightclub’s role as a “social mixer,” a place that encourages cultural integration, curiosity, and inclusion.
See and Be Seen: The space was designed to intensify the looking at and meeting of people – to both reinforce and poke fun at the narcissistic and voyeuristic behavior inherent in a nightclub. To this end, it brings people together in surprising ways, such as the space in the polycarbonate “tunnel” that allows people to see inside the restrooms through clear acrylic doors.
Material Experimentation: To further support these kinds of visual relationships, the design experiments with a palette of clear, translucent, and mirrored materials that affect the perception of the body and allow it to be presented in as many ways as possible – clearly in one piece, as we think of ourselves, or in color, blurred and disoriented, as others often see us. These include epoxy floors, stainless steel mesh curtains, zinc siding, and a number of new acrylic and polycarbonate materials.
Internal Dialogues: The new programmatic elements that make up the club were designed as semi-discrete set pieces that would slip into the existing wood and brick shell. They consist of the DJ booth, the bar, the raised seating area, the restrooms, and the polycarbonate “tunnel” that screens the restrooms from the dance floor. They engage in an internal dialogue between themselves, as well as with the original structure.
Light as a Material: In this project, light is used as a material in itself. In the restrooms, it creates a sensuous, ethereal atmosphere.
Craftsmanship: To reflect the physical, sexually charged atmosphere in the club, materials are used in their natural conditions and connections are expressed clearly and directly.
- Principal-in-Charge: John Friedman
Project Team: Alice Kimm, Nina Lesser
Project Assistants: Joe Fleischer, Tom Steidl, Marlin Watson
Structural Engineer: William Koh and Associates, Inc.
Lighting Design: FIRE Ltd.
General Contractor: Ricki Kline
- David Reiss
- 1999 Interiors Entertainment Venue Category, Honorable Mention
- 1999 AIA Los Angeles Chapter, Merit Award
- 1999 Architectural Record, Record Interiors Award
- 2007 Bar Design (daab)
- 2007 Plastic Design (daab)
- 2006 A Pocketful of Bars (Images Publishing Group)
- 2006 2000 Architects (Images Publishing Group)
- 2006 October, WC Verjaardags Kalendar
- 2005 100 More of the World’s Best Bars (Images Publishing Group)
- 2005 Architecture+, Volume 6, “Voyeurism Self-Indulgent”
- 2003 3 September, The Travel Channel, “World’s Best Bathrooms”
- 2002 DBZ Deutsche Bauzeitschrift, “Verwirrendes Spiel”
- 2002 December, DBZ Deutsche Bauzeitschrift, “Virwirrendes Spiel”
- 1999 9 December, New York Times, “Raiding Set-Dressers’ Bag of Tricks” by Frances Anderton
- 1999 September, Architectural Record, “At the hot new Club Sugar in Santa Monica, John Friedman and Alice Kimm choreograph a dance for scrims, screens, lights, and bodies” by Clifford Pearson
- 1999 13 March, Los Angeles Times, “The Sweet Taste of Sugar” by Heidi Sigmund Cuda