Turning out the lights might seem like a crass approach to energy efficiency, but when the purpose is to create the ultimate atmosphere of play—a nightclub of pounding dance music with a swirl of theatrical light and electronics—it makes perfect sense. “The thing to keep in mind about nightclubs—when it comes to architectural lighting—is that they are inherently sustainable because you don’t need a lot of light,” says Michael Hemmenway, an associate at the New York City powerhouse Fisher Marantz Stone (FMS). The club in question, the newly opened Marquee Nightclub and Dayclub at The Cosmopolitan, is a 62,000-square-foot behemoth that inspires awe even in its hometown of Las Vegas. The project is the result of a strong relationship between Fisher Marantz Stone’s Jules Fisher, one of the firm’s founding partners, and David Rockwell of the design-build firm Rockwell Group, and, by focusing on the intensity of the space, the pair has produced one of the most versatile clubs in Nevada. Hemmenway provided gb&d with the plan the designers went in with.

The first priority for the Marquee Nightclub in Las Vegas was spectacle, which gave birth to the three-story interactive LED video wall. But the efficiency of the light sources keeps energy use low.

1/ Spectacle
Make it more exciting than anything else in Vegas. That was the mandate. So, the structure was highlighted by a three-story interactive LED video wall. “That was in response to their desire for wow,” says Hemmenway, who recently earned several accolades, including an IALD Award of Merit for Chanel Encore in Las Vegas and an IES Illumination Award of Merit for 2000 Avenue of the Stars in California and Graff Diamonds in New York City. “This was something that no one else in Vegas had—actually, no one else in the US.”

2/ Control
Second to panache was a need for control. With this in mind, a sophisticated electronic system was installed that allows operation of the lighting at different levels. “The operator can take control of architectural as well as theatrical lighting to create the ideal environment,” Hemmenway says. “When the club is not operating, we chose highly efficient work-lighting systems, including high-efficacy sources, to preserve energy demands.”

Visible here is a bar near the nightclub's entry. “We used LED step-accent lighting, concealed-cove and linear fixtures, whereas years ago we may have used xenon or fluorescent for cabinet and work lights and other architectural details,” Hemmenway says.

3/ Efficiency and Aesthetics
“One of the biggest challenges in designing any hospitality space is balancing efficiency with aesthetics,” Hemmenway says. “Through the use of high-efficiency sources such as LED [bulbs], used in an integrated fashion with the architecture and interior design, we were able to achieve a balance between sustainability and aesthetics.” Rockwell Group led the design team, with Fisher Marantz Stone and its sister company, Fisher Dachs Associates—which both also share a studio with Third Eye Ltd.—collaborating on the lighting. “We used LED step-accent lighting, concealed-cove and linear fixtures, whereas years ago we may have used xenon or fluorescent for cabinet and work lights and other architectural details,” Hemmenway says. “Now it’s almost exclusively LED for greater efficiency and lower power consumption. There is also the benefit of greatly reduced maintenance with a longer lamp life.”

4/ Something New
“Every project involves something that we haven’t done before,” Hemmenway says. “The team designed numerous animated mounting positions. We had pods and a caged, sparkling mirror ball that dropped from the ceiling, each programmed to move up and down, allowing us to redefine the height of the space.” Theatrical equipment specialists at Show Motion and SenovvA, along with famed club-lighting designer Steve Lieberman at SJ Lighting, collaborated with the design team. “The thing that sets this nightclub apart from any other nightclub in Las Vegas is a significant live-performance component,” Hemmenway says. “It has a stage and a multilevel set for anyone from a soloist to a band to an acrobatics troupe.”

Marquee also features a sophisticated control system that allows the user to operate architectural and theatrical lighting systems. When the club is not in operation, ultra-efficient work lighting is used.