The cosy 350 capacity venue is sited in a charismatic ex United Reform Church building constructed in 1840, and is a new venture by local entrepreneur Maurice Fermoy.
The lighting scheme was designed and programmed by Coe-tech’s Nathan Wan working with installer’s Leamington Sight & Sound’s Ian Potter. Wan was given the brief of creating something special that would become a local talking point, and would match the funkiness of the building!
Prior to being acquired by Fermoy, the church – then in an advanced state of dilapidation – had been bought, comprehensively renovated and converted into a pizza restaurant, circa 1996. In the process, much of the heavy restoration work had already been completed. Despite the stunning location, pizzas proved not to be a popular gastronomic trend in Banbury!
Fermoy had visited a few times, and loved the space’s natural ambience. He was convinced from the moment he first walked into the place that it would be successful as a club …. And he was right.
From the outset, he wanted the best lighting and sound system in the area. He was on a bit of a mission to produce a venue that would feature the latest technology and become a talking point and a business generator.
The high ceilinged interior of the Grade II listed building naturally divided itself into two elevations for lighting.
Rails rigged off the 360 degree mezzanine balcony (which wraps around the whole space) are used for fixtures pointing down onto the dancefloor below and shooting up to the ceiling space. In the roof apex is a central circular truss with more fixtures, and a white sharkstooth gauze skin stretched across. This accentuates any projections and reflections from the club’s visual piece de resistance – a custom made dodecahedron mirror ball.
The weird-looking mirrorball is an impressive and powerful centrepiece. In fact, currently, it’s the talk of Banbury, and when darkness falls, it can be seen clearly from afar, through the club’s tall and stately front exterior window.
The complete lighting and sound installation was undertaken by Leamington Sight and Sound, under the direction of Ian Potter. It was Potter who originally conceived the shape of the mirror ball, which Coe-tech then had custom made to spec. LSS has worked with Fermoy on previous bar and pub projects in the area.
Coe-tech supplied sixteen CC200 Pro Color changers, four MH660s moving heads and four SC575 scanners around the balcony, plus four screens for reveal, sited at each corner of the balcony. The screens drop down to reveal more lights – eight CC200s and four SC570 scanners – rigged on low-level cross bars just above the balcony.
Up on the ceiling truss are a further six MH640s and six SC-570s fixtures which are concentrated on the mirror ball.
Lighting Control is via a ShowCAD system also supplied by Coe-tech. This is ensconced in the DJ booth in the church’s former pulpit, now encased in an industrial-style, metal cross-beam structure.
Wan’s big lighting task – that of making it look spectacular – was aided by the beguiling building, but he also had to ensure he specified a rig with plenty of scope, and enough variety and WOW factors to keep turning heads the whole night long.
“There’s not masses of fixtures” he comments, “But they certainly help keep the energy levels pumped throughout the night”. The ShowCAD has been programmed with plenty of eye-catching effects for easy operation by 52 Degrees North’s own technical crew.
The interiors were designed by Stephen Gee of Gee 4 Designs, who also works nationwide for the stylish Pizza Express chain.
52 Degrees North is currently open three days a week – Thursdays through Saturday – and has been doing a roaring trade since day one. The musical policy is mixed and mainstream and they encourage an audience of over 25 groovers and party people in search of good vibes and sensational lighting and sound.
The lighting scheme has already achieved it’s aim of becoming a local crowd puller, and they intended to keep changing the shape and appearance of the mirror ball regularly to ensure interest is stimulated and it remains a local talking point!.