Finding the right time to shut down one of the most successful clubs in America to remodel was a difficult call, says Phil Goldfarb, President of the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. Why would you want to close down LIV when it’s making money every weekend?
It’s the times, explains Vice President of Operations at MMG, Mo Garcia. “We live in a world with social media that is so in the now. We take pride in being in the forefront so we knew after nine years, we had to come up with something new.”
So last June, they did the unthinkable and shuttered the venue for the summer. The partners hired design firm iCrave to help create a more immersive audio-visual experience and spent the entire summer installing a new system that Miami will get to experience Friday when LIV reopens with a party hosted by rapper Travis Scott.
What the partygoers will see when they walk in is pretty wild.
The bones were left intact: VIP booths that surround the upper levels are the same but now have canopies of neon yellow bars to enclose the space. Also, the white couches were traded for brown leather. That just makes sense: “They had to be replaced too often,” says Garcia.
But the new star of the show is a piece of tech that hangs from the ceiling. All of the partners have given it different nicknames like the Spider or the Jellyfish. LIV’s Technical Director, Jorge Matto, likes the name Dolores. Maybe he’ll call her Lola (we will).
Lola is an installation of 410 individual LED screens with 410 individual motors (and 410 individual fans so LIV doesn’t become Lola’s inferno) that hovers across LIV’s dome. The resting formation looks like a seven-legged spider and images can be projected across the screens in choreography with the music. The screens can move from spider formation to form an orb or a tear shape or the shape of a chandelier. They can rotate, separate, move up, move down in waves or undulate like an octopus. It’s super trippy, like watching a planetarium show at Frost. But instead of Pink Floyd, you’ll get Cardi B.
“I can’t wait to watch people walk out of here holding their necks from looking up at the graphics,” Matto jokes.
Around the space, every column is now covered in lights. The majestic staircase has LED panels that illuminate as well. Above the stage float a group of circular projection panels. You can’t escape the visuals in the new LIV. Says Garcia, “We wanted to be 360 degrees of experience.” Also coming soon: art installations around the space that will be done by street artists. The place is going for maximum Instagram potential.
But how are the globetrotting DJs of the world going to interact with Lola? Let’s wait and see, says Garcia. “The DJs don’t know about it, but going forward I can’t wait to see what they can do with it.”
Matto is certain that tech-obsessed DJs like Kaskade and Dillon Francis are going to geek out when they see the new installation. But crowds will love them some Lola, too. Says Matto, “The dynamic completely changes when you have an immersive experience. It is so gorgeous when it is moving.”
LIV co-owner David Grutman will likely miss the opening weekend as his wife Isabela Rangel just gave birth to the couple’s first child, a girl named Kaia.
But Lola’s not a bad name, either.