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London nightclub Printworks gets charged up with Void Acoustics

Two fully soundproofed halls, racks of industrial machinery and a site used for filming famous movies, means lot of history is contained in the space

A new nightclub in London has opened in the building that housed the giant presses that once printed the Metro and Evening Standard newspapers. It’s a space that contained western Europe’s former largest print facility, spread over more than 100,000sqft (9,400sqm).

The unique industrial space has been used for a range of launch events, as well as a location for films such as The Avengers: The Age of Ultron (2014), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), and Criminal, starring Kevin Costner, with filming taking place in 2014.

Manchester United star Paul Pogba appeared at Printworks as the face of an Adidas’s campaign in 2016. He was choppered in and joined by BRIT winner Stormzy and Radio iXtra, Twin B, with football-mad guests led through the Press Halls and into the cavernous Reel Storage space to test the new Red Limit models, the company’s football boot collection released late last year.

Meanwhile, luxury British fashion brand Mulberry chose Printworks as the venue to launch its 2017 summer collection. Over 900 guests watched two catwalks in ‘The Vanway’ – a space that once housed the final stage of the printing process and where vans would collect newspapers for distribution in the UK – and the Publishing room, a 20,000sqft (1,800sqm) space on the site. And Triumph’s Bonneville Bobber motorcycle was launched there in October 2016, with The Vaccines and DJ Harriet Rose filling the space with music, during which an indoor drag race with the motorcycles also took place.

Launched in February this year, Printworks is a 6,000-capacity licensed venue comprising six event spaces, arranged over multiple levels with a maze of corridors and rooms, which retain all the original machinery and industrial machines, including two fully soundproofed press halls. The opening nights line-up featured a back-to-back set from German DJ and electronic music producer Loco Dice, American duo The Martinez Brothers and American DJ Seth Troxler.

The main room, the Press Hall, was fully-fitted with L-Acoustics loudspeakers, an automated lighting truss that makes the most of the vast heights and over 100 lasers and spotlights to illuminate the dramatic industrial features.

BSC Audio was responsible for the installation, along with Loz Poulton, production manager at LWE, a London promoter.

Managing director at BSC Audio David Shepherd says: “It’s a challenging space for audio with low balconies on either side of a long room. The biggest problem is achieving enough height in the system to get throw, so much so that metalwork had to be removed from some of the under balconies to get the stacks in. Working closely with Loz I think we have achieved a great result in what is an iconic venue.”

The L-Acoustics set up consists of 8 stacks with a total of 12 x K2, 12 x Kara, 16 x SB28 and six SB18. The DJ monitors are two SB28 with 4 ARCS, while the bar Area is 8 x Kiva, driven from 15 LA8. The console is a Yamaha QL1 with a Rio 3224.

Meanwhile, for ‘Charge Bay’ – a room on the main floor – the sound system was designed, commissioned and installed by club speaker specialist Void Acoustics, while there is a smaller system from the Poole-based developer upstairs at the artist bar.

Jake Manley, UK sales manager at Void Acoustics, talks enthusiastically about the new venue: “Printworks in London is an amazing space that instantly captured our hearts. The industrial setting mirrors London’s underground music scene and is perfectly located near the centre of the capital,” he says. “The events at Printworks (will) feature some of the biggest names in the industry, and we have specified a sound system to match the quality of the artists that will perform (there).”

With the assistance of Peterborough-based sound and lighting specialist Twisted Audio team, which is led by Barry Williams, the crew from Void designed a custom sound system for Printworks with the aim of delivering as even coverage as possible.

The system in Charge Bay features Air Motion, Void’s three-way bi-amped sculpted loudspeaker array, and Stasys 218 low-frequency enclosures to deliver a thunderous and dynamic low end. Void says that the new Air Stream monitors have been chosen to provide DJs with “ultra smooth frequency transmission at high sound pressure levels”.

Void Acoustics was established in 2002 by Rog Mogale and Alex Skan. As creative director, Mogale said in PSNEurope’s original 2015 Genius! supplement: “When I designed the Air Motion, I threw away the box. No box, no resonance. I then selected the very best transducers I could find and matched them to horns with minimal colouration. I’m proud that we achieved a product totally without compromise, either sonically or visually.”

Events are already booked into the space up until September and Paul Jack, from Printworks, is impressed with how the space has been transformed.

“It was fantastic seeing the space come to life both from a sound and visual perspective. Watching people’s excitement seeing the space for the first time said it all,” says Jack. “It was a testament to all the work that has gone into preparing the space and to our production team, Loz Poulton and Zofia Plonczak. Void provided the sound in Charge Bay, installing a four point system that delivered a clear and punchy sound with amazing feedback from artists and clubbers alike; it sounded amazing.”

Future plans for the space include a mini-jazz season, a classical music programme, alongside markets, vintage fairs and food festivals, plus in-house music events.

Pictures: Top: Swedish DJ Adam Beyer gets the crowd going in the Press Hall. Credit: Max Miechowski. Second picture: UK DJ Maya Jane Coles hits the deck. Credit: Justine Trickett. Fourth picture: Looking down on the crowd in the Press Hall. Credit: Danny North.