This past weekend over 450,000 visitors from around the world landed in Amsterdam for the sole purpose of participating and exploring the club scene. The five-day electronic music festival known as ADE, Amsterdam Dance Event, set the city ablaze with hundreds of concerts and conferences, many of which took place in local clubs and party venues. Among these events was one that took the exploration of club culture to the next level.
Amsterdam-based textile designer, Borre Akkersdijk worked in conjunction with Red Bull At Night to develop a one-of-a-kind event that looked to push the boundaries of clubbing through deliberately activating our five senses – each of which, they believe, play a big part in the clubbing experience. With the help of some world-class specialists in the field of music/sound design, food, scents and visual design, the event provided a thorough experience meant to trigger each one of your senses separately, and also simultaneously – a separate room aptly named the “Overdrive” room was created for the sole purpose of overwhelming all the senses.
For the most closely connected sense to club culture, the “sound” was provided by 4DSOUND reigning from Budapest. Known for developing technology for immersive spatial sound experiences, the crew designed two immersive installations; firstly a “Sound Guide System” made up of strategically-placed UE Boom speakers that began at the entrance and led guests into the different locations through calculated audio transmissions. Secondly the ‘overdrive room’ with a custom version of their 4DSOUND system with technology that projected ‘sounds holograms’ in space. Borre also enlisted audio specialists, King Shiloh and Mr Wix to help produce a complete experience with the construction of the most innovative systems with technology that used quadraphonic sound (4 sided) rather than the conventional uni-directional transmission.
The touch sense was filled with the use of BYBORRE’s textile and fabric scattered throughout the event space – both on walls, furniture and worn by the entire crew. Akkersdijk have been implementing new technologies in fabrics, which have made it possible to physically measure how your body and senses are reacting to the music. The type of technology Borre has seamlessly implemented into clothes and accessories have the capability to track location, heart-rate, temperature amongst other advanced metrics.
The use of scents was definitely something that caught your nose the moment guests stepped into the event space. The French Nose, who is known for creating perfumes and providing scents for art installations, contributed to the experience in strong way, with the use of smells that alluded to Fetish and addiction associated with clubbing. Consistent with the event, the French Nose used innovative techniques of diffusing smells through new gas extraction technology in order to achieve their sensory mission.
For taste, a specialist in each food and drink were present to cater to our oral needs. Benny, the head chef of BAK restaurant, Milanese star chef Misha Sukyas who acquired fame through his ‘techno emotional’ cooking and Danil Nevsky, a world-renowned bartender produced an interesting yet enjoyable experience for our sense of taste and by extension a bit of smell. The highlight of the eating experience was undoubtedly the special psychedelic sauce Benny Blisto created to enhance the clubbing experience, starting with the dinner table. Nevsky looked to take the guests “Through the rabbit hole” where the guests are tasks to picking a pill, “red or blue,” which is indicative of the start of a night out, the outcome of the night being a product of your individual decisions.
Perhaps the most captivating sensory experience was that of sight. Led by La Bolleur, a multidisciplinary design studio, the interior of the space was designed with functionality, but ornament in mind. The eclectic collective added colors, lights and patterns in each room to establish a unique yet collectively challenging environment. La Bolleur, together with light artists, Meeus Van Dis, designed complex structures with a CNC-machine, that worked well together with the LED-driven installations.
All this aside, the most intriguing aspect of the entire event was undoubtedly the addition of a sixth sense. This sense, Borre and Red Bull believe to be a key to the future of clubbing. Technology. The introduction of tech to the two-night event added the extra layer that propelled the exploration aspect. Known for his high regard for wearable technology and innovation in clothing, seen in his eponymous label BYBORRE, Akkersdijk created a future-facing bracelet that collected the information of guests throughout the night. Partnering with CWI, a research institute for math and computer science, the crew was able to not only collect information, but examine and analyze the data in accordance to the attendees at the event. As explained by Pablo César from CWI, “This event was more than just a well orchestrated club night, but rather an environmental ecosystem to study and to learn how to design and build the next-generation of clubbing.”
The BYBORRE studio will turn the results of this exploration into a knitted piece, unique to the event attendee, with the results stitched into a layered all-encompassing graphic. Check out a preview of the night below.
- Vivek Vadoliya
- Lisa Smidt/HALAL Amsterdam