Come Out and Play
Sheila Kim-Jamet -- Interior Design, 11/1/2004 12:00:00 AM
In a part of south Florida more associated with Lilly Pulitzer than Roberto Cavalli, Guillermo Gomez Architect is amping up the nightlife scene. The firm had already designed a West Palm Beach restaurant, Tsunami, for entrepreneur Frank Cilione, the founder of New York club NV. For Cilione's second West Palm foray, Guillermo Gomez says, the design mandate was to create an "amusement park for grown-ups." Welcome to Resort, a nightclub on the top floor of a building at CityPlace, the mixed-use development credited with transforming West Palm.
Presented with a cavernous 4,800-square-foot space, Gomez began by coating the concrete floor in white and blue epoxy, an allusion to the nearby Atlantic Ocean. Then, because the interior was broken up by six 15-foot-high concrete structural columns, he created a plan of enticing clusters.
The fun begins at the top of an escalator with the front lounge, a large area that offers several cocktail-sipping venues. Take one bar, located beneath a mosaic-tiled canopy that curves all the way down to the floor. Part tunnel, part wave, the dramatic form is clad in iridescent blue, green, and white glass mosaic tile and pierced by a structural column painted fire-engine red—one of several uses of contrasting colors. "It creates the sensation of hot against cold," Gomez explains.
Inside the structure, at the base of the curve, he built a 24-foot-long cylindrical bench wrapped in winter-white vinyl. The actual bar, faced in backlit translucent plastic, backs up to a one-way mirror, fun-house style. Behind are the men's and women's restrooms, so drinkers can observe hand-washers at the green resin basins on the other side. Also visible is a floor cleverly tiled in the same blue, green, and white stripes as the bar floor and canopy. (No one can see through the stalls' stainless-steel doors.)
A second bar, this one faced in copper, services the lounge and nearby VIP booth. The interior of this round enclosure radiates yellow, with a banquette, walls, and ceiling all upholstered in sunny quilted chenille. The outside of the booth is, again, bright red, as are five oval ceiling cutouts and the curved wall of the space that funnels traffic from the main lounge to either side of the dance floor.
Carved into this red wall, five white, rectangular niches hold benches covered in vinyl. A constellation of custom pendant globes, hanging at heights of 8 to 12 feet above the floor, is suspended in the center of this transition space, one end of which curves around a steel-framed tower of red, orange, and yellow acrylic panels—discreetly housing a service bar. In the opposite direction, the space narrows into a ramp passing between the gently convex forms of two drywall partitions. One is painted a neon yellow. The other, an ocean blue, is punctuated by clear glass portholes that give a glimpse of the 1,300-square-foot dance floor, the next and last stop on this ride.
To refuel, club-goers can head to the rearmost bar, an undulating two-piece form comprising an aluminum-laminate base and a poured-concrete top, the latter coated in clear epoxy shiny enough to reflect the orange glow cast by the backlit acrylic panels installed on the wall behind. A stainless-steel footrest snakes its way around the base of the bar. Overhead, Gomez concealed air-conditioning vents in gypsum forms that resemble a pair of giant red lamp shades.
The dance floor's VIP area features a curved orange banquette that seats up to 12. The rest of the space is white, from the pitched ceiling down to the painted plywood floor—a platform raised 2 feet above the action and fronted by a steel rail, like a very swank playpen.