Multi-purpose Elation Lighting for Multi-use Dakota Restaurant and Bar

Over the past 12 months, Elation dealer Fyxx Entertainment has outfitted several top entertainment venues in Scottsdale, Arizona, with Elation lighting and video systems – live music venue Livewire and The District bar and nightclub for example – a list that also includes Dakota, a full service restaurant and bar located in the heart of Scottsdale’s thriving Entertainment District.

A project of Triyar Entertainment Group, Dakota is a new build venue that fills a niche in owner Shawn Yari’s string of Scottsdale properties that include Maya Day + Nightclub, The District and the W Scottsdale Hotel. “All of the properties have different niches,” explains Adrian de Pamphilis, owner of Fyxx Entertainment. “Dakota caters to a bit older and more professional clientele than Maya and The District, which target more the younger 20-something crowd.”

Dakota is located next to the W Scottsdale Hotel and is a 24/7 multi-use venue that serves great food morning to night. “Customers to Dakota are often hotel guests,” Adrian continued. “They can get their coffee there in the morning, have a business lunch in the afternoon, and enjoy an elegant dinner in the evening. It attracts more of a 30-something crowd and is very tasteful. Although it’s a bit quieter than Maya and The District, when the sun goes down it transforms into more of a club atmosphere with live DJs and bottle and VIP service.”

With so many reasons to visit Dakota and a broad clientele to cater to, the venue required a flexible lighting system that could change with the situation while bringing the venue to life after dark. While owner Shawn Yari is known to come with his own ideas on what he’d like to see as far as lighting at his properties (see The District), with Dakota he left the lighting decisions up to Fyxx Entertainment, who were contracted to custom-design a dynamic lighting system. Adrian, Fyxx’s Gabriel de Pamphilis and lighting designer Jason Jones co-designed the lighting scheme.

One need look no further than the venue’s dining tables to sense the multi-use functionality of the space. Conveniently affixed with wheels, each table can be easily rolled away and the space quickly converted to a dance floor. Used to centre light the tables when in dining mode are Platinum Profile LEDs, moving head fixtures that can dress the tables in a choice of colours including white. The energy-efficient luminaires also house framing shutters so that illumination of each table is exact. Once the tables are cleared, the fixtures seamlessly shift into nightclub lighting mode, using its movement, colours, graphics and effects possibilities to instantly change the atmosphere from dining decorative to dance floor dynamic.

Then the rest of the lighting rig comes to life. Mounted in a grid above the dance floor are EPV762 moving head LED panels, high-resolution 7.62mm pixel pitch video panels that give the space a unique visual look by rotating just like a moving yoke light fixture. Used for high-res video, graphics and even text messages, they sweep effects around the room with a smooth pan/tilt motion that allows them to be seen from all sides and every angle. Video processing is from an Elation EVP VSC video controller and content for the panels is delivered using an Arkaos Media Master Express.

While top local DJs provide the dance beat from atop a raised custom-designed DJ booth, mounted within it on each side to energise the space in quick bursts of movement and effect are Elation Sniper 2Rs. One of the first Sniper installs in the U.S., the award-winning multi-effect light serves a number of roles from lightning fast scanner effect to mid-air beam light to laser simulator. Meanwhile, washing the dance floor in colour while providing eye-candy looks and more dance floor energy are Platinum Wash ZFX LED moving heads. The fast moving head splays a host of multi-zone chases and narrow or wide zoom effects. Finally, for a tasteful design detail in the bar area, Elation LED Flex Tape lines the glass shelves of the bar, uplighting bottles in decorative colour-changing light.

Dakota often operates into the wee hours of the night, but unlike most other entertainment venues, Dakota must be ready for the early morning coffee crowd at 6:00 am. Although the lighting system typically only gets going once the sun goes down (5:30pm in the winter months), that’s still a lot of operational hours for a lighting system. “LED was the obvious choice here,” Adrian said. “Besides the power savings that they benefit from, they didn’t want to worry about changing bulbs and the other maintenance issues you can have with a discharge system. Fewer fans to deal with, less cooling, less power, less maintenance – it just made sense.”

The dynamic lighting scheme at Dakota continues to an outdoor patio area visible from the street where compact IP65-rated American DJ Wifly QA5 RGBA wash fixtures and Elation 4-head LED Event Bars are used to uplight olive trees, as well as the building’s outdoor façade on two sides. “Outdoor lighting wasn’t a part of the initial lighting scheme which meant that we had no access to DMX outside,” Adrian explains. “When it was eventually decided to add dynamic lighting at the patio areas and onto the façade we turned to the wireless DMX solution of the Wifly QA5 which has wireless DMX built-in. The Entertainment District is booming and the outside visual attraction will help in the competitive environment to attract customers.” At another outdoor area, Dakota’s Comoncy Coffee Bar patio, rock columns are uplit using Acclaim ALQ Bar 500 and 1000 linear graze and wash fixtures. All of the outdoor lighting design at Dakota is the work of Fyxx’s Gabriel de Pamphilis while lighting programming for the entire venue was completed by Elation’s Esteban De La Torre-Alva.

Dakota is a good example of success begetting success. After the venue opened its doors last December, client Shawn Yari was so satisfied with the install that he quickly contracted Fyxx for his next project. “The owner was so happy with Dakota and the lighting system there that we immediately began talking about what we could do at The District,” Adrian concludes. “The client was very happy with the way both installs turned out and we were pleased to work together with Elation to realise these projects.”