Predictions About The Revamped Marquee

I will be attending Marquee on Wednesday to see what I will see. I expect a Vegas-style club geared toward electronic dance music (EDM), with a room to dance and a room for corporate clients to have events. In the early stages, I consulted on the layout, but I’m not involved in the design now. I designed the first incarnation and a couple of reduxes since. The late, great Philip Johnson got involved at the last minute in the original design and added greatness to my humble offerings. It may have been his last project. Over the years, Jason Strauss, a partner, would ask me how I ranked Marquee in the all-time list of great clubs. I usually had it down around number 25, but with the caveat that time will tell. This latest redux says that Marquee’s story has not been fully written. It certainly dominated its decade and it certainly wasn’t all about black cards buying bottles, although that is a great part of its legacy.

Marquee took bottle service to new heights. It was a huge part of the bottle-model, table-service revolution that went global. Yet, there were hipster nights with Wednesday’s so-called “rock night” lasting for 6 or 7 years. I remember feeling great joy while sitting with Paul Sevigny and friends in the mezzanine. Marquee was fun. Celebrities came as often as sparklers on bottles. Over the year, the paint faded and the luster of it all moved to other venues. Many didn’t even realize it was still there. It was always making money, living on reputation and remembrance and professionalism. Tao Group or Strategic Group or whatever the corporate name at the time built other icons like Avenue and Lavo and PH-D and, and, and…and the crowd moved there. And then they built a club in Vegas, and the Marquee brand was reinvented as the highest-grossing joint ever. It even had an outpost way out in Australia.

As the 2000s meant bottle service, the 2010s are all about EDM. Marquee NY will be a hub, a routing point for the organization’s big name and DJ packages. Marquee NY will belie the slogan, “What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas.” To some extent, a Vegas production-marketing-big club experience will settle on 27th and 10th. A nightclub pro told me yesterday that he believes it will dominate. He feels it will redefine the whole scene. So I guess in a few years I’ll call up Jason Strauss and utter a single word, a number like “9,” and imagine the smile on his handsome and successful face. Congratulations to Noah and Jason and Mark and Rich and the other Rich and Andrew and Wass and all the players to be named later. To all the players who work so hard and make it look so easy.

Tonight I will scoot down to Mister H at the Mondrian Hotel Soho to visit Louis Mandelbaum on the occasion of his birthday. I know Louis as Louis XIV, his DJ moniker. We teamed up on New Year’s Eve at Marble Lane, also owned by those guys up above. Louis will DJ and host, and a good time is ensured for all.

Head of the Class: Harvard Grades Marquee

The Harvard Business School case study of Marquee nightclub came out as reported yesterday on DBTH. The study was forwarded to me by a bevy of friends — Facebook and real — because my name was in there on page 3. I thank the boys for crediting me as the designer, but I also redid it with Chris Sheffield a couple years later, and then again with my current partner Marc Dizon. Although Marquee isn’t what it used to be, it still is one of the premier clubs of its type. I’ll take credit for being a big part of the design team, but I must acknowledge that Noah, Jason Strauss, Andrew Sasson, Mark Packer, Colleen Weinstein, and many others contributed to designing a club that functions as well as any I’ve ever seen.

In the middle of designing, I was approached by my friend Michael McKenzie about having his good friend Philip Johnson get involved with the design. In the end Johnson (in his mid-nineties) contributed to the facade and the design of the central staircase. Although my original staircase was in that location and in the bridge-type configuration, Johnson and his associates at PJAR , including Pietro Filardo, came up with the famous arc. I heard a story that the aging architect was shown my work for the space and gave only a brief comment: “I see.” I took that as a positive response, since no changes were asked for. PJAR did elaborate studies on how the marquee of Marquee would look in relationship to the surrounding buildings, trees, and street signs. After all this work, a gigantic green sign was erected about a week before the opening which directed people to the Lincoln Tunnel — not the most glamorous development. It broke the pre-opening construction stress as the irony of a bridge and tunnel sign on what was scheduled to be the next fabulous club was not lost on anyone. The five-plus-year run recognized in this Harvard review underscores the hard and brilliant work of the Marquee team.

Also, as reported on Monday, the Club World Awards winners were recently announced, and you can check out the results on their site.