In December 2011, Crossfade first wrote about the impending arrival of House, a nightclub concept from Living Room veteran Mark Lowe.
Months and eventually years went by with no word on the fate of House. We'll admit, we just thought it was going to join Miami's long history of never-materialized projects.
But last year, New Times news blog Riptide reported on what was really holding up the space -- politics and red tape.
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"If I could have wrapped my brain around the nightmare that this process has been, I would never have believed it," Lowe says. "The level that certain individuals will go to prevent a perceived competitor from opening is beyond imagination. The level of harassment and corruption that this project has endured is disgraceful. I literally lost almost all faith in the political process."
But somehow, Lowe has managed to keep the dream of House alive, and he will finally welcome people to Wynwood's first megaclub on May 16 and 17.
But the question remains: Was House worth the wait? Well, Crossfade took a private tour of the space last week and was in awe of the attention to detail. We had our doubts, but the hard work Lowe put into the space is amazing.
"I think, in many ways, everything is basically the same box, wrapped in the same lights, with the same ceiling," Lowe explains. "I want to believe that this is an industry filled with creative forces pushing the envelope, though. I want to believe that people are willing to take a risk on their art. House is the definition of that risk."
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The nightclub is divided into three rooms: a futuristic lobby that explodes with silver accents; a main room that really drives the House concept, complete with kitchen, bedroom, and shower/bath area that will come in handy during live performances; and a back patio for when the weather cools down. It recalls the multiroom nightclubs of yore, which aren't seen too much these days, as most clubs opt for a single, massive room.
"That process has always worked for me," says Lowe about the multiroom format. "Unless you're in a Latin American country where 5,000 can stand in a room, Ibiza, or Vegas, massive open spaces don't work anymore. It's more about intimacy. I like to fill a room and take the temperature. It forces people to connect and interact. I then open the second and third space as the night evolves."
In fact, a lot of House reminded us of long-gone establishments like Pawn Shop, Crobar, and Soho Lounge -- but upgraded. In part, Lowe seems to want to pull on those strings of nostalgia as well as introduce a new generation of partygoers to the sort of space where everyone is VIP and dances together.
We really don't want to go into too much detail, because part of the fun of House will be exploring the space. It's reported that Lowe put $4 million into the venue, and it shows. Beyond the entertainers, there will be a level of technological interactivity we've never seen at a nightclub -- from interactive art installations to nearly 360-degree screens and lots of touch screens.
Because of all the bells and whistles, the star of the show will often be the venue, not some high-priced DJ who gets paid six figures to press play and wave his arms in the air.
"I cannot begin to compete with entities like LIV, Story, and Space, especially given their exclusivities," Lowe says. "I have great respect for those spaces, and they do what they do amazingly well. But at 9,600 square feet, it doesn't make sense for Tiësto to play at House -- unless it's a private intimate show."
Lowe insists, though, DJs aren't out of the question. He'll bring some marquee names to the club at least once a month. "Miami is a DJ-based market, and I'm crazy, not an idiot," he adds. However, partygoers can expect performance artists -- contortionists, fire breathers, mimes -- throughout the space on any given night. "[House is] all about having freedom of expression to be your true self."
So how do you get into House? There's no guest list, per se. Instead, you'll have to apply to receive a House key at housenightclub.com. After that, you are pretty much welcome to come and go as you please.
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"Everyone who walks through that door will be treated like a welcome guest. Period."
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