Gone are the days when a venue’s ability to host large-scale events was measured on square footage alone. Today conference planners increasingly search for event venues that offer size plus something more—designs that allow them to make a meeting feel, well, less like a meeting.
When long-standing New York City nightclub Marquee reopened as a music-focused venue in January, the layout was rethought to also make it better for business events. Owners wanted to maintain a hip club atmosphere but create a better sense of arrival and a space that was more transformable and adaptive for corporate groups.
Josh Held of Josh Held Design handled the redesign. “We took a club with a funky entrance—you entered in front of a bar packed with people, there was no procession—and took the roof off and raised it,” Held says. The 1,200-person space was converted into a warehouse-like room with 28-foot ceilings and industrial design elements. Upon entering, guests encounter a long procession that leads them to the middle of the expansive open space—as Held puts it “channeling the exhilaration of stumbling upon an underground music venue,” but on a much grander level.
Inside, there’s a large raised stage, a wraparound catwalk for performers, and a large LED screen behind the DJ booth, plus five movable rigs of LEDs on the ceiling that can be programmed to flow from one to the other. Corporate clients can brand the space with logos or other content for meetings or post-conference parties that are on-brand while delivering a unique ambiance.