How Omnia tapped into the unexpected on the Las Vegas Strip
As a teenager, I remember walking down South Las Vegas Boulevard with literal stars in my eyes and Kanye West’s “All of the Lights” on repeat, dreaming of the day I could have my first real Vegas nightclub experience. As an adult, I’d just as soon nurse gin and tonics at the nearest strip mall dive bar.
Perhaps it is a jaded opinion that even the most storied clubs can yield forgettably formulaic nights, from the architecture to the artists on rotation. After all, there’s that famous maxim about things that may, or may not, happen in Las Vegas which suggests fun to be had for all who seek it. But the ubiquity of social media–a cliche in its own right–has cast lingering doubts on the possibility that anyone’s actions in Sin City could ever be truly clandestine. More than that, the implicit guarantee of secret fun to be has, has been corrupted by an oppressive sameness across the nightlife spectrum on the strip.
So it’s true; as a misanthropic millennial working in this industry it takes something unexpected to excite me.
What a relief, then, to know that there is still a club in Vegas that can literally take my breath away. From it’s post nestled deep inside the storied Caesar’s Palace, Hakkasan’s Omnia quietly reigns the strip.
Since its big opening just two years ago—Justin Bieber’s 21st birthday bash—Omnia has distinguished itself from the pack with a deft pivot into the delightfully unexpected. Now, the club is known for the A list producers and partygoers that grace their luxurious space packed with high tech activations, all of which were on display during the venue’s 2 year anniversary party this weekend. Those lucky enough to make it were treated to sets from club regulars Calvin Harris and Kaskade–who tweeted out praise for the crowd’s vibe throughout the event. The event was unsurprisingly packed.
On any given night, actually, Omnia’s opulence glows over a full house of gorgeous clubgoers from all over the world. They filter in past the Vegas gold ticketing kiosks and plush purple velvet into an entry hall that serves as a portal into the cavernous club. Colors morph across the LCD screens embedded into each of the walkway’s black, mirrored walls.
The spectacle continues inside the club, playing across the eight concentric rings of Omnia’s kinetic chandelier. The 22,000 pound installation glows with a life of its own, treating clubbers to both the expected—projections, theatrical lighting—and the unexpected—sound responsive mechanical design which sees the orb dilate and evolve through the night. Architectural LED strips embedded into the ceiling and walls echo the dazzling graphics throughout the space.
The production is so incredible, even those on the club’s A list roster can’t help but gush. Zedd, for one, says Omnia is “arguably the best club in the world” calling his shows at the venue “unbelievably intense.”
As a resident act at the club, Kaskade would have to agree. “Omnia is a legendary venue,” he said recently, in honor of the its anniversary, adding that he felt “lucky” to play regularly at a venue that is “constantly packed with some of the most unforgettable crowds.”
Still others have been with the club since it opened it’s doors exactly two years ago this March.
“I was really excited when they shared the initial designs and involved me in a large part of the planning the sound system, lights, effects, and other details throughout the club,” says Afrojack. “For me, it’s important in Las Vegas that it’s not just me playing songs, that it’s actually a show: part pre-planned, part improvised.”
In fact, the Dutch producer’s two year relationship with the space has produced some of his most fondly remembered moments from sold out residencies to fire alarm mishaps. The latter moment happened just weeks after the venue’s opening when a false alarm brought the house lights up and the producer’s set to a screeching halt. Tapping into his crowd work skills, Afrojack jumped on the mic and began engaging with the audience like a regular Louis CK.
“Once the alarms shut off and the set continued, the atmosphere was incredible. It was like the interruption had never happened,” said James Algate, Hakkasan Group’s Vice President of Entertainment.
Despite its staggering size, this sort of intimacy permeates throughout the club thanks, in part, to a set of distinct zones that allow guests to enjoy a range of vibes and experiences throughout their stay. The panoramic Vegas views of the Terrace and the exclusive Heart of Omnia where artists themselves relax together with the main club are the venue’s holy trinity of play spaces for clubbers to explore.
With such attention paid to the details of their design, it is easy to see how Omnia’s creative team have engineered a uniquely engaging party space and the experiential sum is overwhelmingly greater than the working parts. An experience the young DJ calls “next level.”
“Omnia is like a second home to me,” said the young DJ recently. “[It’s] brought me so many great memories as a DJ and the team who runs it are amazing. It’s also one of the bet crowds in Vegas in my opinion. And as I’m finally turning 21 this year, I will be able to see the club from the other side of the DJ booth too!”
With such a lush venue and incredible talent, it’s hard to imagine anyone could keep what happens at Omnia a secret for very long.