Prince, Rihanna, Miley Cyrus & More Party Among Bradley Rothenberg's Lighting Installations

It used to be about celebrity DJs. Then it was handcrafted mixology. Then pop-up nightclubs. Now, when it comes to New York nightlife venues, Bradley Rothenberg's lighting installations are having a moment.

At 5-month-old Up & Down, where Rihanna had her wild Met Gala afterparty, Prince had a listening party and Nas and Swizz Beatz hosted a birthday party for Carmelo Anthony, Rothenberg's lighting installation made up of pyramids of pulsing light that change colors lives in the stairwell between the upstairs nightclub and the downstairs lounge. Over 256 million color combinations are possible, according to Rothenberg. "It all depends on the people going up and down the stairs," he explains. "It's almost a kaleidoscopic effect pulling you down, going into an Alice in Wonderland hole."

The lighting installation at Finale, a long, tunnel-like entrance made of flashing lights of changing color that react to guests as they enter, was created by Rothenberg, 29, for a similar effect. "As you walk into the hallway, the lights are almost in a big loop, and they're pulsing forward," he explains. The year-and-a-half-old club has hosted album release parties for Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande and Avril Lavigne, and Pharrell Williams held his YPlan app launch party there.

Rothenberg, originally a professional architect who graduated from New York's Pratt Institute in 2009, also works directly with bands to create lighting displays. In 2012, English rock band Duran Duran recruited Rothenberg and music producer David Maurice to construct columns for its performance at New York's Terminal 5 that would react directly to the band's instruments, creating an interactive space for the audience. "One column was drums, one column was guitar, one column was bass, and as the fans danced around the columns, they could change that sound. They could change the pitch. They could change the modulation," explains Rothenberg. "This was the first time we deployed this technology."

After seeing the $60,000 project done for Duran Duran, alt-rock band Beast Patrol had the designer use similar column technology in its 2012 music video "Disbeliever."

But his lighting installations at Up & Down and Finale may be his most well-known work, thanks to the party circuit - and social media.

"I know celebrities have Instagrammed themselves in the Up & Down stairwell," he says (Dev Hynes, Rita Ora and Theophilus London are examples). "Everybody seems to think they're transported to a new world."


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