When the celebrated EDM nightclub Nordstern was forced to vacate its original premises in an industrial building in Basel, Switzerland, owner Agi Isaku selected a former riverboat docked in the Rhine River for its new location, and called upon WSDG to tackle the challenging task of external sound isolation and internal room acoustics for the ultimate floating discotheque experience. Before its transformation into the latest version of Nordstern, the whole ship was skinned and redone with the nightclub inside, under the direction of the architect in charge of interior design, Gabriel Heusser.
WSDG Partner and Director of Acoustics Gabe Hauser was in charge of Nordstern’s sound isolation, acoustics, and audio design, with the mandate of ensuring that the music would be inaudible from outside of the club. In addition to this, the club’s main subwoofers needed to be carefully positioned to meet the requirements for balanced low frequency distribution on the dancefloor while not being so close to the DJ booth that they would interfere with the vinyl records being used by the DJs.
Hauser used acoustic modeling to determine that angling the wall up would help with sound absorption and save on the cost of acoustic materials. Decoupled side walls and low-frequency absorbers were added for sound isolation, as well as compact decoupling mat for the floor. Reverberation times were reduced by angling the hard, reflective walls upwards by 7° to project sound energy into the absorptive ceiling.
Hauser chose all L-Acoustics loudspeakers, using eight ARCS II speakers for the mid/high frequencies, paired in four two-speaker arrays suspended from each corner of the 20 x 10 meter, 700-capacity room. Six SB28 subwoofers were installed in a row over the top of the dance floor, radiating in a cylindrical pattern along the length of the room resulting in even coverage of the dancefloor and steep drop in SPL at the ends of the dancefloor towards the DJ booth and the entrance area.
The DJ booth system uses two lower-powered SB18 subwoofers with two X15 speakers, and the two fill speakers for the bar area are X12s.
Photography by Roman Schoch & Modulwerk