Dezeen Magazine

AB Lafitte creates colourful and "eccentric" music venue in Oklahoma City

This live music venue in Oklahoma City was created by local interior designer AB Laffite as a "psychedelic funhouse" using carnival lighting strips and a palette of sunset hues.

Resonant Head occupies a previously vacant building on SW 25th Street in the historic Capitol Hill neighbourhood, south of the Oklahoma River from the city's downtown area.

Nightclub with angled ceiling and central column
While designing the Resonant Head venue, the angled ceiling proved to be the toughest constraint

With a capacity of over 250, the renovated space is intended for hosting small performances within a visually stimulating and immersive environment.

"Designed to be a carnival-like playground for both fans and artists, the venue reintroduced the building's original mid-century modern architecture as a psychedelic funhouse," said Laffite.

Bar counter with red stools
The bar area was given a nostalgic diner-style feel

"The goal was to create an eccentric design that maintained the character of the building while also straying from the typical dark and industrial music venue aesthetic," she added.

The renovation of the building involved negotiating the "wildly angular" original concrete ceiling, which is the most prominent visual element and proved to be the biggest design constraint.

Mirrored column supporting angled ceiling with carnival lights
A central column was wrapped in gold mirror strips and the ceiling ribs were edged with carnival lights

The designer chose to highlight its geometric faux coffering using four different sunset-hued paints and attaching strings of multi-coloured carnival lights to its ribs.

A central column, from which the ceiling panels emanate, was wrapped in thin strips of gold mirror and encircled by a counter for placing drinks.

Seating area with red leather banquette and cafe tables
A red leather banquette tucked into a niche provides a seating area

At the back of the venue, the raised stage area is painted red, lined with iridescent silver curtains and illuminated by thin neon tubes.

The diner-esque bar combines yellow-gold laminate, chrome edge banding, amber glass blocks, mosaic tiles and terrazzo flooring to create a nostalgic feel. "1970s club swank was the goal," Laffite said.

To one side of the bar is a seating area, where red leather banquettes are set into a niche in the wall and accompanied by cafe tables and chairs. Sconces by lighting brand Rich Brilliant Willing add a soft glow.

Meanwhile, "the restrooms are destinations in themselves," according to Laffite, who added checkerboard tiles, retro-coloured glazed sink and urinals, and pilled-shaped mirrors.

Bathroom with checkerboard tiles, coloured sinks and pill-shaped mirrors
In the bathrooms, the designer added checkerboard tiles, retro-coloured sinks and pill-shaped mirrors

The aim of the project overall was to create a unique spot for locals to enjoy music together, as well as to help revive a once-bustling commercial thoroughfare.

"The conversion of this former department store (and later bar) into a music venue has returned a social gathering place back to the community, where it will hopefully become a cultural anchor in the revitalisation efforts of the Capitol Hill neighborhood," said Laffite.

Resonant Head music venue exterior
The venue is located within a mid-century building in Oklahoma City's Capital Hill neighbourhood

Self-described as a Midwest-based designer, she founded her own studio in 2021 after working in the Los Angeles design industry for several years.

Elsewhere in the US, other small performance venues and nightclubs to recently open include Supernova in Seattle, designed by Mutuus Studio to be an inclusive environment for all.

The photography is by Justin Miers.

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Resonant Head Oklahoma City
Resonant Head Oklahoma City
Resonant Head Oklahoma City
Resonant Head Oklahoma City
Resonant Head Oklahoma City