The Genteel
April 21, 2021


View of the back bar and seating area, featuring repurposed woodwork (Photograph courtesy of Fortune Sound Club).

"As soon as we set eyes on the space that is now Fortune Sound Club, we saw all the potential for what the place could become.

Old wooden planks from inside the original
structure. The planks were refinished and used
throughout the club
(Photograph courtesy of Fortune Sound Club).

It was in dire straits, with carpet and a plethora of extra rooms. It was a matter of getting rid of the excess closed space, in order to properly design the building for sound. There were two layers of walls, three or four ceilings, and murals built inside of one of the layers. We kept some of it and tore the rest down. The wood from the walls that we took down was reused: it was sanded and cut and then installed around the circle wall designs and coat-check area. We talked to the Funktion One team and had them show us the best surfaces for sound, in order to really get into the specific details of how designing sound quality really works. We used large amounts of soft wood and other materials, while avoiding hard surfaces like glass and metal, in order to maximise sound quality.

Finding eco-conscious materials that are made for sound quality wasn't overly complicated. Sara, our designer, chose the bar tops and tables - large, important surfaces that many club designers overlook as being important for sound quality. Specially chosen wood was used which allows sound to properly flow throughout the room. For our distribution company, Timebomb Trading, we built an eco-friendly 50,000 square foot warehouse. We like unique, creative styles, so we already had an idea of where to go with it.

Part of the Funktion One system with exposed
brick interior wall and seating 
(Photograph courtesy of Fortune Sound Club).

Visitors may be surprised by some of the materials we have used in the renovation. We reused wood that we found in between the wall/ceiling layers of the old space. You can see rusted nail marks on the ones we removed. We have some old Royal Unicorn chairs that people might remember. We even have a skateboard here that we found in the drywall…it was the exact same board Rob had as a kid, almost like someone left it here for him.

We each run our own weekly event on Friday and Saturday and are each highly invested in how those nights function, from music selection to promotion and flyer creation. That's how much we love the music and the passion of what we're doing with the club. We had a vision for what we really wanted. It's in our blood to actually be here in the middle of it. We keep up with current music and hand pick who comes through. We wanted the music to be the main focus: quality music and a space designed to display it. We both wanted to go underground and challenge ourselves, instead of doing a top 40 or even just a hip-hop only club. We've had a lot of our childhood favourites play who wouldn't have played in town, if we hadn't brought them in.

View of the main bar: one row of bottles
with specially designed woodwork
(Photograph courtesy of Fortune Sound Club).

Garret is really passionate and nerdy about art. When he built Timebomb, he put tons of art in it and collects a lot of art himself. We also have a lot of friends who are artists and designers. We've had installations and designs from Jeffro Halliday, Danny Vermette, Shepard Fairey, The Dark, and Tim Barnard. So much time and thought has even been put into the flyers, using different artists. The artistic design aspect is something we're really interested in so it has naturally made its way into how Fortune was designed too. We may turn part of the space into an art gallery, one day.

We designed a custom DJ booth, to make the space also build for the guy behind the sound. We measured the tables and the mixer placements and tried to figure out the exact amount of comfortable space needed for multiple DJs and built a setup that is also mobile. We have sand in one area with marble blocks over-top, in case people want to play with vinyl. We also designed the direction of the sound, using the back pillars speakers and delays. 

Feeling music and not just hearing it is an important part of designing a club. You can give someone a spiritual experience, with the right sort of vibrations.

A lot of clubs think about the sound last. Most club owners are just trying to sell more booze. You go down to some big Vegas clubs and they're essentially made out of liquor. That wasn't our motive. We almost didn't show ANY alcohol in the design at all. If you care about sound quality, the glass is something you need to minimise. It would be awesome to have the ability to display no bottles whatsoever but our great bar manager also understands the logistics of pouring so we allowed for a small row of a few bottles up there.

The audio and sound design is really what you're coming to experience. A lot of people neglect the equipment they use to deliver the sound within a club setting. It wasn't represented very well in Vancouver, compared to Europe or New York.

Feeling music and not just hearing it is an important part of designing a club. You can give someone a spiritual experience, with the right sort of vibrations. Properly designing a sound system and a space can make all the difference when experiencing a song. Even if it's not your genre of music, a great system design can make you feel great about the sound, regardless. I probably wouldn't have been a part of this project if it wasn't for the attention to detail we put into the sound."



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