The Twelve Thirty Club in Nashville - a modern take on the supper club
USA - The Twelve Thirty Club in Nashville, a modern take on the supper club, was developed by James Beard Award nominee Sam Fox alongside pop superstar Justin Timberlake, with architectural and entertainment lighting control designed by Energy Systems Design. The project was only possible because of ETC’s control systems and infrastructure.
“This was a fantastic opportunity to create beautiful lighting in a storied location – Broadway in Nashville, right across from the former home of the Grand Ol’ Opry,” says David Empey, technology and design department head for Energy Systems Design. “We designed the lighting, lighting controls, and network for the entire venue. As the designs for the building were developing, I knew I needed the flexibility of ETC systems so we could handle whatever architectural or entertainment needs came up. I also knew I could rely on ETC, Bradfield Stage and Extreme Electric to provide the commitment and technical know-how to implement the design correctly.”
A lot did come up for this ambitious venue. The entire club has many different spaces. The first floor is used as an energetic and “elevated honky tonk a step above the rest of Broadway”, with dining and music every night. The mezzanine level is an intimate cocktail lounge primarily for members and the second floor is a majestic 400-seat ‘supper club’. The restaurant and lounge feature antique chandelier light fixtures, opulent booths, a row of windows overlooking Bridgestone Arena, an outdoor terrace with views of The Ryman – and a stage ready for acts of any stature, from Justin Timberlake to Kelly Clarkson, to Lady Gaga, or the next big act coming out of Nashville.
“There’s a movement in Nashville towards a more upscale feeling, not limiting themselves to the loud and raucous, while still embracing the energy and vitality of Nashville’s storied musical scene,” says Empey. “Working with design team, what they were looking for was a traditional honky-tonk, but radically elevated.”
Lighting-wise, that meant they wanted to evoke an extremely warm and refined look. The light is tuned to 2200K, more amber than white since “Sam Fox likes very low and very warm lighting,” explains Empey. “The design draws the eye to chandeliers and individual fixtures, so it feels like they are the main sources of illumination even though they aren’t.
The lighting control is a mixture of DMX and 0-10V dimming throughout the Club, with ETC’s Unison Paradigm system controlling everything throughout all spaces. “The entire building is all linked back to a single control panel – but also easily available via an app.”
The crown jewel of the Twelve Thirty Club is the second floor Supper Club, a space that needed to provide a luxurious, world-class venue for performers. Crescent-shaped, tufted-leather booths with copper inlays line the walls, red velvet chairs surround wooden dining tables topped with antique fixtures, and deep club chairs provide an intimate seat near the stage.
It was Energy Systems Design’s job to make sure the stage lighting lived up to this level of opulence.
“The team wanted it to simultaneously be elegant – but not show theatrical fixtures. To feel like a stage – but not having anything that looked like a stage standing out,” describes Empey. “So, we built an old school supper club, like an early Frank Sinatra might have played in. Then we hid our stage fixtures – ColorSource Spots – in an architectural cove. We chose ColorSource because they are a rich, full-range fixtures that allowed us to get that warm color we were aiming for.”
“There was a very serious conversation about how to do colour changing in a way that was elegant yet that could enrich the performance.” ETC’s ColorSource fixtures were able to create a rich, natural look, without the artificial, electronic feel of other LED luminaires. Eventually the colours won them over.
The switch between restaurant lighting and entertainment lighting is handled by Paradigm, which also handles all the architectural lighting controls.
“Everything else” is a combination of ETC Sensor3 power control racks, Echo Relay Panels, and Foundry Panels, all on an ETC network, with a variety of Response Mk2 DMX Gateways and 0 10V Gateways scattered throughout the space. In this project, everything dims, including the kitchen.

Latest Issue. . .