Mark Lowe of Living Room fame brings a hot new concept to Miami. His newest club venture will bring you from the street into a house. The working art project is in full swing and will open its doors to welcome you home soon. The Florida Agenda sat down with the visionary to find out a little more.
How long have you been here? What brought you to South Florida?
I’ve been in South Florida 12 years. I originally came when I was younger as a model for a photo shoot, loved it, and came back.
You are credited with turning Living Room into one of the hottest nightclubs in town. What is prompting you to go into a new venue?
I’m a person who constantly needs to challenge myself artistically and creatively. Without struggle, there’s no growth. Art needs to constantly evolve. My plan was always to carry this concept around the world.
Please tell Florida Agenda readers about what to expect from HOUSE.
HOUSE is really a complete evolution for me. I’ve designed 13 nightclubs, and all had something that made them unique. Living Room was the beginning of the club as a home idea. HOUSE is a fully realized concept.
What niche did you feel was missing in Miami?
I think Miami is such a global city for nightlife. When you think of exciting nightclubs, you think of Miami. That said, the most visually spectacular clubs tend to be geared toward the straight market, LIV, LOUIS at the Gansevoort, Amnesia, etc. The gay community has great options that have done very well like SCORE, TWIST, and Mova. I have great respect for these venues, especially when you consider they operate seven days a week in a very tough economy. I want to bring the most beautiful nightclub in Miami to our community.
What advantages do you feel there are having a business within the gay community?
The gay community has been very loyal to me long before Living Room. When I decided to open a nightclub, it was important for me to promote and build a following, I did that for three years. Those people have continued to follow me, and they are solely responsible for any amount of success I’ve had.
What disadvantages do you feel there are?
Absolutely none. If even the most homophobic and judgmental person meets you and connects to you personally, sexuality is irrelevant.
How would you identify your management approach? Iron Fist or more Flexible?
I’m very much a perfectionist and can be demanding. I expect a lot, and give a lot. If a light isn’t perfect, it can destroy my entire night. The positive thing with HOUSE is I have a really good team. I’m working with a great partner Sebastian Aaron-Stigall, who has a strong management and operations background. I’m working with a phenomenal visual artist Stefan Von Fouts, and an entire production company. This really enables me to focus on what I’m good at with no distractions.
How do you think the community as a whole will respond to HOUSE? What type of people do you envisage coming?
I think the community will respond to the fact that it’s a truly creative space. The visuals and details don’t exist anywhere in the world. From 3D architectural mapping, 360-degree panoramic projections, kitchens as bars, and showers as VIP rooms, HOUSE is genuinely more of a work of art than a nightclub. I wanted the first club in the Wynwood Arts District to be a groundbreaking space and experience.
In your lifetime, how do you feel the gay community has changed?
I think we went through our periods where everyone was trying to look straight wearing Abercrombie etc. I love the new kids coming up expressing themselves creatively. Their blurring the lines between femininity and masculinity and their “don’t give a f***” attitude is amazing. Lady Gaga has been a huge influence on their creativity.
Do you see a positive change in attitudes towards the gay community?
I refuse to see anything less. We are all human, we bleed, we die. People have no choice but to accept the fact that we are here. We are your attorneys, your doctors, your military, and your neighbor next door.
Living Room is very much an open venue for gay and straight people.
Will HOUSE follow the same model?
Absolutely, I create clubs that are welcome to everybody who wants to escape from the stresses of life. The best parties are mixed, with all the colors of the rainbow.
Will HOUSE follow the same model?
Why did you not position Living Room as a total gay club?
I’m a business person who happens to be gay. My sexuality is a small part of who I am, and doesn’t define me. Any decision I make is based on what’s best for business regardless of race, gender, or sexuality. If Martians came down from Mars and want a Martian party and it is successful, I’m having a Martian-o- Rama.
What other plans do you have for the future?
Washington, DC, San Diego, Austin, Texas, Peru and Brazil; I want to spread like a porn stars’ cheeks!
If you had an open check book, what business would you go into next?
Who says I don’t? Exactly what I’m doing now!
Living Room is located at 300 SW 1st Avenue at the Las Olas Riverfront in Fort Lauderdale. Their website is www.livingroomnightclub.com.
Stay Tuned! HOUSE will be unveiled in the Wynwood Arts District of Miami in the Winter of 2011.
Sign up for a Housewarming Party invite by going to the website at www.housenightclub.com