History & Culture

The design of WHQ

Carved from all our Nightclub experience

Whilst all the old Club shenanigans were going on, we were also taking a long time to plan out how we wanted the new WHQ to present & look.

We put design ideas from all our experience in great Clubs we've played into it.

Curtis Mayfield House - Front Box Office mural.

There are little bits of the layout of the old Club, bits of Rockshots, the Arena, everywhere we have ever played really, has influenced & contributed to the evolution & layout of World Headquarters as it is today.

One for the Ladies

In designing it, we had to prioritise our wish list as we had such limited funds. Top priority after all the building conversion work etc., was a booming sound system.

Then we wanted to have really nice ladies facilities, as we had such unbelievably tiny & rubbish girls toilets at the old Club.

Look here… Isn’t that yaccka…?

How a Ladies toilet used to look, back in the old Club... Yaccka !

We decided to invest a large chunk of our dwindling resources to put in twice the legal requirement for ladies toilets.

This was done so that there would never be any queues & we made them nice & large with a kinda ‘Dubai airport’ type vibe.

Toilet with seat up and pink loo roll
This sticker is on all the mirrors in our ladies toilets, just to give a little instant 'head poke' - to help redress all the waffle they get fed.

The result is a space where girls can hang out & organise all their girlie matters in comfort & privacy with couches, bidet facilities & all that kinda caper.

Ladies toilets with sofa, mirrors and granite work-top
A little something for the ladies...

We’ve always been a girl friendly little Club & seeing as how the vast majority of our members are female, we thought this would go down well & be a good plan.

Cartoon of ladies using hand dryers to dry their lady-bits
They actually adapted quite quickly...

Seems we got it smack on the money & all the Ladies loved it..!

Three girls with drinks smiling
Independent women

The Upstairs Room

The main Club space truly is a hybrid of all the best features of everywhere we have ever played.

Sign from the top right of the upstairs DJ booth, above the mask.

The pillars give it the industrial feel of the Arena in Boro, the large Dj booth as a central feature is a nod to the old Rockshots layout. The end result is a Dj who everyone can see, that can see everyone & if a visiting guest Dj rolls with a big posse, they can all fit in there too.

Or it could just be one dude in his orange (take our word for it) coat.

We deliberately didn’t raise the Dj booth too high & kept the low ceiling height so that the Club feels nice & intimate. It’s just like the old Club, with the Dj placed firmly in the centre of the party.

As you walk into WHQ the Dj booth, with the records lit up behind it, is intentionally the first thing you’ll notice.

Dj booth with sign saying 'love one another'
The massive upstairs DJ box

Like the old Club, we wanted lots of places for people to sit, so we put loads of couches & stools around the dance floor area.

As we are music led, we have never been fans of flashing lights. The only lights are on the Dj booth & bar, with dimmer, coloured light around the edge of the dance floor.

This gives the room a low level of light except for the focal points.

We do host events when people do bring their own lights in, but for our Uplifting Groove Shows we don’t need that.

It’s all about the music & the people who come.

People on the dance floor
She couldn't believe it when she copped off with Noel Redding from the Jimi Hendrix Experience..!

We also wanted to kill the notion of dancing as a spectator sport, that you see in so many clubs today.

At WHQ with it’s subdued light & intimacy, the raw music is the only sensory effect we are giving you.

You come here to enjoy the music & your friends & you can easily do that in such an intimate & clear layout. It’s the ultimate fun, house-party kinda blueprint.

girl with hands in the air on dancefloor
Enjoy the music & enjoy your friends

When we first moved some people who didn’t quite get it, initially criticised our layout as being ‘one big dance floor’.

It’s not, there are loads of places to sit, but we are glad to have created that effect.

This means after a hard weeks slog, you can get down with yo'bad self, without a load of leering, non-dancing idiots ogling you up.

Ours is an upbeat groove & everybody dances in World Headquarters. We don’t really do spectators.

The Downstairs Room

Originally downstairs had big windows & a more bar cafe type feel. With even more couches it's laid out differently to upstairs, with the Dj facing across, rather than down the room.

room with bar, pool table, sofas and Africa-shaped coffee table
Downstairs, daytime 2003

This makes it ideal for smaller parties & events & over time, it has now evolved into fully soundproofed, really beautiful, clubby little space all of it’s own. The windows have now gone, as soundproofing took priority so it would work better long term.

These days we host loads of big mad shows down there.

General Levy, quite probably saying the word 'Booyaka' as the crowd goes nuts downstairs @ Lively Up in 2018.

Downstairs is like a Club, within the Club & it’s recent sound upgrade has raised the game – altering the course of Underground events in the city for ever, for the better.


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