The world’s greatest nightclubs often mirror the cities they call home. Berghain for instance, is a club that’s every bit as dark, industrial and decadent as Berlin itself. Another obvious candidate is fabric; a maze of a space that provides Londoners with ample excuse to spend even more time underground. But neither of these clubs symbolise their hometowns quite like Sao Paulo’s D-Edge, a nightspot that’s both futuristic and retro: and one that seems to reverberate to the city’s compact and flourishing vibes.
Yet from the outside, there’s little to distinguish the club from the rest of the city. Flanked by a host of high-rise apartments and offices, its fairly minimal exterior slots in neatly to the city’s landscape, with only a diminutive sign, a stocky bouncer and a handful of waiting taxi drivers giving the game away. Once inside however, we’re soon occupying an entirely new world – and one that’s completely at odds to the fairly nondescript South American street we’ve momentarily left behind.
And it’s true what they say about clubs in this part of the world…the parties really do go on until dawn. And beyond in fact, which partly explains why D-Edge is operating at about 75% capacity when we enter around the 3am mark. With classic German-styled deep house emitting from the main room’s speakers and most patrons still casually sipping on their drinks, it was clear we’d some way to go before the club reached “peak-time” mode. Yet with the club the sort of place that prides itself on offering a visual and aural experience, it’s also one that’s ripe for exploration, with all three rooms adopting their own micro-personas. And so it was that we set off on a journey of discovery that lasted longer well in to the next day…
The most striking aspect of all three rooms (and indeed, D-Edge’s defining characteristics) are the splendid light shows that play a focal role in each. That said, there are obvious contrasts between the three too. The original room (the main room) is the darkest, dingiest and most atmospheric, and it’s here where we spend most of the night; with D-Edge resident Henrique Marciano amongst those weaving an expansive set that only stopped when the last of the patrons decided to call it a day (or should that be afternoon?). Room 2 proved the cosiest of the lot, with its particularly outlandish – yet nonetheless impressive – sensory aspects evidently the place to be for those yearning for arguably the most “out there” D-Edge experience.
Room 3, (like Room 2 before it), forms part of D-Edge’s recent upgrade, with its stunning views overlooking a city that truly does never sleep. (Those looking to avoid the realities of daylight however, might want to steer clear). Crucially, the atmosphere in all three never subsides, and considering we arrived on a weekend when Maceo Plex was forced to cancel his show (we were told it was due to visa issues), it’s fair to assume the club’s regulars are as trusting in D-Edge’s residents as they are its international guests. (Ardent fans of electronic music incidentally, are likely to agree that this is the first sign of a great club.)
Of course, part of D-Edge’s splendour is the adventure it serves up, an adventure that’s genuinely akin to little else in the underground domain. Hours drift by in a music-fuelled fuelled haze, while the previously alluded to Blade Runner like interior only enhances the overall experience. The attention to detail is tailor-made to a clubber’s desires too, with a nifty bar system, a crisp-as-you-like soundsystem and an expansive, rooftop smoking area offering respite to the hedonistic goings-on below. The exuberant, party-hard crowd prove a fitting compliment, and it’s fairly obvious that the aforementioned attentiveness has played a focal role in the club’s peerless success.
One choice quote that perfectly sums up D-Edge comes from the club’s designer, Muti Randolph: “The target [with D-Edge] was to make even deaf people feel the music.” Mr. Randolph’s role in the success of the club is an undoubtedly pivotal one, but it’s the combination of the music, the crowd and the interior that make a night out at D-Edge amongst the best the electronic music world has to offer.
Review by Stepehn Flynn