Nightclub Designs Built for Success


Design needs to be functional. It needs to be unique. It also needs to set the tone for all future endeavors and branding which all occur way before the first patrons walks through the door. It precedes the contractors and usually the PR push.

Design is an art form but also a science. Within the designer’s scope is the flow of patrons, the bar locations, proximity to support the waitrons; everything from work lights for day crews, security cameras, lights and sound, to offices and the entrance sequence must be integrated into the design. If it can’t withstand the wear and tear of a successful run, then there is a huge problem.

Boosty Bellows
Bootsy Bellows West Hollywood

John Sofio, president and founder of Built, has a 400 project resume with designs in Southern California, New York and Florida. Some of his projects include West Hollywood nightclubs such as 1OAK LA, Bootsy Bellows Aspen, Pink Taco on the Sunset Strip, Santa Monica’s beach club style lounge SHOREBar and Johnny Depp’s Street Station as well as Magnolia on Sunset and Vine. Among the five major projects he is working on now, he has a 20,000-square-foot live music venue in San Diego, an 8,000-square-foot nightclub in West Hollywood and a 6,500-square-foot multi venue bar/restaurant in downtown Los Angeles. To say the least Sofio knows his stuff.

Nightclub & Bar caught up with John Sofio and Creative Director Sormeh Azad of Built to ask them all about their unique design concepts.  

“Our projects have been focused in the upper market of restaurants, nightclubs and bars. Our designs can be transferable to different regions of the country and around the world as we cater to the elite. For example, the Aspen market readily absorbed Bootsy Bellows.”

At the first meeting with a new client, evaluating the “wants” with the proposed budget is extremely important. During this process both parties decide if there are realistic solutions that fall within those parameters. “A budget is defined by the scope of work proposed and an itemized list of each trade and the cost. While the client is interviewing us for their potential project, we are seeing if the client has a realistic budget for their proposed project and if the project is good for as most projects’ success is based on the client relationship.” 

Once they’re commissioned for a new project design immediately begins along with demolition of the space. This affords a head start on construction as well as allows design solution creations that are more integrated into the existing conditions. “Knowing the existing conditions after demolition is completed, allows us to design into the budget we initially set, hence controlling any overages.” 

Sofio and Azad are onsite for projects every day, multiple times a day pushing and driving the project. “Our office is the job site, as we build we are consistently refining the design. We design all of our spaces from end to end. Each item is carefully crafted to fit into our cohesive design, leaving no element behind.”

This expert attention to detail and design is why Built dominates Los Angeles nightlife being the only one who has design/built as many important projects in the area and in such large scale; making Sunset Blvd as luxurious as it has ever been. 

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