This article was first published in The Straits Times on Dec 12, 2003
COME February, Kuala Lumpur's clubbing denizens will be able to groove to the signature sounds of Zouk.
Singapore's premier dance club is constructing a 32,000-sq ft club on a one-acre (0.4-ha) site at Kuala Lumpur's Jalan Ampang.
Called Zouk KL, it costs RM16 million (S$7.2 million) and will be unveiled in a $45,000 launch party in February.
Ms Tracy Phillips, Zouk's marketing manager, hopes that Zouk KL will propel that city's clubbing scene to greater heights.
"Singapore had a headstart in being exposed to clubbing and dance music," she says. "And while Kuala Lumpur has had clubs opening in recent years, there's no definitive club which has made an impact.
"We hope that we can do what Zouk Singapore did, which is to put Singapore on the international clubbing circuit, and do the same thing for Kuala Lumpur," she adds.
Zouk KL is roughly the same size as Zouk Singapore, which was launched in 1991. It will have the same Mediterranean feel of the original Zouk, although the architecture will be more modern and organic.
The KL club will have four different sections: The main club will host foreign and resident DJs spinning a diversity of dance sounds, while Velvet Underground will be an intimate area that caters to a more sophisticated crowd.
It will also have a terrace bar, reminiscent of the laid-back wine bar at Singapore's Zouk. But instead of the breakbeat and hip-hop oriented Phuture, Zouk KL will have a cosy bar called The Loft.
It is named after the legendary New York disco parties of the same name organised by DJ David Mancuso in the 1970s.
Ms Phillips says the musical direction of Zouk KL will be the same as its mother club here.
International DJs will be invited to spin at its decks, rotating with Zouk Singapore's resident DJs.
A crew of full-time DJs for Zouk KL is still being selected, and they will be groomed by Zouk Singapore's veteran DJs.
The club will also be run by veterans in the nightlife business. Mr Ng Cher Yong, one of the first Zouk DJs who has since moved on to become a clubbing events promoter, will come on board as one of Zouk KL's executive directors.
Zouk is the latest local clubbing name to expand regionally. Dbl O at Mohamed Sultan launched an outlet in Bangkok on Wednesday, while Centro at One Fullerton will be launching a club in Jakarta on Thursday.