The Orange County Register: O.C. club designer goes Hollywood

Davis Ink

June 28, 2008

Newport Beach firm Davis Ink designed Kress Hollywood, which is expected to be the next big celebrity hangout.

By Barry Koltnow

Life was never the same for Davis Krumins once he walked into the Metropolis nightclub in Irvine. It was the early 1980s, and he was still in college. Unsure of what he wanted to do with his life, he had an interest in design, but had no idea until that night what he wanted to design. From the moment he entered Metropolis, he knew he would spend the next few decades designing nightclubs. Metropolis was the coolest club in Orange County at the time, and Krumins said he was blown away by the innovative design (among the innovations were scandalous porthole windows looking out on the dance floor from the bathrooms). “It was an amazing place, and I knew I had to meet the people who designed it,” Krumins said.

He not only met the designers (Hatch Design Group), but went to work for them. He eventually opened his own design firm in Newport Beach (Davis Ink), and after a string of successful nightclub openings in San Diego and Long Beach, he is about to enter a new metropolis – Hollywood. Krumins is the designer of Kress Hollywood, a four-level, 38,000-square-foot, Asian-themed restaurant and nightclub that will open officially next month in an art deco building that once housed the sexy lingerie company Frederick’s of Hollywood. “Davis is light years ahead of other club designers,” said Kress Hollywood owner Michael Viscuso, who also owns On Broadway and Deco’s in San Diego, and V2O in Long Beach. “He is at the top of his game right now. No designer understands the entertainment industry like Davis. He’s very creative in making a business functional. He understands flow patterns; how to get people from point A to Point B without causing bottlenecks. He understands where to find and how to use cool material, cool fabrics and cool lighting. He does a phenomenal job every time out.” Viscuso, who bought the historic Kress Building three years ago for $10 million before he pumped millions more into the renovation, first worked with Krumins nine years ago on one of his San Diego clubs. Krumins was with Hatch Design Group then, but Viscuso continued to hire Krumins after Davis Ink was created. The Newport Beach company is made up of Krumins and his wife of 11 years, Andrea, who handles the business side of Davis Ink.

The have two full-time employees, and add temporary employees for each new project. The couple lives in Costa Mesa with their two children. Davis Krumins, 48, grew up in Seattle, and attended Long Beach State as a psychology major. A friend introduced him to architecture, and he earned his master’s degree in architecture at Cal Poly Pomona. “Although I loved architecture, I was always more fascinated by interior design, and the kind of interior design that interested me the most was what is referred to as the ‘wow factor.’ I try to incorporate that in every club I design.” There is plenty of “wow factor” in Kress Hollywood. The Hollywood Boulevard nightspot includes a basement dance club, a street-level restaurant and lounge, a sushi bar, a massive upstairs special events center and a glassed-in rooftop lounge with a 360-degree view of the neighborhood. The property includes a rear parking lot that Viscuso said could be covered with a tent for large events. “Michael wanted an Asian theme, but he also wanted me to tie in the art deco element in the building,” Krumins said. “Each area had to have its own distinct feel, from the casual elegance of the restaurant and sushi bar to the funky, wild, over-the-top nightclub.” Because this is a Hollywood nightspot, Krumins said he also had to include in his design the celebrity factor. Each room has special VIP areas that can cater to a celebrity clientele. There are booths that can be rented by the month so that a celebrity, or even a non-celebrity with a lot of discretionary income, can arrive anytime and know that his or her booth is waiting. “Yes, we have to accommodate celebrities but I don’t think Michael is thinking that this is going to be strictly a celebrity hangout,” the designer explained. “This is going to be a place that everyone can feel comfortable in. Those are the only clubs I know how to design.”

Viscuso agreed that Kress Hollywood is more than a celebrity nightclub, although he certainly hopes the celebrities will come.

“You can’t target just the celebrity club clientele,” he said. “This is also a restaurant and a meeting place and an events place.” The club will have a number of “soft” openings in coming weeks – mostly private parties – before the grand opening in late July, Viscuso said. Walking through the club this week, Krumins surveyed his work and liked what he saw. “It is always amazing to me to see the realization of what I thought up in my head. It’s such an awesome feeling.” Now that Kress Hollywood is completed, Krumins said he would like to design a club closer to home. “Frankly, we’ve been too busy since we started our company 4 ½ years ago to look around Orange County, but we’d love to design a club behind the Orange Curtain. I hope they’re still interested in building clubs like Metropolis.”